U15s grind out place in Cup Final; U12s hard earned draw with league leaders

Colemanstown U15s 3 – 2 St. Bernard’s
This U15 Divisional Cup Semi Final game began with an emotional round of applause for Kate Moran, her family, team mates & Ardrahan camogie club as requested by the GFA at all upcoming matches. Our U15s didn’t play pretty football but they won the fight against local rivals St Bernards at home on Monday evening to earn a place in the Div1 Cup final. It was a high pressure encounter from start to finish as local rivalry always adds that extra bit of bite to any local encounter.

Colemanstown came from behind twice so in fairness to St. Bernard’s the manner of this Colemanstown escape was fairly fortuitous. Colemanstown’s first real chance fell to Jonah Donnellan who got on the end of a David Walsh free but his effort smashed off the crossbar. Ross Lally then had to be substituted for an injury acquired on his last outing which saw the introduction of Donnacha Walsh at centre mid. The game was tit for tat with nothing clear cut for either side until the 27th minute mark when St. Bernards opened their account. The ball was clearly out of play for a throw ball under the stand and as the Colemanstown lads stood waiting for the refs call which never came, the visitors continued with play and hammered the opener past Fionn Flattery. Their joy was short lived though as Colemanstown scored immediately from tip off as Shane Duffy & Tiernan Lohan combined and Kyle Madden finished well. Then another twist to the tale came on the stroke of half time when Bernard’s scored again direct from a free kick when their striker hit the stanch of the post with a pile driver direct from a free kick. The ref wasn’t long awarding the goal.  Half time 2-1

The 2nd half saw much better free flowing football as both sides strung together some good passages of play. Colemanstown dominated  proceedings from the restart with Cillian Roche wide from a header and David Walsh hit his free kick straight at the keeper. Then Bernard’s blasted over after their striker found himself one-on-one with the keeper. 16mins into the half, Cillian Roche had everyone celebrating as it looked like his piledriver found the net but it skinned the crossbar and deflected off the new fencing instead. As Colemanstown sustained the pressure, a speculative high lobbing effort from David Walsh near the corner flag was held up in the stiff breeze and bounced over the line to restore parity. Shane Duffy was off target after gathering a Josh Buckley throw while Tiernan Lohan & Kyle Madden were unable to find the target after good link up play. With 26mins played Fionn made a super one handed save to keep the ball from finding the net while Bernard’s custodian got his body well behind a low hard shot from Cillian Roche. A Bernard’s free from under the dugouts was well held by Fionn Flattery while Cillian Roche drew another super one handed save from the keeper deflecting the ball off the cross bar & over. With 7 mins to go the corner was whipped in by David Walsh whose curling effort found its way to the back of the net as there was a bit of consternation in St Bernard’s defence. Tiernan Lohan had a further chance late in the game after good work from Joshua McDonnell while St Bernard’s had a brilliant chance right at the death from a set piece which luckily landed on the roof of the net to save the game going to extra time.  3-2 it ended to Colemanstown in a dogfight battle in every sector of the pitch but one would take that any day to get to a Cup Final.

Squad: Fionn Flattery, Josh Buckley, Diarmuid Ryan, Cillian Roche, David Walsh, Cathal Kennedy, Jonah Donnellan, Ross Lally, Tiarnan Lohan, Shane Duffy, Kyle Madden, Donnacha Walsh, Michael Fallon, Joshua McDonnell, Matthew Keane, Jamie Nutley, Ronan Screene, Sean Connolly.

Colemanstown United U12 Boys 2 – 2 Kiltullagh Pioneers
Table toppers Kiltullagh Pioneers travelled to the town this evening with the confidence of knowing that they hadn’t dropped a single point all season. They also know that a League Cup final v Loughrea FC awaits them at the final stages of the season.

Our boys knew that this was going to be tough shift and the team talk during match prep reflected on 2 defeats already on Kiltullagh’s astro. This was however a different game and indeed a different surface and it was evident from the kickoff that our boys were not in the humour for conceding a goal. 4 across midfield ensured the Colemanstown boys locked out any threat and Kiltullagh resorted to playing the first half on scraps and corners. Nobody could afford to have a quiet day and this certainly was evident while watching Robbie Lydon leading his defence while flanked by Adam Devaney and Riain Donohue. Corners were a plenty and required John Parker to pluck a few of them from above the heads of the Kiltullagh strike force. At the other end of the pitch it was sometimes a thankless task for Joshua Lualdi as the lone striker acted as the 9th defender, however cleverly, Joshua was allowing Darren Quirke to attack deep from midfield while supported by Thomas Screene to set up some first half chances of our own. Each time Darren and Thomas led an attack, Dermot Parker and Caolan O’Neill understood their midfield holding roles and ruled out any opportunity for a midfield gap.

This was something the boys struggled with in previous meetings and it was evident today that lessons have been learned this season on how to hold a shape and maintain a team structure that could quickly transition from attack to defence.

David Barrett came on to right side of midfield to strengthen the gap ahead of Rian before the break. Scott Donoghue came on in attack to relieve Josh from his difficult duties. Half time arrived and 0-0 on the board and a development win was already won. It was clear however that the boys didn’t really care about how well they were playing and wanted to win the second half. Hard to argue with that ambition. There was however one problem as Kiltullagh brought on their star playmaker at half time and within 3 opening minutes we found ourselves 2-0 down. Both goals starting from their playmaker in midfield who found openings in the forward play that was simply a joy to watch. The team decided that  man marking approach was needed and Dermot Parker was tasked with stepping out of the established midfield  and roam after the danger man. The plan worked and all the boys responded to the added responsibility. Adam Kenny came on to midfield to add some tenacity to open play and Thomas Screene moved up front to begin offering a treat from different points of play.

Colemanstown found they were now comfortable and understood what it took to disable Kiltullagh at every threat. Darren Quirke at this stage was having the game of his life and eventually, one of his many attempts found Thomas with a little dink through which Thomas latched on to with a dink of his own on the front volley. 2-1 and it was game on. At the other end of the pitch we seen a titan battle develop as Dermot refused to give an inch to his threat. At times it still wasn’t possible to deal with every instance, but it was clear that our defensive unit of Rian Donohue, David Barrett, Robbie Lydon and Adam Devaney were in no humour to concede again. Time and time again Rian Donohue was found in the right spot and at stages looked like he could have played this game with his eyes closed.

Energy sapping stuff and Kiltullaghs playmaker had enough of Dermot Parker after 20 minutes and was replaced. This was now the opportunity to spring Keelyn Kirby into the game and with his first touch lobbed the keeper to creep over the line. 2-2 with 12 minutes left and no more than what was deserved from the boys in green. Finian Walsh came on in the dying stages to bolster midfield and in the end, the boys walked off the pitch knowing they took points from the runaway league leaders.

This was a game where the boys began to understand what hard work and strategy can achieve as it sometimes can be of greater importance to technical ability.

Final score from Colemanstown: Colemanstown United 2 – Kiltullagh Pioneers.  Match report by Robbie Parker