On Saturday evening last, Colemanstown’s Over 35s travelled to Lecarrow to take on St John’s in the shield final. After a very wet weekend & the effects of Storm Betty, the pitch was not affected and was in perfect condition. The lads went at it hammer and tongs from the start controlling and passing the ball with ease. With just 15 minutes gone, Kevin Barrett opened the scoring with an excellent pile driver from 20 yards. It was the perfect start as we knew going into the the game we needed a win whereas St John’s only needed a draw to claim the shield.
Colemanstown had a number a noteworthy chances in the first half. Peter Kelly drove a rocket of a shot across the goal which was just inches wide. Mike O’Grady followed with two good chances but none found the net. Barry Forde headed just over the bar and Padraig Quirke and Ronan Geraghty had long range efforts just off target. At this stage of the game, Colemanstown had limited St John’s to just one or 2 half chances as we were totally dominant. As the first half ended we pushed and pushed for a second goal, which didn’t come but not for the lack of effort from the lads.
At half time Colemanstown were pleased with the first half performance. The second half saw energy levels drop a little which was totally understandable given the first half display. Colemanstown continued to control the game but a little of the cutting edge was as good as the first half. The lads created several chances through Kevin Barrett, Mike O’Grady and Peter Kelly. Barry Forde was also trying to add to his top scorer tally and Padraig Quirke had a pop or 2 with some long range efforts. St. Johns at this stage were using their subs bench to good effect and created meaningful chances but Colemanstown’s defence line: Ross Sullivan, Steven Broderick, Cian O’Toole and Garry O’Grady were excellent and ably dealth with anything that was thrown at them. As the game entered the last minute, real drama was about to unfold. To say it was nerve wrecking is a huge understatement.
With less than a minute left St John’s were awarded a penalty. Colemanstown now faced being knocked out of the cup in the cruelest way possible. As Kevin Sayers in goal prepared himself our team looked on dejected: were we going to be defeated in the last kick of the game? Had there been a roof on Lecarrow, it would’ve lifted. Such was the outpouring of relief and celebrations when Sayers dived to his left to save the penalty and become a hero in the process. The celebrations began both on and off the pitch. The ref sill played a few more minutes but Colemanstown held out to win 1-0 in one of the most dramatic finishes ever seen in a game that had it all.
The scenes after the final whistle were amazing as captain Garry O’Grady lifted the shield. It was a fitting end to a wonderful squad performance. If I were to pick a Man of the match, it would be Quirky who put in some shift, although every single player gave 100%. The team headed back to Burkes to be greeted by bonfires. We knew we had won a truely dramatic match that will live long in the memories.
Still to come, is the league Cup next weekend so this has been quite a season and it’s no more than these wonderful bunch of lads deserve. This is the clubs first silverware of the season in the bag. May there be many more days like this!
Thanks to all who came to support the lads and to Frank and Bernie Burke for the bonfires, food and of course the victory drinks. Well done all.
Match report: Paraic O’Connor
Squad: Kevin Sayers, Garry O’Grady, Ross Sullivan, Steven Broderick, Cian O’Toole, Micheal O’Grady, Ronan Geraghty, Padraig Quirke, Barry Forde, Kevin Barrett, Peter Kelly, Adrian Burke, Mark Kirby, Declan Ryan, Kerrill Lindsey, Damien Mannion, Kerrill Lally, Richard Collins.