Kilmeen add U16 title to cap a magnificent season
KILMEEN embarked upon a remarkable scoring spree in the opening period of extra-time which propelled the Rossmore based outfit to a hard fought victory over Mid Cork opponents Macroom following this pulsating U16 A county football final played in an immaculately prepared Kilmichael venue last Saturday afternoon.
When Macroom ace centre forward John Murphy pointed to move his side six points clear in the 40th minute it seemed inevitable that his side now firmly established in the ascendency would proceed to secure victory. Kilmeen however displayed admirable tenacity and courage as they proceeded to score 1-3 without reply from their opponents in the closing stage of an invigorating encounter to ensure extra-time would be required to separate these two evenly matched sides.
The aforementioned score from Murphy was to prove amazingly his side's last point of the game as the Kilmeen lads who visably grew in confidence and self-belief as the game progressed thundered into proceedings with their haul of 1-4 in the opening period of extra-time paving the way for the Super Blues to clinch a much coveted first county final victory at U16 level.
This latest county title success for Kilmeen which comes hot on the heels of their minor C county title success last November following another extra-time final classic encounter played in Kilmichael seems set to herald in a bright and exciting future for Kilmeen who will hope the nucleus of players from these two heroic county winning double champions will be maintained which will inspire and enable them to secure more success at adult level over the coming years.
This latest Kilmeen victory was based upon a tremendous team effort from their entire squad. They displayed a plentiful supply of spirit, talent, ability and skill throughout this engrossing final decider in abundance which is a great testament to the devoted tutelege and expert coaching they received from their team management and selectors, dedicated coaching quartet Timmy O'Brien, Pat Tobin, JJ Santry and Sean O'Donovan whose hard work with this team from U12 level up reaped their deserved rewards last Saturday afternoon. This county final triumph is testament to the much envied coaching structure Kilmeen have established which has ensured and produced a regular supply of talented players from their renowned conveyor belt of young talented players.
Whilst one is loathe to single out individuals following a sensational team performance, young ace Damien O'Gorman who has already represented Cork at under-age level, produced a wonderful individual performance with the midfield star underlining his glittering reputation with a steller performance as he garnered five points, four from play. His mazy, intelligent runs and composed passing were a notable feature of the game and they were instumental in paving the way for his side to emerge triumphant.
However this entire Kilmeen team proved heroic and colossal figures on a day that will live long in all their memories and every member of their squad deserves to be feted and honoured by their local community for bringing such a euphoric sense of joy and pride to their parish to complete a magnficent playing season for the Super Blues with the annexing of two county titles representing a magnificent achievement for this proud and illustrious club who will be celebrating their 125th anniversary next year.
Eight of the team who lined out last Saturday were also members of the minor panel who were victorious less than eight weeks previously whilst nine of the squad are eligible to play U16 footballers next season which augurs well for a possible successful defence of their county title.
Macroom can take solace from contributing to an absorbing final decider but they will rue their failure to convert their chances as they contrived to squander a plethora of chances especially in the opening half as the Kilmeen custodian William Tyner (who produced a wonderful performance) thwarted them with alarming regularity. Macroom failed to replicate the heights they scaled in the opening stages of the second half and their heads visibly wilted as the Kilmeen lads significantly increased the impetus in extra-time thus paving the way for eventual championship glory. Macroom however, based on this performance, possess a very promising team who if harnessed and nurtured properly have a bright future as they seek to improve the fortunes for their well-established and decorated club.
Macroom initially started brightly with midfield duo Michael Cronin and Andrew Godsil combining well to establish an early period of superiority at centre-field. Early points from Chris Foskett and Michael Cronin moved Macroom into a two point lead whilst Kilmeen keeper Tyner was required to make a fine save to deny John Murphy.
Kilmeen who were much more prolific from an attacking perspective had restored parity by the tenth minute following points from Finian Deasy and James Clancy. Damien O'Gorman and Don Creedon traded points for their respective teams to maintain the status quo after the opening quarter of the game. The pace and trickery of the Macroom forwards continued to pose problems for the Kilmeen defensive sextet who were grateful Tyner was in inspired form to deny Chris Foskett whilst a powerful Cathal O'Mahony drive rebounded off the crossbar with Tyner rooted to his spot.
