SFC: Na Fianna goals down 'Cilles'

April 08, 2019

St. Colmcilles Tomas O Hoistin with Ethan Devine Na Fianna during the SFC clash at Trim.

Na Fianna 3-09    St. Colmcille 0-14 

St. Colmcilles started brightly and were rewarded by scoring the first three points of the game in the opening six minutes. Na Fianna?s first attempt on goal came after seven minutes when they were awarded a free, However, Shane Walsh's effort was caught by the strong wind and tailed wide of the upright. It took only a minute for Shane Walsh to make amends when he collected a pass from Michael Collin's and swept the ball over the crossbar. Shane Walsh was again on target less than a minute later when he again pointed. Na Fianna leveled the score within minutes when Se?n Rafferty intercepted a pass and offloaded to Ethan Devine who slotted over.

The strong wind was affecting both sides as both had opportunities to score but saw their efforts trail wide of the upright. Both teams were competing for every ball and the referee was having to keep a tight control on the robust challenges. Shane Walsh converted a free for Na Fianna following persistent fouling by the St. Colmcille?s defence.

The last 5 minutes of the half saw action at both ends firstly with Shane Walsh winning a mark and then after good interplay with Ethan Devine saw Shane score Na Fianna's  5th point. St. Colmcilles immediately launched an attack and scored from a free at the other end for their 4th point. St. Colmcilles were finishing the half strongly and seemed to have most of the ball but it was the 29th minute before they scored again to level match. However in the final moments of the half with Shane Walsh playing out the field won the ball and was fouled. Shane coolly pointed the free.

Half Time score: Na Fianne 0-06 to St. Colmcilles 0-05

St. Colmcilles won the ball at the restart but a quick interception by Johnny Baldwin stopped their attack and gave Na Fianna the opportunity to attack. St. Colmcilles fouled to stop the attack and Shane Walsh took the free against a strong wind and as the ball dropped short Harrison Silke rose to score Na Fianna 1st goal. 

St. Colmcilles replied almost immediately with their 1st point of the second half in the 3rd minute of the half.

Pressure was again on the Na Fianna defenders but they stood strong and sent the ball back to their forward line to create a goal chance which was saved before the ball came back down. St. Colmcilles won the kick out and with a fast attack scored a point to bring the difference to two points. 

Ethan Devine won the next kickout, moved the ball forward to Jamie Queeney who was then fouled. Shane Walsh scored the resulting free six minutes into the half. The next few minutes saw each team miss opportunities due to the wind. In the tenth minute of the half excellent fielding by Ethan Devine and a consequent strong drive forward at the defence saw him release an early ball to Jamie Queeney who was in space and he immediately attacked the St. Colmcilles goal to score Na Fianna?s second goal. Na Fianna seemed to have the upper hand at this point when Conor Downey added a point to give Na Fianna a 2-8 to 7 point lead.

However St. Colmcilles weren't giving up and continued to press and scored the following two points to narrow the lead. Na Fianna were reduced to fourteen players in the 16th minute of the half when James Geagan was given a second yellow. St.Colmcilles scored from the resulting free and brought the gap to four points. Another point to St.Colmcilles brought the gap even closer with only 10 minutes remaining.

Na Fianna continued to pressurise the opposition with interceptions by Owen McDonnell and good interplay with Shane Walsh saw the latter drive his shot wide. This was quickly followed by a missed goal opportunity from substitute Luke Kelly who saw his goal bound shot blocked by the St. Colmcilles goalkeeper. 

In the 26th minute of the half St. Colmcilles pointed to narrow the Na Fianna lead to just two points. But, again some great defending by Na Fianna including a great high interception by Sean Rafferty prevented St. Colmcilles getting any closer.

Na Fianna were forced into a late substitution when Jamie Queeney was forced to leave the pitch due to injury. His replacement Dan Queeney was immediately involved in the action and extended Na Fianna's advantage with a terrific point from the narrowest of angles. This was Na Fianna's first score in over ten minutes of play. St. Colmcilles tried to push for a goal but a fine save by Shane Geraghty prevented it. Na Fianna didn?t clear the ball far and St Colmcilles got a point. St Colmcilles won the resulting kick-out and scored another point in the 30th minute.

The gap was now only a point. But Ethan Devine won the mark at the restart and some fine play from Owen McDonnell resulted in a Daniel Queeney goal attempt being saved by the St. Colmcilles goalkeeper at the expense of a 45 meter free. Ethan Devine kicked this 45 against a strong wind and it dropped short where a high hand by Owen McDonnell pushed the ball into the net for Na Fianna's 3rd goal and the final score of the game. A great start to Na Fianna to the Championship.

