Kildangan triumph in League Final
August 25, 2008
Tom Cross League Division 5
It took twenty minutes of extra time to separate the protagonists in this trilling culmination of the Tom Cross league in Athy Wednesday night.
Suncroft started the brightest, with a point from Anthony Toft on the three minute mark. From the start Suncrofts half forwards were creating major problems for Kildangan who seemed to be suffering from a dose of stage fright. Time and again Suncrofts forwards won ball in front of their marker, turned and blazed wide.
Kildangan finally opened their account on 7 minutes, with a point from Stephen Quigley-at this stage Suncroft had three points to their name, two scored by half back Aaron Gaughan.
Midway through the half, Kildangan started to come more into the game, points by Stephen Quigley and Tom Foxe bringing them level.
With 10 minutes to the break, Kildangan suffered a blow when full-back Declan McGrath retired with a knee injury, following a clash with Suncroft full forward Christy Brennan. Suncroft added two more points to leave it 5 points to 3 at half time.
On the turn-around Kildangan started with purpose, Stephen Quigley getting a point within two minutes. Liam McCormack added another minutes later, and the sides were again level. Suncrofts midfield dominance had faded somewhat, caused mainly by Kildangan switching Tom Moran from full forward to the centre. Partnered by Pauric Casey, Moran's height and strength made it a far more even contest. Kildangan's backs also made up for their first half lethargy by playing like men possessed. Time and again Suncroft worked the ball up the field only to be denied by ferocious Kildangan defending, corner back David Lawlor leading by example.
Twenty minutes in, Suncroft got their first score of the second half, a point by wing forward Danny Whelan. Kildangan at this stage were leading by three, Quigley having added two more points, Pauric Casey one. Then a harmless looking ball was sent in by Suncroft, which looked to be heading for the corner flag on the right. Sunroft corner forward Martin Stafford showed great speed in beating the ball to the line. Stafford floated a beauty of a pass to Gary McNally, lurking on the edge of the Kildangan square. McNally rounded a couple of Kildangan defenders before driving the ball low and hard past Kildangan keeper John Nealon to put Suncroft in front by a point, with six minutes left.
It was edge of the seat stuff, no quarter being given or asked by either team. With minutes remaining Kildangan won a free, 45 metres out near the sideline. From a difficult angle, Stephen Quigley floated the ball over the bar to send the game to extra time.
The first period of extra time was marked by an absence of scoring, neither team prepared to concede the advantage. Both sets of backs were dominant, tackling with ferocity more akin to a championship final. Kildangan looked the fitter, however, they were unable to register a score, sending several balls wide. Suncroft in this period lobbed a number of high balls into the Kildangan goalmouth-keeper Nealon dealt with them expertly.
The game entered the last period with the sides still deadlocked and both teams tiring. Under pressure, Kildangan midfielder Pauric Casey won a high ball on the edge of the Kildangan D, soloed the length of the field and popped the ball over the bar to put Kildangan one ahead. Minutes later Casey tried the same trick, this time Suncroft were ready for him, blocking the ball at the expense of a 45. From the free kick, centre back Colin Christie, floated the ball into the Suncroft square, where it bounced through a pair of Suncroft hands and over the bar to leave Kildangan two points ahead and time almost up.
Suncroft were behind, but they weren't beaten. They claimed the ball from the kick out, and launched a high one into the Kildangan 21. The ball was fouled by Kildangan, and from the free Suncroft scored to leave a solitary point in it. It was too little, too late. On the kick out, referee Fintan Barrett sounded the final whistle to leave Kildangan champions of Division 5.
This was an action-packed contest, the football played with passion and ferocity. The game wasn't the prettiest, however it was played in a very sporting manner, taking account of the very slippery conditions.
Best for Kildangan was Stephen Quigley, others to stand out were the second half midfield pairing of Pauric Casey and Tom Moran, Rory Jacob and David Lawlor.
Suncrofts best were Aaron Gaughan, Anthony Toft, David Whelan and the midfielders Stephen Quinn and Noel Birchill.
Kildangan; John Nealon, Michael Sexton, Declan McGrath, Eric O'Hara, Richard Morgan, Colin Christie, Tom Foxe, Pauric Casey, Rory Jacob, Liam McCormack, Gabriel Murtagh, Stephen Quigley, John Murray, Tom Moran, Brendan Abbey
Suncroft; Eamonn Tyrell, Niall Corr, Barry Moran, Martin Furlong, Mark Brown, Garry Sinnott, Aaron Gaughan, Stephen Quinn, Noel Birchill, Tom Cleary, Anthony Toft, Gary McNally, Danny Whelan, Christy Brennan, Martin Stafford.
Referee Fintan Barrett
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