Heroic U18’s exit Connaught shield

Today saw a battle of Division 1 table toppers Colemanstown and Premier kingpins Craughwell in a Craughwell showdown that no Colemanstown player wanted to miss. The game was played at a frantic pace all through as everyone knew the winners would only be two victories away from winning the Connaught under 18 shield title. It was Colemanstown who got off to the ideal start when Sam Lee rose highest between two defenders to power home his header from an Alex Duke cross from the right wing. Ronan O’Neill had a couple of chances to add to the score thereafter; his first attempt at goal hit the woodwork while his next was saved manfully by an alert Craughwell keeper. Craughwell found the equaliser on 35mins as Gerard Warde headed clear from a corner but the Craughwell striker struck a lovely half volley to beat a top class keeper in Keith Connell. Just before the stroke of half time, Craughwell went 2-1 up with a well taken free kick from 25yards which curled around the wall into the top corner leaving the Colemanstown custodian with no chance. The second half started poorly for Colemanstown as they found themselves 3-1 down within 20seconds. A long ball from midfield left our defence flat footed but credit to the Craughwell striker who controlled the ball well on the turn and struck a fierce finish under the legs of Keith Connell. 3-1 down with a mountain to climb but this goal seemed to awaken Colemanstown from their mid-afternoon slumber. Then came a great double save from the Craughwell No.1 following a period of sustained Colemanstown pressure. Kieran Dowd’s shot from the left wing was well saved while the rebound fell nicely for Daniel Masterson who shot at an open goal but somehow, out of nowhere the Craughwell keeper got a finger to it to make a heroic save and had to receive treatment in the process. Subsequently Ronan Carr won a penalty for Colemanstown which Ronan O’Neill dispatched with ultimate ease to leave Colemanstown 3-2 down. With 15mins to go Colemanstown pushed forward in search of a deserved equaliser playing only 2 men in defense. Brian Monaghan had a good chance which whizzed over the crossbar but it was Craughwell who had the final say when they scored from a long kick out in the last kick of the game. Sam Lee had a remarkable game while Keith Connell pulled saves from here and there and everywhere and was simply amazing between the posts. It was hard for these lads to be on the losing team playing like this. In fact it was a good all round display from this team as everyone played their heart out and the gap in football quality between Division 1 and Premier teams was minuscule. These lads are out again next Sunday when they play Oughterard at home in the league. Please come along to support them.