OGorman leads the way for Kilmeen U16s
Ilen Rovers 2-6
A FIVE-STAR performance from Damien O'Gorman and two goals immediately after half-time were the main ingredients of Kilmeen's victory in the U16 A Rebel Óg West Section football final in perfect conditions on Saturday last in Rosscarbery.
Having dominated the opening half, Kilmeen, with O'Gorman orchestrating events, threatened to put the game outside the reach of an Ilen side who struggled to get their game going, but some wayward shooting by the Kilmeen forwards meant Ilen were still in the game as half-time approached.
It seemed that the Kilmeen lads would regret their misses when Ilen struck for a goal on the stroke of half-time and trailed by only five points at the break. Any hopes that Ilen might have harboured that they had survived the Kilmeen onslaught were rudely dashed immediately after the break when Kilmeen struck for two goals within three minutes to open up an eleven-point gap.
Ilen now had a mountain to climb and to their credit they never threw in the towel. In fact they dominated the remainder of the game territorially but the Kilmeen backs held steady and denied Ilen the goals they needed to pull back the big lead. The western side did eventually raise a green flag but it did not come until the 58th minute, far too late to affect the outcome.
To the victors went the spoils and deservedly so as they were the better side on the day and in winning this football title they atoned for their surprise defeat in the corresponding hurling final last month.
While Damien O'Gorman, first at midfield, then in the forwards and, finally, back in defence, was the player who really lit the Kilmeen fire with his classy football, he had many willing helpers. All seven defenders more than played their part in the second half, with wing backs Aidan O'Shea and Ben Van Bree doing great work.
O'Gorman and the tall Liam Daly commanded midfield in the first half and Daly looked very strong in the closing stages. James Clancy, Jonathan Deasy and Finian Deasy were to the fore in an attack where Seán Deasy, David O'Donovan and Darren Santry also had good moments.
While Ilen failed to come out of the traps in the first half, they showed what they were capable of after the break but lacked a cutting edge until midfielder Josh Pickett moved to full forward for the closing twenty minutes. During that period he kicked 1-4 and gave the Kilmeen backs some uncomfortable moments.
Full back, Eoin O'Donoghue moved to midfield in the second half where he broke the grip of the Kilmeen side and wing backs, Oisín Coffey and Darragh McCormack, did a lot of hard grafting. Alex Hassett tried his best at midfield and up front Darragh Casey and Stephen Leonard tried their best to break down the solid Kilmeen citadel. Daniel O'Driscoll did a lot of good work as sweeper in defence.
Kilmeen were quickly off the mark when Liam Daly and James Clancy pointed and when Damien O'Gorman set up Jonathan Deasy for a simple goal in the fourth minute, Kilmeen were in total control, five points to the good.
Ilen slowly began to recover from this disastrous start and Darragh Casey and Liam Coombes narrowed the gap with two points by the 10th minute but they weren't to score again until the 30th minute as Kilmeen dictated terms.
Points from Jonathan Deasy, Finian Deasy, Damien O'Gorman and James Clancy stretched the lead to seven points but the Blues were also guilty of some bad shooting and Jonathan Deasy blazed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Struggling to get their running game going, Ilen were thrown a lifeline in the 30th minute when Stephen Leonard found the Kilmeen net after a defence-splitting solo run by Alex Hassett. The final score of the half fell to Kilmeen, a free from O'Gorman, and it was 1-7 to 1-2 at the break, a poor reflection of Kilmeen's supremacy in that first half.
Whatever was said to the winners at half-time certainly had the desired effect as they had the ball in the net within a minute of the restart, per Damien O'Gorman, and two minutes later Darren Santry repeated the dose and Ilen were now facing their Everest, eleven points in arrears. A couple of substitutions, a few positional switches and Ilen clicked into gear, with Eoin O'Donoghue dominating midfield and Josh Pickett proving the perfect target-man at full forward.
Within the next twelve minutes Pickett kicked four unanswered points, two from play and two from frees and the lead was down to a manageable seven points as the last quarter dawned. Kilmeen had to dig deep now to prevent an Ilen goal and they did so effectively with all hands manning the pumps.
Ilen badly needed a goal but never came near one and it was under-pressure Kilmeen who grabbed the next two vital scores, points from Finian Deasy and Liam Daly, from almost 50m. With two minutes remaining and the title safely in the bag, the Kilmeen defence finally lapsed when Josh Pickett belted a 13m free to the net but that was that and it was Kilmeen who were celebrating when the final whistle blew.
Final score in an entertaining contest was 3-9 to 2-6 and there were great scenes of delight when Nollaig Ó Caochlaoi (Coiste na nÓg) presented the O'Donovan Rossa Cup for U16 A football, first presented in 1960, to winning captain, James Clancy.
Scorers Kilmeen: Damien O'Gorman 1-2, 0-1 free, Jonathan Deasy 1-1, Darren Santry 1-0, Liam Daly 0-2, Finian Deasy 0-2, James Clancy 0-2, 0-1 free. Ilen Rovers: Josh Pickett 1-4, 0-2 frees, Stephen Leonard 1-0, Darragh Casey and Liam Coombes 0-1 each.
Kilmeen: William Tyner, Thomas McCarthy, Liam O'Brien, Brian Keohane, Ben Van Bree, Jason McCarthy, Aidan O'Shea, Liam Daly, Damien O'Gorman, David O'Donovan, Finian Deasy, Seán Deasy, Jonathan Deasy, James Clancy, Darren Santry. Subs: Jerry Scannell, Eamonn Barrett.
Ilen Rovers: Felix Miller, Donal Collins, Eoin O'Donoghue, Luca Miller, Oisín Coffey, Tom Bushe, Darragh McCormack, Alex Hassett, Josh Pickett, John Davis, Darragh Casey, Liam Coombes, Daniel O'Driscoll, Jack Bushe, Stephen Leonard. Subs: Seán O'Donovan, Rory Hone, Jake McCarthy, Kevin Minihane, Conor O'Driscoll.
Referee: Leonard Cooke, Carbery Rangers.
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