It wasn’t to be for Colemanstown’s U12’s in Round 1 of the Connacht Cup against premier league Mayo side Manulla in Manulla’s fine stadium this morning. Fielding an understrength U12 team backed by our U11’s, Colemanstown’s youngsters put up a brave fight against very strong opposition but had no answer when the hosts turned up the heat in the second half. Within the first 5 mins Colemanstown had a host of chances. Jason Rabbitte linked up with Thomas Mellody who drew a great one-on-one save from Manulla’s keeper. Then Harry Mitchell’s header from a Tommy Mellody corner hit the butt of the post while a 2nd successive corner from Mellody fell kindly to Luke Williams but the keeper showed exactly why he’s county style! On 16mins Conor Laffey made a top drawer save to keep the game scoreless. Manulla made the breakthrough on 20mins after a period of pressure; Conor Laffey made a fine stop only to parry the ball out to Callan Jennings who beat Laffey on the 2nd time of asking. 6 mins later as Manulla were gathering momentum, they worked the ball down the dugouts side of the field and a superb cross was finished perfectly by Jamie Moran to put Manulla in the driving seat by half time. But the most optimistic Colemanstown supporters present at the interval could anticipate a turnaround in fortunes for the 2nd half even though the little and not so little Cunningham contingent present were certainly not going to be ‘turncoats’ for the day.
Conor Laffey made another superb save 4mins into the 2nd half to give us another sliver of hope. Manulla engineered their third goal and turned the screw with a great cross from near the corner flag which was volleyed home by Jamie Moran who was lurking in the box and beat the Colemanstown rearguard. Then Jason Rabbitte originated a fine Colemnastown move as he worked hard to win and maintain possession, crossed to Tommy Mellody who sent in a lovely ball for Harry Mitchell to chase but unfortunately the pace of the ball stole a yard on him and Mayo’s county keeper was quick off his line to drown out any threat. With 13 mins left, Laffey made yet another superb save from a free kick, while the clearance found Tommy Mellody who showed great pace and footwork but again Manulla’s custodian did his job. With 5 mins left the unmarked Jamie Moran claimed his hat trick as he tapped in from close range as our defence were on the back foot. Right at the death, Jamie Moran scored his 4th of the day in a man of the match display with a bullet of a shot which left Conor Laffey with no chance. In truth it could have been more, only for the vigilance of Conor Laffey who had a fine display between the posts. Our lads battled hard but were forced to bow to superior firepower in the end. There’s no shame whatsoever in that! Action between a premier team and Div 3 team might just be a bridge too far.
Thanks to Jason Finn who took a caretakers managerial role due to Lee Murphy’s involvement in the Pearses Senior Hurling relegation play off and Gareth Lally’s vacation to the USA. Thanks also to Manulla FC on their fine post-match spread and hospitality fit for a king.
Panel: Conor Laffey, David Walsh, Luke Williams, Adam Cleary, Ciaran Keating, Jonah Donnellan, Jason Rabbitte, Thomas Mellody, Harry Mitchell, Cian Burke, Kilian Hughes & Nathan McGuire-Greaney.