Orla McCaffrey reports on todays nailbiting U12 top of the table clash with Salthill Devon B.
These two top of the table teams met for the first time this season on a windy Saturday morning in Colemanstown. Before the game, both teams, management and supporters observed a minutes silence as a mark of respect for Pat McCann, member of the Galway FA Committee & Chiildren’s Officer who passed away during the week having bravely borne a short illness. Colemanstown played with the strong wind at their backs for the first half and commenced the game determined to make the most of the breeze. They were on the attack from the off. Colemanstown management made full use of the roll on/ roll off subs in this intense game. Darren Moran up front chased some excellent passes, as well as hassling the defense from their own kick outs throughout the game, putting pressure on the defense and keeper. The starting midfielders of Conor Walsh, Shane Quirke and Joshua Buckley were in excellent form, showcasing their footwork, successfully taking on defenders, getting the ball up front and attacking the goal, as well as pulling back to help out the defense.
The Colemanstown defense were superb. Cillian Roche was strong in winning the ball, getting it upfield and joining the attack. Fionn Donohue made some goal saving tackles and got the ball through to midfield. James Queeney read the ball excellently, winning the ball and putting through passes. Ryan Concannon was superb in his reading of the game throughout, winning the ball on their attacks and getting the ball up front. Nathan Mannion defended excellently with some lovely tackles; Cathal Keane marked his man superbly, winning the ball and passing well. Daniel Lydon made some lovely tackles and passing moves. Joshua McDonnell kept the home net safe with sturdy goalkeeping and kick outs.
Colemanstown worked well with some early chances and plenty of efforts on the visitor’s goal. Conor Walsh had a defender block his shot and Darren Moran forced the keeper into a save; Shane Quirke hit the crossbar and had a shot saved, all in the early exchanges. The breakthrough came for Colemanstown 12 minutes in when Shane Quirke made a run up the left, passed to Joshua Buckley, who made no mistake to beat the keeper and slot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0. Colemanstown continued to pile on the pressure. Joshua Buckley made a run up the right, his fancy footwork helping him beat 3 defenders as he sent the ball to the feet of Cillian Roche who saw his fine shot saved by the keeper. He had another excellent shot a couple of minutes later which the keeper also managed to keep out with another excellent save. All the midfielders and Darren Moran continued their pursuit but the keeper and crossbar kept them out. Colemanstown won some corners which were defended well by the visitors. The home defense and keeper kept Salthill out every time Colemanstown attacked. Colemanstown had a corner right before half time, Joshua Buckley delivered to Shane Quirke and as he kicked it the ref blew the whistle, the ball had gone into the net while the whistle was still being blown, with the goal being disallowed. A harsh call it might seem! It remained 1-0 at the half-time break.
The home team were against the wind for the second half, but no less determined to push for goals. A change of keeper for the first part of the second half saw Conor Walsh take up the gloves. Salthill were pressing heavily and again the midfield and defense remained solid. When they did make a breakthrough Conor Walsh made some lovely saves and long kick outs to clear the ball. Colemanstown had their chances also, some lovely runs up the wing by Shane Quirke, excellent passes through from defense and midfield. Salthill continued to pile on the pressure, eventually scoring from a pass through an attacker to slot the ball into the goal. Both teams continued their fine form pressing for the winner with a frantic last few minutes as both teams had chances. Joshua McDonnell returned to goal with Conor Walsh redeployed in attack. Colemanstown had some chances with shots from corner kicks eventually going wide of the mark. It finished 1-1 as time ran out on two evenly matched teams.
Colemanstown displayed some fine passing play, excellent attacking and defending, lovely footwork and their clean, honest style of play was reflected in the minuscule amount of free kicks against them. Colemanstown remain 3 points behind their opponents, but with 2 games in hand.
Squad: Joshua McDonnell, Fionn Donohue, James Queeney, Nathan Mannion, Cillian Roche, Cathal Keane, Daniel Lydon, Ryan Concannon, Shane Quirke, Conor Walsh, Joshua Buckley, Darren Moran
Coaches: Fidelma Walsh, Damien Mannion, Orla McCaffrey.