JOE KENNEFICK REPORTS
CARRIGALINE retained their South East U21 A football title with a strong second-half performance that turned a six-point half-time deficit into a seven-point winning margin.
Played on St Patrick’s morning on an excellent playing surface in Minane Bridge, a biting cold wind turned the game into the proverbial game of two halves, and it was Carrigaline who made better use of the strong gale.
Valley Rovers had the wind in the opening half, and they led 0-7 to 0-1 at the interval, and in truth, they looked the better team. But Carrigaline came out a different team in the second half, and they took control as the wind seemed to get even stronger.
Valley Rovers had the opening points of the game, from Adam Settini and Cathal Manning, but they were fortunate in the fourth minute, when a shot from Carrigaline’s Olan Barry was deflected onto the post by Valley Rovers goalkeeper Cian O’Donovan, before the danger was cleared.
Further points from Pa Hurley, Colm Butler and Gary Deane saw them race into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 21 minutes, but they will rue a missed goal opportunity when Cathal Manning was through on goal, but Carrigaline goalkeeper Ian Giltinan produced a brilliant save to deny him.
Valley Rovers, with Settini and William Hurley playing well, were in control as Carrigaline wasted a lot of good possession in final third of the pitch. Olan Barry had their opening score in the 22nd minute from a free, but a superb Gary Deane effort from a side line kick left Valleys six points in front, 0-7 to 0-1, at half-time.
Evan Ryle started the Carrigaline revival in the second half with a good point from near the touchline, before three points in a row from captain Billy Pope saw them right back in the contest. And when Jack McCarthy finished a good move with a point, the deficit was reduced to a single point 0-7 to 0-6 after 48 minutes.
Valley Rovers were struggling to get out of their own half, as Carrigaline’s Barry Ryan tore into the game with some magnificent fielding at midfield. From a kick-out, Ryan rose majestically to field the ball and his through pass found Olan Barry, who found the net to put Carrigaline in front for the first time.
Luke Boyle increased the lead for Carrigaline before Valleys finally rallied and points from Deane and Settini kept them in the hunt.
But Carrigaline were not going to be denied. Mark Brosnan pointed before Barry, who won the man-of-the-match award, finished to the net from the penalty spot.
Further points from Brosnan and Pope ensured the title went to Carrigaline for the second year in a row.
Carrigaline: O Barry 2-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), B Pope 0-4, M Brosnan 0-2, E Ryle, J McCarthy, L Boyle 0-1 each.
Valley Rovers: G Deane 0-3 (1f, 1 sideline), A Settini 0-2 (1f), C Butler 0-2, P Hurley, C Manning 0-1 each.
Carrigaline: I Giltinan; J Kelly, E Riordan, L Boyle; N Quirke, N Coleman, J McCarthy; B Ryan, K Dwane; E Ryle, O Barry, D Cooney; B Pope, M Brosnan, D Stack.
Subs: T Deasy for J McCarthy (25, inj), J McCarthy for J Kelly (ht), D Griffin for D Cooney (42).
Valley Rovers: C O’Donovan; A Sheehan, A Lyons, B Casey; F Lyons, S O’Regan, S O’Leary; W Hurley, R O’Sullivan; A Settini, J Callanan, G Deane; C Manning, P Hurley, C Butler.
Subs: S Lynch for P Hurley (53, inj), D Muckian for J Callanan (12).
Referee: Alan O’Connor (Ballygarvan).