Skibbereen CS 1-8
St Patrick’s SS 0-6
A VERY successful first year for Skibbereen Community School concluded in Baile Bhúirne with the claiming of a second title in the space of a fortnight.
The Skibb lads, coached by Colman O’Driscoll and Maurice Moore, made history in securing maiden silverware with the Cork U16AFC and that victory was built upon with this victory in the Munster U16âfootball championship. The game was put back a number of weeks to facilitate the Munster minor and U17 football championships, with St Patrick’s SS Castleisland duo Eddie Horan and David Shanahan involved in wins over Cork, but here the narrative was reversed.
The Kerry side started brightly, launching a number of early attacks, but came up against a brilliant defensive unit. With Ronan Collins giving a commanding performance in goal he could rely on an impressively dominant full-back line of Ciarán O’Dwyer, Darren Daly and Michael McCarthy.
While Castleisland got the opener, Elliot Connolly levelled for Skibb. In a hard-fought first half, the Kerry lads looked threatening but got little change from the tenacious Skibbereen defence with Sam Burchill putting in a towering performance at centre-back. What chances did arise were through dead ball situations leaving it up to Connolly and Horan to duel it out in the free-taking department.
Castleisland led by 0-4 to 0-3 as half-time approached. The Skibb forward line, including Aaron O’Sullivan and Paddy Burke, showed plenty of endeavour but were being frustrated by the Kerry defence despite some great approach work by centre-forward Kevin O’Donovan and Alex Minihane on the wing.
Skibb’s opening score from play came from some brilliant work down the left flank that culminated in a great point by full-forward Gavin Foley to leave it level at the break.
Skibb moved up another gear on the resumption, showing better decision-making in front of goal. Points were exchanged through the free takers, but it was apparent that Skibb were now in the ascendancy, with Jamie Shanahan and Dermot Hegarty on top at midfield.
A Connolly free and one from play by Gavin Foley opened up a two-point lead and the result seemed to be put beyond doubt when the aforementioned Shanahan made a burst into the square and somehow got a fist to the ball ahead of the advancing Kerry goalkeeper, leaving five in it. A brief scare followed when Castleisland seemed to have a scored a goal of their own only for both umpire and referee to immediately signal a free out, the young Kerry forward clearly catching the ball before throwing in to the net.
Skibb made the most of that let-off, with subs Luke Connolly and Andrew Whelton adding energy to the attack as they drove on to secure victory.
Skibbereen CS panel: Ronan Collins, Ciarán O’Dwyer, Darren Daly, Michael McCarthy, Eoghan O’Neill, Sam Burchill, Seán Bohane, Jamie Shanahan, Dermoy Hegarty, Alex Minihane, Kevin O’Donovan, Aaron O’Sullivan, Patrick Burke, Gavin Foley, Elliot Courtney, Rory Courtney, Liam Browne, Luke Connolly, Andrew Whelton, Paul Keane, Dylan Murray, Oisín Lucey, Ciarán Connolly, Iarlaith Hurley, Finbarr Harte, Denis O’Driscoll, Oran Collins, Michael Sheehy, Jonathan Benn, PJ O’Donovan, Muríos Waugh, Adrian O’Driscoll, Conor McCarthy, Patrick O’Brien, Donncha O’Donovan, Conor O’Neill, Daniel Coakley, Tadhg McCarthy.