Colemanstown and Athenry U16s had to settle for a share of the spoils as this local derby and final league game ended in 0-0 stalemate in Athenry today in front of huge support from both teams. A draw was enough to clinch the title for Colemanstown while a win was needed for Athenry as both teams knew going into the game what exactly was required of them.
The home side made the brighter start on a cold afternoon as a long range effort wasn’t too far away from the top corner of Fionn Flattery’s goal. Jason Finn’s side hit back as Colemanstown came close on 12mins when Ciaran Mulhern was fouled and Tommy Mellody’s resultant free kick thundered off the cross bar. Harry Mitchell had an effort from a corner which rebounded off a defender and on the 2nd ask, he hit straight at the keeper. On 17mins Colemanstown strung together a lovely move involving Jonah Donnellan & Tommy Mellody but Mulhern couldn’t keep his effort low enough. Back came Athenry who looked dangerous on the attack and won 2 successive corners on 20mins, the first headed away by Cian Ruane & Dean Connaire stepped in to clear the second but only as far as an Athenry striker who blasted over. Just on the half hour mark, Jack Jordan worked hard to win a corner which was floated in by Ciaran Keating and Cian Ruane’s powerful header wasn’t too far off the mark. Minutes later a quickly taken kick-out saw a long range delivery from the back for Tommy to latch on to and tricking two defenders with that footwork one could only admire, he teed across to Harry Mitchell who was inches away from finding the bottom right corner. With 5mins to play, an Athenry free from the half way line dipped too late as it looked like it had gone in from the sideline. Just on the stroke of half time, Mulhern again got on the end of Cian Ruane’s free but his effort was deflected out for a corner which was whipped in by Keating but Cian Ruane was unable to make anything of his header and Athenry scrambled away the clearance. 0-0 at the break.
4mins after the restart, Mulhern’s hard work again won him a corner & Jason Rabbitte rose highest to get the nod on a trademark Keating corner but the keeper did enough to parry it away and the defenders made certain of the clearance. Rabbitte had another half chance with a strike from 30 yards but failed to get the power behind the shot. Then a crunching tackle on Rabbitte gave Colemanstown a free kick which Ruane hooked in and Luke Williams saw the keeper make a fine stop from his header. 15mins into the half, Harry had another chance when Mulhern skipped a few tackles in the middle of the park as he tricked his way into space, found Harry Mitchell who lashed first time but the keeper produced a superb save. There was little in terms of chances for both teams for the next quarter hour until Athenry’s captain latched onto a long ball over the top and with the Colemanstown defence stretched and only Fionn to beat, he fired well over.
Both keepers made outstanding contributions in the last 5 minutes. Mulhern got on the end of a throw, beat a few defenders before the keeper had to advance off his line to make the save, while seconds later down the other end the Colemanstown lads were indebted to Fionn Flattery’s save which was equally as vital.
There remained little sign of a break in the deadlock as the game reached its final 3mins. Mulhern again was fouled and Harry’s left footed effort wasn’t too far away. With seconds to go, Athenry were within a whisker of snatching the three points as jittery defending from Colemanstown saw the Athenry lads latch on to a throw ball and their effort thundered off the cross bar and straight down centimetres off the goal line and with Colemanstown’s scrambled clearance, the ref blew the final whistle to huge relief of the jubilant Colemanstown supporters, both young & old.
Truthfully, there was nothing between the sides as both teams gave it their all and of the 3 meetings this year, there was a win apiece and a draw today indicating there’s little or nothing to separate these sides. Ger Treacy, secretary of the Galway FA presented the cup to Captain fantastic Jason Rabbitte who thanked his teammates and paid tribute to the commitment of Jason Finn who made a 70minute trip three times per week and put in 90 sessions all season training these lads alongside Gareth Lally. It has to be said ‘Datch’ would nearly equal that commitment, having rarely missed a training session or match all season – definitely one of the best supporters around. This was the 4th successive league title for these lads having won the U13, U14 & U15 leagues successively and have now truly earned the right to play U17 top flight football next season.
Well done lads & mentors on a brilliant season.
Squad: Fionn Flattery, Ciaran Keating, Jonah Donnellan, Cian Ruane, Dean Connaire, Ciaran Mulhern, Luke Williams, Jack Jordan, Tommy Mellody, Harry Mitchell, Jason Rabbitte, David Walsh, Eanna Burke, Dara Scarry, Jack Dillon, Kyle Madden, Jonathan Keane, Cathal Kennedy.