Na Fianna scorers: Shane Walsh 0-6, Jamie Queeney, Harrison Silk and Owen McDonnell 1-0 each, Ethan Devine, Conor Downey and Dan Queeney 0-1

Na Fianna: 1. Shane Geraghty, 2. Johnny Baldwin, 21. Sean Raftery, 4. Oisin Mc Closkey, 5. Oran Smullen, 6. Anthony Neary, 28. Peter Slevin, 11. Owen McDonnell, 9. Michael Collins, 10. Ethan Devine, 12. Jamie Queeney, 13. Connor Downey, 14. James Geagan, 15. Shane Walsh, 17. Harrison Silke. Subs Used: Luke Kelly for Harrison Silke (50 Min) and Dan Queeney (55 Min) for Jamie Queeney

St. Colmcilles Report

This first round game of the Championship was played at a dry and cold but windy Trim venue before a modest crowd. The outcome was decided by two fortuitous goals that edged it in favor of Na Fianna.

Na Fianna 3-9 St. Colmcilles 0-14

The Cilles played into a strong first breeze coming from the swimming pool end for the first half. In spite of this, they went into a three point lead with the first coming straight from a move up the left from the throw in that Shane Crilly put over the bar. This was followed by a trademark point from Graham Reilly and a free from Ben Brennan in the first five minutes. Na Fianna responded with three points from play to leave it all square after twelve minutes. With both sides trying to adjust to the conditions there were a number of wides by both sides before Na Fianna edged in front by two points by the twenty second minute. A slick Cilles move, led again by Shane Crilly, resulted in a Cilles free converted by Ben. A James Conlon point after twenty six minutes had the sides level again before Na Fianna completed the first half scoring with a pointed free. The half time score of St.Colmcilles 0-05: Na Fianna 0-06 left a winning championship start a reality for both sides.

The start of the second half could not have started better for Na Fianna when a free taken from the 45 meter line into the wind dropped short only to be fisted to the net by an attacker. The Cilles responded immediately with another point from Graham and it was clear at that stage that the game would go the wire. A fantastic save from Andrew Beakey resulted in a point for Ben to leave two points between the teams. Na Fianna then went on a scoring spree and added a goal and two points to their total to lead by double scores with another effort rebounding off the bar. The Cilles introduced Stephen Breen for Eoin Woods during this period after eight minutes of the second half.

Further changes by the Cilles saw Ciaran Kelly introduced for Davy O’Byrne and Ciaran Ward for Jeff Kavanagh with seventeen minutes to go. Their impact was immediate with points from James Conlon and Graham eating into the Na Fianna lead. A second yellow card resulted in Na Fianna being reduced to fourteen men. Three unanswered
points from Ciaran Kelly reduced the deficit to two points with approximately five minutes remaining. The Cilles had all the momentum at that stage and a Na Fianna point put three between the sides again. Some wayward shooting by the Cilles saw decent Cilles chances going astray. Two further points from Ciaran and Ben left only a point in it as the game entered injury time.

With all eyes on the referee, a Na Fianna attack saw another five save from Andrew Beakey in the Cilles goal at the expense of a 45. The 45 was again falling short and for the second time a Na Fianna fist got to the ball first and it ended in the Cilles net. Heartbreak for the Cilles players and supporters as time was almost up. Nevertheless they carried the ball upfield but were unable to bridge the four point gap with the referee blowing up the game with the final score of St. Colmcilles 0-14: Na Fianna 3-09.

The game showed the importance of goals with Na Fianna taking their goal chances and the Cilles unable to convert theirs. It was a good competitive game played in a good spirit. While the honours went to Na Fianna this time, there was plenty of positives for the Cilles lads. Next Championship outing for this team is on Thursday week again Simonstown in Ashbourne.

Scorers for St. Colmcilles: Ben Brennan 0-04 (2 f); Ciaran Kelly 0-04 (1 f); Graham Reilly 0-03; James Conlon 0-02; Shane Crilly 0-01.

St. Colmcilles: Andrew Beakey; Adam Lynch; Jeff Kavanagh; Kavanagh; Cathal Hilliard; Danny McMahon; Thomas OhOistin; Carl Mullen; Ben Brennan; Rory O’Grady; Shane Crilly; Jack Reynolds; Eoin Woods; James Conlon; Davy O’Byrne; Graham Reilly. Subs: Stephen Breen for Woods (38); Ciaran Ward for Kavanagh and Ciaran Kelly for O’Byrne (43).

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