It really has been a magnificent few weeks for Colemanstown at underage level. Just over 2 weeks ago, our U13s collected their league crown, our U15s topped their league table without kicking a ball in their final league game while our U18s also collected the league trophy. Yesterday afternoon, our U12’s added the league title with a hard earned 2-1 win over Corrib Celtic in a league playoff (given that both teams had been unbeaten in the league) in the hallowed turf of Eamon Decay Park, where every soccer youngster yearns to play. This was the 3rd meeting this year between the two sides; the league tie saw a share of the spoils, the cup tie saw Corrib Celtic win in extra time while yesterday’s game saw Colemanstown pip Corrib Celtic at the post which meant there was only a hair’s breadth between the two sides all year.
It was a game in which Ross Lally and Diarmuid Ryan were immense in defense and grew increasingly dominant as the game progressed. The entire team managed to play the type of attractive football for which manager Jayo Finn and assistant Gareth Lally are renowned. The achievement was all the more impressive, given that key player Cian Burke was absent. The game began in thundering fashion and within the first 5 minutes, Corrib Celtic had the ball in the net only for the vigilant defending of the robust Ross Lally who whipped the ball off the goal line. Immediately afterwards, Fionn Flattery made a whopping save as Corrib Celtic were piling on early pressure. In the ensuing play Jonah Donnellan’s super cross field pass to David Walsh saw him hit the butt of the post while Dylan Murphy did his best to poke the rebound home but the Corrib Celtic keeper was quickest to react. Murphy had another chance on 11mins but the ball got entangled in his feet and he couldn’t get a clean strike on it. The tenacious Niamh Kennedy had half a chance as David Walsh’s corner fell nicely for her but hesitated to shoot momentarily and the chance was gone. The ref called for a water break midway through the half given the warm evening and following the resumption, Corrib Celtic had a glorious chance but Fionn Flattery spread himself well to save a one-on-one effort. Jonah Donnellan had a good effort from out near the old stand but the keeper fumbled the ball but did well to regain his composure and save well on the 2nd attempt. At this stage, the Colemanstown youngsters were growing into the game as our back three, Cathal Kennedy, Diarmuid Ryan & Ross Lally foiled and inhibited Corrib’s lively strikers.
The breakthrough was made on 21mins as Dylan Murphy who was causing problems, saw his goalbound effort saved and who better than Killy Hughes to stamp the rebound home as he riffled the back of the net. Just before half time, Corrib Celtic levelled matters as a free kick fortuitously for them took a deflection off David Walsh and squeezed in by the post to leave the sides deadlocked at 1-1 at the break.
8mins after the restart, Colemanstown were offered a lifeline as Corrib Celtic’s No. 7 saw his header deflect off the post and as the rebound fell to him, he walloped it wide. A minute later, a long delivery from Donnellan into Davy Walsh who worked hard to keep the ball and he hit with his unfamiliar right boot to squeeze it under the keepers body to put Colemanstown 2-1 up and back in charge as Ross Lally knocked him to the ground in the excitement as he made his way out the field to take up his position for tip-off. Colemanstown continued to play in an extravagant manner as Killian Hughes was fouled in the middle of the park and Davy wasn’t too far off the mark with the resultant familiar left footed free kick from midfield. 12mins into the 2nd half, Davy Walsh was inches away from volleying home another trademark pass from Jonah Donnellan. Midway through the half, Corrib’s keeper made a quick double save; first from Paddy Flynn and the rebound from David Walsh. A minute later as Killy Hughes was almost through on goal, he tapped back to the better positioned Paddy Flynn but his effort took a deflection, out for a corner. Corrib Celtic had a chance to salvage the game with 5 mins to go, with a free kick after a handball from Donnellan. However, almost the entire Colemanstown team retreated back to their own goal line assembling the second best wall I’ve ever witnessed only beaten by Trumps wall between Mexico & USA but thankfully the striker lashed his effort well wide Shane Kenny & Cathal Hynes got stuck in, in the middle third following their introduction while although Sean Connolly and Ella Carroll didn’t get a taste of action on this occasion, they were instrumental in this teams unbeaten league run. The refs whistle concluded an exciting game played in the most spirited of fashion and more importantly Colemanstown held out to win the U12 league on the narrowest margin 2-1
Afterwards, the players made their way up the steps to the presentation area where Tom Trill, Galway FA chairman presented the cup to a proud captain David Walsh who thanked the two mentors Jayo & Gareth for their undying efforts all year and thanked all the parents for bringing them to training. David presented both coaches with an engraved commemorative token from the U12 squad in appreciation of their efforts, not just with this team but in juggling the management of the U13s as well. After Pearses loss yesterday, Gareth Lally was like a bat out of hell, singing along to Meatloaf, as he had an aversion to daylight. He appeared in Eamon Decay Park for his dose of Vit D and did a disappearing act again in Burkes afterwards due to affairs of the heart and may now be a supporter of the reformed Ladies team. Jason, on the other hand was in jubilant form all evening celebrating the double. It was great to see the two mentors sitting down surrounded by the entire squad. It shows the true bond that is there. This victory was surely a testament to the work being done at underage and academy level. The future, it seems, is looking bright for Colemanstown football.
The squad made their way back to Burke’s in Colemanstown where Bernie had a mighty spread put on for the players, at very short notice too, I might add. But Bernie doesn’t do panic!. Massive thanks to Pat Joe Kenny for his most generous contribution towards the food and thanks to the squad of players, their parents and mentors for the great season. Thanks also to the GFA & Noel Connolly for making Eamon Deacy Park available for this playoff game and for the atmosphere generated for both sets of players. It’s been a long road but an enjoyable and successful one with another cup in the cabinet.
Squad: Fionn Flattery, Cathal Kennedy, Diarmuid Ryan, Ross Lally, Killian Hughes, Jonah Donnellan, Niamh Kennedy, Davy Walsh, Dylan Murphy, Paddy Flynn, Shane Kenny, Cathal Hynes, Ella Carroll, Sean Connolly. Absent: Cian Burke.