JOHN NEWMAN REPORTS
CROSSHAVEN’S strong second-half display laid the base for their triumph in the South East U21 C football championship final against Belgooly at Minane Bridge.
The winners led by one point at the break and held Belgooly scoreless in the second half while they added five more points to their own tally.
Both teams served up a most entertaining game of 13-a-side football, a feature of which only one score (a point) came from a placed ball.
Scoring wise the first half was evenly divided as breeze-assisted Belgooly began to assert themselves in the second quarter, but they were unable to maintain the momentum in the second-half.
Crosshaven gained an early grip of this game and by the eighth minute they had forged in front 1-3 to 0-1 with Adam Kent, Greg O’Callaghan and Ben Donovan their point scorers before Jordan Meade was at the end of a four-man move to finish to the net. Belgooly’s Liam Walsh was on target with a point in the fifth minute.
While Crosshaven continued to claim control they were unable to penetrate a tough Belgooly defence thanks to the splendid play of Diarmuid Walsh, Liam Walsh and Chris O’Sullivan. As a result Crosshaven had to wait till 18th minute for their next score, this time from Dara O’Connell.
Suddenly Belgooly began to claw themselves back into the game. In the space of four minutes, they completely blitzed Crosshaven with a barrage of scores. Powered by centre back Liam Walsh who contributed a brace and midfielder Tom Donovan, they were a transformed outfit. When O’Donovan added 1-1, his goal a glorious effort from a Jack O’Callaghan lay-off, plus a Rhys Reynolds point, it saw Belgooly claim the lead 1-5 to 1-4 for the first time.
And then the Belgooly goalkeeper brought off a superb save from Brian Curran at the expense of a fruitless 45. Crosshaven did respond before the break with scores from Jack O’Connell and Ben Donovan and regain the lead 1-6 to 1-5.
The second half, especially up to the 50th minute, saw Crosshaven power ahead with some splendid football from Ben O’Brien, Adam Kent, Jack O’Connell, Ben O’Donovan and Dara O’Connell. With the introduction of effective subs, Belgooly struggled to maintain competitive as the winners poured on the points per Kent, Jack O’Connell (2), Dara O’Connell and sub Adam O’Connor.
Belgooly’s efforts, especially in the last ten minutes, were thwarted in the scoring zone by a no-nonsense Crosshaven rearguard. As a result Belgooly could not resume that scoring surge which they enjoyed before the break.
Following the game Pat Desmond, chairman of South East Board, presented the trophy to the Crosshaven captain Adam Kent. He also was named the man-of-the-match and was presented with that award sponsored by Declan O’Neill Furniture & Carpentry.
Crosshaven: J Meade 1-0, J O’Connell 0-3, A Kent, B Donovan, D O’Connell 0-2 each, G O’Callaghan, A O’Connor 0-1 each.
Belgooly: T Donovan 1-1, L Walsh 0-3, (1f), R Reynolds 0-1.
Crosshaven: Jay Kelly, Anthony Sheahan, Evan Lynch, Dara O’Connell, Ben O’Brien, Darragh Cogan, Ben Donovan, Adam Kent, Finbarr Williams, Jack O’Connell, Greg O’Callaghan, Jordan Meade, Brian Curran.
Subs: Tony Doran for G O’Callaghan (injured), Cian Long for F Williams, Adam O’Connor for B Curran.
Belgooly: Evan O’Riordan, Diarmuid Walsh, Conor Horan, Chris O’Sullivan, Liam Walsh, Joe O’Sullivan, Tom O’Donovan, Ryan Long, Fionn O’Dwyer, Cian Tobin, Rhys Reynolds, Jack O’Callaghan, Gearóid O’Riordan.
Sub: Patrick Kelleher for C Tobin.
Referee: Fionn Ó Murchú (Valley Rovers).