Between weather, unplayable pitches etc. this was the U14’s first game back this morning after the Christmas break and so knocked the rustiness off our boys. It was a day when the winter sun was blinding and by now there’s empty selection boxes and milk tray everywhere as we all try to get back on track. Although it was a bitterly cold morning, but when one has to get the sunglasses on Feb 3rd to combat the strong winter sun we shouldn’t be complaining.
This was a game of 2 halves for David Gilligan’s charges. Colemanstown predominantly dominated the first while the visitors Knocknacarra had all the meaningful possession in the second. Ryan Noone had the earliest of chances within 2mins of the game but his effort was saved while the resultant corner kick taken by Noone found the boot of Sean Hansberry who lashed his piledriver over the crossbar. 7mins in, Colemanstown received a let-off as Knocknacarra were awarded a penalty but their striker blasted high and for him agonisingly over the bar. Mark Donnellan’s good work down the stand side of the field on 10mins, won a corner which was swiftly taken by Ryan Noone, defended well by the visitors but fell to Micháel Ryan who didn’t quite get the power in his effort. 15mins into the game Knocknacarra opened their account as they capitalised on a long ball, beat the Colemanstown reaguard and slotted under Jason Connolly’s legs. Colemanstown created another half chance on 23mins in good link up play between Conor Moran, Ryan Noone, & Michael Flattery but the keeper had an easy save in the end. Sean Hansberry levelled up matters on 27mins after a great run from Ryan Noone on the left flank, won himself a corner after his hard work. Noone’s resultant corner found the head of Sean Hansberry who nodded home to restore well- earned parity. Hansberry was in the thick of the action again and scored a classic goal to rapturous applause a minute later with a great effort from the edge of the 18’ box which curled into the opposite corner of the net with the aid of a deflection off the post. Right on the stroke of half time Michael Flattery did the grafting on the left flank before finding Hansberry on the edge of the box but his effort was saved by the keeper’s legs to keep Colemanstown 2-1 in charge at the break.
In the 2nd half it was Knocknacarra who had the earlier chances, first side footing wide, then a good reflex save by Jayo Connolly followed by Knocknacarra’s No.8 whose attempted curling ball was off target. Knocknacarra’s big striker again had another good shot at goal which was well held by Connolly while straight up the other end the ball bobbled about in the box from Ryan Noone’s corner while no one could get a toe to it and eventually it deflected off Conor Byron and out wide. Knocknacarra then made the most of a gifted chance when Sean Hansberry & Michael Kelly collided in the centre circle, Knocknacarra capitalised on our misery, won the ball back and a through ball was latched onto by their striker to level up matters at 2-2 with 9mins left. With 5 mins to go Jason Connolly made a point blank save as Knocknacarra were well on top. Knocknacarra capitalised on their dominance from then until the end and scored what looked like the decisive goal with 2mins remaining. A slip-up in defence allowed Knocknacarra through for a one-on-one with the keeper while their striker held his nerve to finish well which looked like the winner for them. However, Colemanstown showed that ‘keep plugging til the end’ attitude and pulled of a ‘late late show’ when they were rewarded a free kick one minute into injury time. Sean Hansberry stood over the free, which he earned himself, and then like a magic trick, his low hard drive found the back of the net.
A 3-3 draw was probably the fairest result in the circumstances as 2 very equal teams put in a gutsy display and showed plenty of heart and eagerness to win. Well done to both teams on a terrific display and to Brian & PJ for having the pitch is such good shape. Next up for these U14’s is a league tie vs Cregmore next weekend.
Squad: Jason Connolly, Micháel Ryan, Dara Hansberry, Luke Lally, Liam Gormally, Sean Hansberry, Michael Kelly, Conor Moran, Mark Donnellan, Ryan Noone, Michael Flattery, Darragh Diskin, Liam Molloy.