Suncroft U13 lads put in a very strong performance against Athy in the South Board Division 1 Final but unfortunately Athy were just too strong, fast and mobile on the day. The Croft put in a huge effort early on and kept the Athy score tally low but unfortunately two of their early scores were goals whereas the Croft could not break through on goal had had to be satisfied with points. Athy were well on top in the first ten minutes, the Croft had the better of the second ten and were unlucky on goal a few times. Unfortunately in the last ten minutes of the first half Athy got in for a third goal and a point to stretch their lead at half time to 3:03 to 0:03.
The last few times the Croft played Athy at this age the Corft had the better of the second half but not today. Athy won the ball from the throw in and got a point on the board straight away and quickly followed up with a goal. The situation would have been much worse only for some great clearances from the Crofts goal keeper Tadgh Delaney who was very busy throughout the game. The Croft reorganised, tried a number of different tactics, emptied the subs bench, but Athy had too much size, speed and power all over the field and on the bench. With the Croft out on their feet from the big effort put in in the first three quarters Athy pushed on to put up a big score in the last quarter of the game and finished deserving winners with a score of 7:11 to the Crofts 1:03.
While it was disappointing to loose the final the Croft lads can take great heart from their performance on the day and in the competition. Athy got them in the final but on the way they had overcome some of the big Division 1 clubs in the county like Sarsfields, Moorefield and Rathangan and in the South Board across the 4 divisions there were some 23 Clubs playing. The Croft definitely displayed the the better football skills in the final and had made the transition from the smaller pitch used at U12 level to the full size pitch with any problems or set backs. They used the full width of the field, great passing movements involving lost of players, scores and passed off both feet and great off the ball support running and running into space.
The Croft were missing a few of their U13's for the game which would have been a bit of a help in the size and strength areas (The way they played Athy would still have come out on top on the day) but with regards to skill and speed the seven U12 lads that played for the Croft stepped up to the mark and were fantastic (Sean Brown, John Collins, Gavin Snell-Fox, Tom Dillon, Ryan Behan-O'Shea, Liam Conway (goal scorer) and Colin Clarke). They worked extremely hard, stood into lads a foot or more taller, tackled hard and stood up to hard tackling.
The all County U13 league starts at the end of August and there is a lot to look forward to in that competition, and over the coming years, from this bunch of lads and their team mates (Leo Brannock, Senan Brannock, Sean Stynes & Adam Caine) who couldn't be there for the final.