U16’s bow out of Connacht Shield in semi final stage.

If ever there was a game of 2 halves, well it was evident on Sunday when our U16 team travelled to Solar Park, Milebush to take on Snugboro in the Quarter Final of the Connacht Shield.

Both sides started the game probing each other for weaknesses, with Colemanstown starting in a 4-4-2 formation, but neither team was found wanting. Colemanstown’s rearguard Conor Walsh, Nathan Mannion, Tyler Collins & Joshua McDonnell were in solid defensive form, pulling off some serious tackles all through the game, patrolling the 18’ box right as well as driving some excellent passes further up the field. The game started at a frenetic pace as Snugboro opened the scoring after 2mins when they tapped in at the back post from the first corner of the game. Colemanstown levelled matters on the 5th minute when a trademark Conor Walsh free from inside the opposition half found its way over everyone in a crowded area & into the net. Darren Moran before that had done super work on the right wing to earn the free. 1-1 after 5 minutes.. game on!

Snugboro got on the scoreboard again for their 2nd on the 12th minute when a poorly cleared corner fell to their striker whose goal bound effort was saved by Sean Cooke but the rebound was tapped home from close range. As Snugboro dominated possession at this stage, 15mins later they scored their 3rd after a poor pass was intercepted & the striker skipped into the box before firing into the bottom right corner. Colemanstown midfield quartet Cathal Keane, Matthew Keane, Shane Quirke & Ronan Screene & later Jamie Lally were in fine form throughout supporting the defence and stringing some lovely passes together in great passages of play. Eibhear Colleran and Darren Moran combined well up front but couldn’t find the net with the Snugboro defence crowding them out…minutes before the break, Snugboro snuck in No.4 and suddenly Colemanstown looked dead & buried 4-1 down at the break, a 3 goal difference despite plenty of evenly matched periods of play in the first half. A stern talking by gaffers Orla McCaffrey & Damien Mannion at half time was enough to climb any mountain.

Colemanstown created more opportunities in the 2nd half. They forced a few early corners & looked to have absorbed the pressure. Tomas Rogerson & Josh Buckley were introduced up front 20mins after the restart & made an immediate impact as they teamed up well. Another Conor Walsh free kick just inside the half just skimmed Josh Buckleys head inside the box and went out over the end line..Shane Quirke linked up with Rogie in a lovely 1-2 move before Shanes low strike found the net to claw back a goal. With 15mins to play, Colemanstown were right back in it. A corner from Matthew Keane was beautifully swung into the box, following a goalmouth scramble the ball was cleared; fell to Cathal Keane outside the box who finished a bullet into the top right corner, as he threatened to do so many times this season, but this time it paid off. Suddenly the game was alive & Snugboro’s backs were to the wall for the last 12 minutes. Jamie, Matthew, Shane and Cathal played some excellent passing feeding Josh and Rogie who got round the defenders but didn’t find the net…Tyler Collins was forced off due to injury & Shane Dempsey assumed the right back spot as the Colemanstown lads did everything in their power to force extra time. Rogie drew a top class save from the keeper as Colemanstown maintained possession and attacked with great intent but there was simply no way through a solid Snugboro defence line as they stemmed many Colemanstown attacks.

It was unfortunate the equalising goal didn’t come but the fact is these lads fired everything at it & played out of their skins and what an achievement to get to the Semi Final of a Connacht competition. Well done lads.

Squad: Sean Cooke, Conor Walsh, Nathan Mannion, Tyler Collins, Joshua McDonnell, Cathal Keane, Matthew Keane, Shane Quirke, Ronan Screene, Darren Moran, Jamie Lally, Eibhear Colleran, Tomas Rogerson, Josh Buckley, Shane Dempsey, Dylan King, Niall Grady, Sean Keating