The Croft U13 lads and management had eagerly anticipated playing the all county league which kicked off at the end of August. This age group had competed at the top level as they came up through the age levels in the South Board over the year’s area and this would be their first real test at all county level and up against some of the big guns of underage football. Naas, Leixlip, Maynooth, Clane, Celbridge from the North Board and Moorefield and Athy from the South Board.
The first game was against Athy at the end of August. Athy had beaten them in the final of the South Board division 1 league in July and the Croft needed to be at full strength for this one. Unfortunately, were missing a couple of key players and Athy came out well on top of the encounter.
Next up was Celbridge and despite falling well behind in the first half the young Croft lads raised their game in the second half and at the end it was Celbridge that were lucky to get the draw with a last minute point.
They travelled to Maynooth next and played some fantastic football to come out on top by a good margin.
It was neck and neck with Clane for most of their game and while they created more scoring chances they could have been a bit calmer in front of goals, especially in the first half where they put a lot of good chances the wrong side of the post. On another day...
It was a great game against Naas and the Croft put some 17 scores on the board against Naas's 16. Unfortunately, Naas had put more balls under the crossbar than the Croft and came out on top.
Leixlip, who were not going the best in the competition, were unable to field a team despite the Croft offering to accommodate different times and dates.
Last up, and the game for a place in the semi-final, was against Moorefield. Again it was a great game of football, as it always is between these two. At half time Suncroft were 2 points up, playing against the hill and wind. Moorefield came back strong in the second half and they were point for point right up to the end. Suncroft got close to scoring positions a number of times but were pushed, pulled, and hasselled but couldn't get a clean kick away or a free. At the other end Moorefield got the luck on the day and a number of frees and eventually put one over, just before the final whistle, to win by a point. It was just one of those days you get in sport where no luck at all comes your way, even the wind, which favoured Moorefield in the first half, died off for the second half.
Overall this crop of U13 players missed out on a county division 1 semi-final place by a single point. They held their own up against the best in the county and met no team that they couldn't beat on another day. The experience will help bring them on and they can see for themselves that they are up there close to the top, and see the areas where they can get even better. The good news is that there is a full panel of skilful footballers and there is great potential for all the players to learn, improve and develop individually as well as room for the overall team to raise it another level.
Panel: Leo Brannock (2003), Eamonn Keon(2003), Adam Hynes(2003), Sam Prendergast(2003), Conor Martin(2003), Conn Kehoe(2003), Ethan Duignan(2003), Alex King(2003), Michael Troy(2003), Kieran Kelly(2003), Ben Coleman(2003), Diarmuid Enright(2003), Senan Brannock(2003), Tadgh Delaney(2003), Liam Conway(2004), Tom Dillon(2004), Ryan Behan-O’Shea(2004), John Collins(2004), Gavin Snell-Fox(2004), Sean Browne(2004), Sean Stynes(2004) and Colin Clarke(2004).
Unavailable for this league: Adam Keane(2003), Liam Knight(2003), Dylan Wijnands(2003), Darragh Kearney(2003) and Jamie McGowan(2003).
Mentors: Andy Hynes, Derry Enright, Declan Duignan, Mikey Hartness.