The pace of the game was unrelenting with play ebbing and flowing from end to end and the game was played in a refreshing and tremendous sporting manner with the referee helping as he let the play flow at all times. Another notable aspect of the game was the expert blocking down brilliantly exhibited by both teams which illustrates the expert coaching both sides have received from their various underage coaches. John Murphy added two points for Macroom but a late point from James Clancy reduced the arrears to one point at the interval.
Kilmeen levelled proceedings within ten seconds of the resumption of the second half following a typically barnstorming run from O'Gorman. Macroom however proceeded to dominate thereafter with Murphy and Foskett linking well in attack and the maurading runs from defensive duo Eoin Walsh and Shane Creedon contributing to the Mid Cork's sides period of dominance as they struck 1-3 in a blistering five minute spell. Don Creedon, Chris Foskett and John Murphy struck points before Cathal O'Mahony netted from close range after good approach play from playmaker John Murphy to raise hopes of a Macroom victory.
Macroom subsequently failed to score for the remainder of the game as Kilmeen knowing victory was slipping from their grasp, responded in majestic fashion. Damien O'Gorman converted a free to raise hopes of a comeback. Kilmeen's dreams were further boosted when Clancy netted in confident fashion after a good run and pass from Damien O'Gorman to reduce the arrears to two points with a quarter remaining.
Towering midfield ace Liam Daly then notched a fantastic long range point to reduce the arrears to the bare minimum before a period of 14 minutes ensued with a score for either team as the tension and drama of the occasion reached fever pitch. Kilmeen maintained their composure in a nerve-riddent and gripping finale when Finian Deasy pointed from close range in the first minute of injury time to ensure extra-time was required.
Kilmeen started the first period of extra-time in sensational fashion as they proceeded to score 1-4 in the opening five minutes. Darren Santry, Damien O'Gorman (2), Liam Daly all notched points with Finian Deasy pouncing for a fine goal after an exchange of passes with O'Gorman (now playing at full-forward).
There was no way back one sensed now for a visably disconsolate and demoralised Macroom outfit who were overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity and will to win by a rejuvenated Super Blues team growing in confidence as the game progressed which ensured they cantered to victory. James Clancy and Liam Daly added further points in the second period of extra-time to seal a deserved victory for the Super Blues.
There were unprecedented scenes of joy and euphoria amongst their large contingent of supporters when inspirational team captain James Clancy was presented with the county title by Coiste na nÓg Cathaoirleach Marc Sheehan which Kilmeen hope will herald a new era for the Super Blues.
Scorers - Kilmeen: James Clancy 1-3, 0-3 frees, Damien O'Gorman 0-5, 0- 1 free, Finian Deasy 1-2, Liam Daly 0-3, Darren Santry 0-1. Macroom: John Murphy 0-3, Cathal O'Mahony 1-0, Chris Foskett 0-2, Shane Burke, Don Creedon, Michael Cronin (free) 0-1 each.
Kilmeen: William Tyner, Brian Keohane, Liam O'Brien, Thomas McCarthy, Ben Van Bree, Jason McCarthy, Aidan O'Shea, Liam Daly, Damien O'Gorman, Sean Deasy, Finian Deasy, David O'Donovan, Darren Santry, James Clancy, Jonathan Deasy. Subs used: Eamonn Barrett, Oige Scannell, Jerry Scannell and Daniel O'Donovan.
Macroom: Declan Kiely, Killian O'Mahony, Eoin Walsh, Brendan O'Sullivan, Shane Burke, Brian McMahon, Shane Creedon, Andrew Godsil, Michael Cronin, Don Creedon, John Murphy, Kevin O'Dwyer, Cathal O'Mahony, Chris Foskett, Declan O'Riordan. Sub used: Brendan O'Callaghan.
Referee: Joe Larkin, Douglas.
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