CARRAIG DENY ST.JAMES AT THE DEATH IN THRILLER
CARRAIG DENY ST.JAMES AT THE DEATH IN THRILLER
COUNTY U 16 C (12 A SIDE ) FOOTBALL FINAL
BRINNY SAT OCT 20TH 2012
CARRAIGNABHFEAR 2 - 8 ST.JAMES 1 - 9
Beautifully presented Brinny witnessed a game to savour on Sat. last when CarraignabhFear & St. James ( Ardfield ) produced a tremendous game of football to decide the destiny of the County U 16 12 a side Football Title for 2012.
Carraig playing against a stiff breeze opened the better with an early point from wing back Brendan Murphy. Ardfield then settled into the game & over the next 15 mins raced into a 1 – 3 to 0-1 lead, the goal coming from pacy & dangerous half forward Kevin wearing No 10. Carraig re arranged their defence with Ryan Galvin putting the shackles on No 11 & team captain Cathal Cronin having a great battle with No 10 before eventually winning that individual duel when his opponent was substituted late in the second half. Carraig then stormed back into the game with some inspirational play from wing back Aaron O’Donoghue who started & played all through with an ankle injury. Good Carraig play led to Adam O’Sullivan being put through but he was fouled with the concession of a penalty. The normally lethal left footer had his shot superbly saved by the St. James keeper when he dived low to his left & held onto the ball as well. Despite this setback Carraig finished the half the stronger with great points from Aaron O’Donoghue, Oisin Crowley, Conor O’Brien & O’Sullivan to leave just 4 points between the sides at the break 1 – 7 to 0 - 6. This gap would have been 7 points only for the fact that Brendan Murphy, now operating at corner back & goalkeeper Conor Hayes combined superbly with Hayes racing off the goal line to deny St. James a certain goal just on the stroke of half time. This was a game changing moment as a 7 point deficit would have left Carraig with too steep a mountain to climb.
The second half was fought out with great intensity & commitment with neither side giving an inch. Scores were hard to come by but this only added to the tension. Carraig now aided by the breeze dominated possession at times but were unable to find a way through a tight marking & physically imposing St. James backline. Carraigs half forward line of Darragh Cronin, Oisin Crowley & Paul Sheehan worked tirelessly all through . Michael Ahern more than held his own at midfield against a physically superior opponent. Centre back Diarmuid Murphy began to power forward at every opportunity & eventually Carraig got the breakthrough that they & the game needed when corner forward Conor O’Brien latched onto to a breaking ball & finished to the net from close range with a powerful shot. St. James responded with their first score of the half with a point from a close in free to stretch their lead to 2 again. Adam O’Sullivan narrowed the gap to 1 again with a point from play. St. James held their nerve & worked the ball upfield to earn a close in free from a very disciplined Carraig defence. They pointed for their final score and a lead of 2 points. With 5 mins to go Carraig gambled by switching Ryan Galvin from defence to midfield in a direct swap with Michael Ahern. The gamble paid off as the tremendously pacy & athletic Galvin began to dominate immediately & he bore down on the St. James goal & blazed over with a powerful shot to narrow the gap to the minimum. The game now entered extra time in a frenzy of excitement. Carraig broke suddenly from midfield & got the ball to Adam O’Sullivan in space 30 yards from goal. He raced goalwards with the St. James supporters whistling for the final whistle. When it looked odds on that the game would go to extra time , the lethal corner forward showed his class & composure by going for the jugular & goaling from close range despite the best efforts of 2 defenders & the goalie. Carraigs fans were delirious. St. James were shocked. Referee P J Murphy from Kilmurry sensibly allowed St. James one more chance to retrieve the situation & they didn’t disappoint as they worked the ball upfield & with tension at breaking point outstanding goalie Conor Hayes denied St. James by saving a powerful shot from close range in a crowded goal mouth . The ball rebounded to safety & as the final whistle blew Carraig celebrated joyously with their supporters, as much in relief as pleasure.
St. James were very gracious in defeat. The referee contributed hugely to the enjoyment by letting the game flow & yet remaining firmly in control at all times. In truth this was an easy game to referee between 2 sides intent on playing football. Carraigs victory was down to a tremendous disciplined team display with a never say die attitude. All 12 who played can feel justifiably proud of their individual efforts. Sean Fitzgerald didn’t get to play on this occasion but he has contributed handsomely this year in Carraigs march to the County Title. David Sweeney too who was ill yesterday has shown great form all year.
This was the kind of game where one would spend good money to see these 2 sides have another crack off each other. It was a tremendous advert for Gaelic Football , especially the 12 a side version & for Rebel Og activities in Cork.