These players had won the Division 1 U12 League in 2014 and had high hopes heading into the Division 1 League.
The League kicked off with a drawn game against Castlemitchell on the 8th of July. Suncroft were well on top but went to sleep in the second half and in the end were lucky to get the draw. Suncroft then notched up convincing wins over Rathangan and St. Laurences. Scheduling difficulties resulted in Suncroft having to play three games, against strong Kilcullen, Moorefield and Athy teams, in four days at the end of July. Despite the tight schedule and being short a number of key players (peak holiday season, injuries and illness) the Croft managed to book a semi-final place against St. Laurences.
They lads lost to a Kilcullen outfit that were stronger and better on the day. They then lost by three points to Moorefield in a game that was officiated unusually and that finished oddly. The Croft could only field 13 players and started slow, still tired from the Kilcullen game. They let Moorefield, who also played 13, build a lead by half time. They got their second wind and were well on top as the second half progressed. The deficit was down to three points with around four minutes of normal time left to play. Unfortunately the referee blew the final whistle with three to four minutes of normal time, plus a few minutes of injury time (Moorefield midfielder was down with an ankle injury for quite a while) left to go (must have been something amiss with his watch) and the game was lost by three points.
The following evening the lads had to face into their next game against Athy and the needed to draw the game to qualify for the semi-finals. The disappointment at the manner in which the Moorefield game had concluded the previous evening, and knowing they could have won despite everything if they had played in the first half spurred them on. Hard to know where they got the energy from but they played well from the start and were only a couple of points down at half time. There was an expectation that they would run out of steam at some point but that didn’t happen and it was neck and neck right to the end. The Croft closed the gap in the last few minutes and got the last point of the game to secure the draw and a semi-final place.
Suncroft had beaten St. Laurences earlier in the league but both teams were missing a number of players and the semi-final was going to be a different game. Unfortunately the timing was poor for Suncroft and again the Croft was missing some key players. The game was well balanced but Suncroft let Larries build a bit of a lead in the first half. The lads dug deep in the second half and got back on terms. It was end to end stuff and in the end Larries came out on top by two points (7:07 to 6:08) in a great contest. St. Laurences went on to beat Kilcullen in the final.
Over the seven games of the league twelve different Croft players contributing on the score board as the lads scored 30 goals and 59 points (149) and with a strong defence and a solid goal keeper they conceded 26 goals and 56 points (134).
Under the management and training of Marie Knight, Paddy Guidera and Ciaran Troy the lad’s football skills and play continued to improved over the course of the league and they will be in a very good place heading into the Autumn League and they will have most if not all the players available. The scheduling of the league made fielding a team a challenge but with assistance from some of the younger lads (U11’s) every game was played. The Croft was well represented and was beaten by two points in the semi-final by the league winners.
Panel: Ben Coleman, Sam McGuirk, Kieran Kelly, Ben McInerney, Sam Murphy, Leo Brannock, Conn Kehoe, Conor Martin, Tom Martin, Sean Knight, Michael Troy, Sam Prendergast, Senan Brannock, Gavin Begley, Hugh Doyle, Killian Hanly, Finn Rooney, Adam Sweeney, Robbie Mallon, Jack Rock, Sean Browne, Diarmuid Enright, Adam Hynes, Alex King, Liam Knight, Kurt Conlon, Ethan Duignan, Peter Rennick, Dylan Wijnands, Daragh Kearney, Gavin Snell Fox, Jamie McGowan and Ryan Behan O Shea.