Suncroft GFC Win U16 Championship

Suncroft GFC overcame Cill Dara South in U16 Championship D Final

Venue: Hawkfield Date: 8th Sept 2017 Time: 18:45 Referee: Alan Archibold

The teams had met earlier in the championship but with summer holidays and injuries neither team was near full strength and everyone knew the final would be a very different game. Cill Dara South were at full strength, Suncroft were only down one player but it was Dean Hanlon who had put in some man of the match performance over the competition and would be missed in the middle of the field. There were a lot of black clouds about but fortunately it stayed dry for the game and there was only small breeze.

Suncroft went forward on the attack, against the breeze, from the throw in, got into a good position but kicked wide. The Croft quickly got into a scoring position again but again didn’t convert. It was the fourth minute before the scoring was opened with a well taken Cill Dara South point. Cill Dara South put three more on the scoreboard before Jack Lawless kicked Suncrofts first in the eight minute, Suncroft 0:01(1), Cill Dara 0:04(4). After a slow start Suncroft were back in the game and over the next twelve minutes scored three more points (two from Diarmuid Brannock and one form Tom Martin), to draw even at four points each in the twentieth minute. Suncroft were in on goal a few times and could have been well on top but some loose play, good pressure by the Cill Dara South backs, and great goalkeeping by Kevin Eustace kept them from netting. Cill Dara South got a run on the Croft for the last six or seven minutes of the first half and put two points, a goal, and a point on the score board before Suncroft’s Jack Lawless pointed just before the half time whistle.

Half time, Suncroft 0:05(5), Cill Dara South 1:07(10).

Suncroft were on top from the start of the second half but it was Cill Dara who got a goal in the fourth minute. Suncroft lost control of the ball while closing in on the Cill Dara South goal and with a load of Suncroft players committed to attack Cill Dara South exploited the space at the back with a quick break and got their second goal to take an eight-point lead. Despite the setback, against the run of play, Suncroft remained in control for the rest of the second half, smothered the Cill Dara South attack. Logan O’Rourke Doran broke through in the seventh minute of the half and scored a great point for Suncroft to get the comeback on the scoreboard started. Over the next fifteen minutes Suncroft scored five unanswered points to bring the lead back to two points (four from Diarmuid Brannock and one from Tom Martin), Suncroft 0:11(11), Cill Dara 2:07(13).

With five minutes to go Suncroft put a dangerous ball across the Cill Dara South goal which Diarmuid Brannock put in the net on his second attempt. His first effort at batting it in was blocked but, fortunately for Suncroft, he got the rebound and scored to give Suncroft the lead. Suncroft 1:11(14), Cill Dara South 2:07(13). Cill Dara worked the ball up the field from the kick out and scored a well worked point to draw the game. Suncroft got back on the attack, missed the first opportunity to take back the lead, but Diarmuid Brannock got on the ball again with a minute or so to go and got the last, and winning point for Suncroft. Tadgh Delaney in the Croft goal had a lot of work to do in the second half and pulled of a couple of great saves. At the other end Suncroft were in on goal at least five or six times but, as per the first half, some loose play, pressure from the Cill Dara South backs and the goalkeeper kept them to the single goal.

Final score Suncroft 1:12(15), Cill Dara South 2:08(14).

Diarmuid Brannock at full forward got 1:07(10) for Suncroft with a super, accurate shooting, performance. A couple of lads stood out a bit but overall there were no outstanding stars for Suncroft, just a panel of players that all worked their socks off for the team and each other. Even when things went against them and they went eight points down the kept working, the odd expletive, but always support and encouragement.

Tadgh had a great game in the goals, great saves and accurate clearances all day. On the back line Captain Dylan Tyrell led by example at corner back, Ciaran Downey was solid at full back and accurate with his kick outs. In the other corner Sam McGuirk was solid in defence and made some great runs up the field. Hugh Doyle, Sam Murphy and Adam Sweeney were robust in the half back line. Sam had a great game and was involved in nearly every move in the game, always in support and available for the pass. Adam Sweeney showed off his pace and skill, won some great ball at pace and defended strongly. Hugh Doyle was well into his stride when he picked up an injury after six or seven minutes and when he couldn’t run it off was replaced by Conn Kehoe. Conn went on to have a great game, defended well, fielded some great balls, and passed and carried into the attack. Jack Lawless covered a lot of ground around the middle, fielded some good balls and got on the score board a couple of times. Jacks midfield partner, Cillian Hanley, had a great game, contributed to numerous plays as well as marking his man out of the game. Cillian was replaced by Ben Sinnott in the latter part of the game and Ben took over from Cillian perfectly, kept his man out of the game and made good contributions to a number of Suncroft plays. Jack Rock ran his socks off in the first half and when fresh legs were needed was replaced by Senan Brannock early in the second half. After coming on Senan was involved in nearly every Croft attack, set up some great high speed running moves from the half back position and accurate passes to the player in a scoring positions. Jack Dillon was on the end of many Suncroft moves, covered a lot of ground and was unlucky not to score a number of times. As the second half progressed Sam Prendergast came on for Jack and with the freshness immediately made an impact. Sam won some dirty balls that he had no right to win and turned defence into attack a number of times with hard work. Tom Martin put in a classy performance, in the defence when help was needed, making and taking the passes in the middle and on the score board a couple of times up front. Logan O’Rourke Doran took on the Cill Dara South back line at pace multiple times, drew the defender, scored a great point, created space for the other forwards and was unlucky not to have gotten a couple of penalties and a couple of goals. Dylan King wearing fifteen spent most of the game playing the sweeper role in the backs. He intercepted many passes, defended strongly and was always available stop the Cill Dara South attack and to take the pass.

Winning is great but what was even more pleasing, and will stand to the lads into the future, was the way they didn’t drop their heads or turn on each other when things were going badly against them. The could easily have dropped the heads when they were five down at half time, against the run of play. The quick goal for Cill Dara South at the beginning of the second half to go eight down would have sunk most teams but these lads showed character, dug deep, worked hard as a team, supported and encouraged each other, and got a deserved win. Great credit to the work done by the management team over the season.

Panel: Tadgh Delaney, Dylan Tyrell (C), Ciaran Downey, Sam McGuirk, Hugh Doyle, Sam Murphy, Adam Sweeney, Jack Lawless(0:02), Killian Hanley, Jack Rock, Jack Dillon, Tom Martin(0:02), Logan O’Rourke Doran(0:01), Diarmuid Brannock(1:07), Dylan King, Conn Kehoe, Leo Brannock, Alex King, Gavin James, Senan Brannock, Sam Prendergast, Conaill Brinkley, Ben Sinnott, Jack McDermott, Craig Dunne, Dean Hanlon, Ben Gaughan.

Mentors: Dennis King, Kevin Brannock, Jack Setright.