Kildare U16 A Championship Final, A Step Too Far, This Time, For Battling Croft Team
Suncroft V Clane
15 September 2019. Throw in 11:45am.
Over the last couple of years there had been little between these two teams and they are always good games. They met in November 2018 in the U15 championship and Suncroft won by a couple of points, they met in the league in April this year and Clane came out well on top of a depleted Suncroft panel, and they met earlier in the Championship and Suncroft came out on top by a point.
The Croft’s panel is not the biggest but any time Suncroft met Clane with near a full panel of players there was no more than a point or two in it. Unfortunately, the Naas semi-final game had taken a high injury toll on Suncroft's small panel and they were down their goalkeeper Tadgh Delaney, full back John Collins and corner back Leo Brannock after that game and Cian Mahar, another corner back, was just back to training after an injury. Against a very strong Clane front six, four county forwards, Suncroft were going to have their work cut out.
Ref, Jack O’Connor got the game underway on time at 11:45, Clane won the ball and from there got the first point of the game. Suncroft got back up the field but unfortunately the ball went wide. Clane were straight back down with a few direct kick passes and an awkward challenge resulted in a Clane penalty which they converted just on three minutes. A bit of disaster of a start for Suncroft but these lads are made of stern stuff and there would be no question of heads dropping or lads going hiding. Suncroft got the next two scores Senan Brannock from a free and Sam Prendergast from play. For the free Ryan Behan was taken out of it with a clothes line tackle that MMA’s Connor McGreggor would have been proud of. When the referee just gave the free without even a hint of card to the Clane defender it set the tone of what way the game was going to be officiated. Eight minutes in Suncroft 0:02(2), Clane 1:01(4).
Clane scored the next free and then put a superb move together and shook the Crofts net. The Suncroft lads dug deep and for the rest of the half were on top outscoring Clane by six points to two. Ryan Behan a point from play Senan Brannock from play, two more from Ryan from frees and one from Diarmuid Enright from play.
First half: Suncroft 0:07(7), Clane 2:04(10).
Suncroft were slow off the mark and it took a while for their new back seven to gel together and settle into the game. Suncroft’s Sam Prendergast and Conn Kehoe were on top in the middle throught the game but to deal with the injuries Jamie McGowan had gone back into goal, Mikey Troy back into corner back and Jason Kelly back to full back and these strong lads were seriously missed further up the field driving forward. Anytime Suncroft were getting in towards the Clane goal they were fouled.
All that said, disastrous first few minutes and all, at only three points down at half time Suncroft were well in the game and happy enough.
The second half had the same start as the first with Clane getting in for a point, a goal and a second point before Suncroft got going again. Two good points from Kevin Crowley fifteen minutes in gave them a bit of a lift.
Suncroft had battled really hard to get back in the first half and again in the early part of the second but the effort had taken its toll and some of the lads were out on their feet. Clane started to unload their bench and with the freshness added another six points to push well clear before the full time whistle. Final score Suncroft 0:09(9) Clane 3:12(21).
A superb performance and well deserved win from a strong Clane team and, with four county forwards, a devastating performance up front. The newly formed Suncroft back seven did a brilliant job against the best in the county. Jamie McGown who went into goal for the injured Tadgh Delany had a superb game and pulled off some great saves. Sean Brown, the only one of the back three playing in his actual position, had a stormer of a game as did Mikey Troy who stepped back into the other corner for Leo Brannock and Jason Kelly who stepped back to full for Johnny Collins. Ben Sinnott was strong as always on the wing, Conaill Brinkley covered the centre well, and Conor Martin made some great runs from the back throughout the game. In the Middle Sam and Conn were on top for most of the game and both picked some great balls out of the sky for a number of marks. In the half forwards Kevin Crowley picked off a couple of lovely points in the second half to keep Suncroft in it, Kieran Kelly was strong out around the centre as was Senan Brannock with some good scores. Up front Diarmuid Enright got a great point in the first half and was always available, despite been fouled constantly on and off the ball. Ryan Behan was manhandled throught out but still picked off a few nice scores and Adam Hynes must have covered the pitch at least a dozen times. The Clane backs brought a high level of physicality to the game and Suncroft couldn’t get a free in the second half if their lives depended on it. Alex King, Ethan Duignan, Cian Mahar and Gavin Snell Fox all came for Suncroft in the second half and made and a good impact but the scoring gap was too wide.
Super performance from a strong Clane panel with some fantastic movement and strength. A performance the Suncroft parish can be proud of, a great achievement to get to the final, a pity about the injuries and a lot to look forward to in Suncroft.
Panel: Jamie McGowan, Mikey Troy, Jason Lee Kelly, Sean Browne, Ben Sinnott, Conaill Brinkley, Conor Martin, Sam Prendergast(0:01), Conn Kehoe(C), Kevin Crowley(0:02), Senan Brannock(0:02/1f), Kieran Kelly, Adam Hynes, Ryan Behan(0:03/3f), Diarmuid Enright(0:01).
Substitutes: Alex King, Ethan Duignan, Cian Mahar, Gavin Fox.
Injured: Tadgh Delaney, Leo Brannock, Johnny Collins.
Management: Derry Enright, Andy Hynes, Declan Duignan.
Panel: Adam Farrell, Luke Kelly, Stephen Brereton, Sean Malone, Ryan O'Connell, Padraig, O'Doherty, Harry O'Neill(C),
Sean Sheridan, Jake Burke, Darren Ward, Hugh Prendergast, Daire O'Doherty, Izac Jamirah, Adam Fanning, Jamie Merriman, Rossa Hallissy, Tom Malone, Oisin Tighe, Dean Comiskey, Oisin O'Sullivan, Marc Gibbons, Ethan Farrell, Sean Tighe.
Management: Ger Fanning, John O'Doherty, Tony Tighe, John Ball.