Our U15’s suffered their first loss this season at the hands of Oughterard ‘A’ in New Village, Oughterard yesterday. Hopping into bed on Friday night, listening to the howling wind and the driving rain against the window, one couldn’t but think there wouldn’t be a pitch in the county playable the following day. Our U13 match against Renmore fell victim to pitch conditions while our U15s travelled to New Village to take on high flyers Oughterard who are perched 2nd in the table playing in a higher flight league. On view of the pitch alone, one would be forgiven for thinking it was Summer weather such was the unbelievable perfect state of the grass surface given the inclement weather all week so hats off to Oughterard in this regard. Our boys togged with caretaker managers Johnny Mullins & Sean Moran in charge given that David Gilligan had taken a well-earned weekend sojourn. Both caretakers settled in perfectly as Mullins could be heard from a long distance off laying down commands and commending his charges. As the game commenced one would be hard pushed to tell which team played higher flight football such was the enormous heart shown by the Colemanstown youngsters.
The first half belonged to Colemanstown as they dominated possession and bossed proceedings. Conor Moran hit the butt of the post on 7mins after Conor Byron worked hard to win a corner. On 15mins Mike Kelly won a ball in defence which he literally had no right to win, played Ryan Noone up along the sideline who in turn crossed into the towering Sean Hansberry who chested the ball down well showing great control before unleashing a mighty drive over the bar. The resultant long kick out fell in behind our defence and as their No. 7 latched onto the ball, he skimmed his effort marginally wide. Ryan Noone had a gifted chance when it appeared he was clean through on goal but the Oughterard defender stole in from nowhere to poke the ball off his toe as he was about to pull the trigger. Colemanstown were rewarded on 22mins after Mark Donnellan won the ball out near the sideline, played Sean Hansberry who exploited space towards the byline before crossing immaculately to Noone in the box who had to glide in to connect perfectly and poke the ball well right of the keeper. Oughterard had a snap shot 5 mins later which went wide while Luke Lally’s vital interception at the opportune time resulted in a corner for the hosts which was headed over. Jason Connolly then made a smashing save from a quickly taken corner while straight up the other end, Mike Kelly had a half chance but the Oughterard keeper was quick off his line to steal the ball. The last 5 mins of the half, Oughterard came more into the game but our back four: Declan O’Brien, Luke Lally, Dara Hansberry & Conor Byron were steady as they combined well with Lally vocal in organising the defense line. Ryan Noone had another good chance just before the break as he latched onto a long delivery from midfield and looked to have been clipped in the box but as the ref allowed the advantage, Noone hobbled on to win his side a corner which was eventually cleared by Oughterard to leave Colemanstown 1 up at the break.
Within 2 mins of the restart Connolly had to make a one handed save which deflected off the cross bar and into the safety of his own hands. Connolly saved a free kick and his long kick out ensured Colemanstown broke on the counter and as Ryan Noone skipped down the line he crossed into Conor Moran whose left footed attempt was saved and as the half clearance fell to Mark Donnellan he drove his effort over the bar. Oughterard restored parity 9mins into the 2nd half as their striker stole in behind our defence to leave Connolly with no chance. Connolly made another point blank save while his kick out found Noone who did well to win a corner which he took himself while Sean Hansberry failed to keep his headed effort down. Midway through the half Connolly had to be quick off his line as he came out to the edge of his box to gather a ball on 2 occasions. Niall McDonagh had the keeper under pressure shortly after his introduction and looked a threat with his quick feet. With 24mins gone Oughterard were more dominant and at this stage had earned an element of good fortune. They scored a precious goal to put them in charge which originated from a free kick which was half cleared; fell to No. 7 who scored a screamer from an acute angle. 5mins later Oughterard ensured no Colemanstown comeback as a slack pass resulted in Oughterard winning the ball back and a long range effort was mis-handled by Connolly who had a trojan game, it must be said; and their striker got on the end of the spilled ball while even the efforts of Luke Lally sliding back on his own goal line failed to keep the ball out. Ryan Noone’s free kick right at the death hit the side net and so it finished 3-1 to Oughterard after an emotionally sapping game.
Colemanstown had carved out the better opportunities in the opening half while Oughterard orchestrated more attacks in the 2nd. As it transpired, the Colemanstown boys will rue their failure to take the hatful of chances presented to them in the 1st half which would have given them more than the slender 1 goal advantage at half time. At least for now, they can concentrate on their remaining three league games; get back on their horse and down to brass tacks as we expect nothing else but for them to bounce back for their league outing next weekend against Carraroe side MacDara who are also unbeaten in the league to date.
Squad: Jason Connolly, Declan O’Brien, Luke Lally, Dara Hansberry, Conor Byron, Fionn O’Connor, Mike Kelly, Mark Donnellan, Ryan Noone, Sean Hansberry, Conor Moran, Niall McDonagh, Michael Flattery, Darragh Diskin, Daithi Colleran.