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Friday August 12, 2022
Home Under 21/Minor Minors derby win ensures League Final place

Minors derby win ensures League Final place

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Obviously motivated by their narrow defeat in the 4th round league game in Kilcoon, Summerhill started the brighter and looked hungrier than the home team from the start in this Division 2 minor football league semi-final played in Batterstown on the Bank Holiday Monday May 7th.

Jenkinstown Gaels 0-12 Summerhill 1-7

It was no surprise therefore that they opened the scoring with a good point from play from their midfielder Ciarán Gillespie in the opening minutes. While the visitors continued to press for more scores the Jenkinstown defence held firm. Whatever evaded a hard working half back trio of Mark Foy, Brian Harnan and Shane Whitty, was mopped up by a no-nonsense full back line of Joe Munnelly, Darragh Brannigan and Donnacha Healy.  Mind you the Gaels attack was not getting much change either out of the Summerhill defence so when Jenkinstown full forward Cillian O’Sullivan pointed from a free and from play, in relatively quick succession, it settled the home team and their supporters.

Summerhill responded promptly and Barry Dardis punished Jenkinstown indiscretions by converting two frees to leave the visitors ahead by a point going into the second quarter.  Despite the closeness of the encounter that was surprisingly the last time they led in the game.

From there to half time Summerhill’s defence was being subjected to intermittent as opposed to constant pressure. That was enough however to enable Jenkinstown to add a further 5 points (4 from Cillian O Sullivan, 1 from Padraic Harnan and 1 from Fearghal McCabe), to leave the score 7 points to 3 in favour of the Gaels at the break. 

The story could have been a lot different had corner forward Paul Kelly’s shot not cannoned off the crossbar or had the visitor’s excellent left corner back Eamonn McDonald not effected two timely interventions to prevent certain goals for the home team. A missed penalty after Padraic Harnan had been grounded in the square was balanced out by a lucky escape for Jenkinstown at the Red Road end, when firstly goalie Chris O’Malley, and then a batch of defenders cleared off the line to keep their net intact.  

Half time: Jenkinstown Gaels 0-7 Summerhill 0-3

Summerhill started the second half just as they had the first. They attacked from the off and were in on goal but for a good block by corner back Joe Munnelly who cleared his lines for a 45m. Barry Dardis duly pointed.  Soon after Dardis ratcheted up the pressure further by scoring a free needlessly conceded on the dressing rooms side of the pitch. The margin was now down to 2 points with less than 10 minutes of the second half gone.  While the highly talented Dardis was converting frees he was not exerting the type of influence Summerhill would have liked and full credit has to go to Mark Foy for keeping the visitors star no. 12 in check.   

At midfield Padraic Harnan and Eamonn Walsh were winning their fair share of ball. Summerhill however were flooding that area of the pitch to lessen the influence of Harnan in particular, and very little potentially productive ball was making its way into the Jenkinstown forwards. Indeed the Gaels hard working wing forwards Paddy Connell and Niall Kelly were often busier defending than attacking. However a point from a free by Cillian O’Sullivan after 13 minutes steadied the Jenkinstown ship in a rare foray by the Gaels into enemy territory. 3 points in it. The closeness of the game as opposed to free flowing football was making the game exciting.  It probably should have been no surprise that the game was a tight dogged affair from the fact that this was a derby and that a place in the final against Skyrne or Trim was the prize for winning.

Heading into the last quarter Barry Dardis was at it again with another successful free bringing the margin back to 2 points. That was just before Cillian O’Sullivan scored an inspiring point from play having won possession on the wing half way out the pitch. He cut in and through the visitors defence to fire over from the 21. 9 points to 6. Joey Fox replied with an excellent point for Summerhill from a free far out on the left wing. There were 2 points in it again and while it was fairly clear that Jenkinstown had the winning of the game they just could not shake off the neighbours.  Two more points for the Gaels - one from another free by O’Sullivan and a badly needed one from play by David McLoughlin – seemed to have tipped the tie in Jenkinstown’s favour.  But alas the mood of the home following suddenly took on the colour of the threatening black clouds overhead.  A bad mix up in the home defence set up a goal for Summerhill’s half forward Barry Hatton.  In an instant there was only the minimum between the sides and full time approaching. Try as they might Summerhill could not conjure up that elusive equaliser which would have brought the match to extra time.  The fresh legs of Conor Sheerin and Shaun Deering played their part in keeping the visitors at bay and when Cillian O’Sullivan successfully converted another free deep into time added on, we could relax. Tommy Horton blew the full time whistle, much to the relief of the home team, management and followers.  

The win was a skin fit but, it fitted.

Jenkinstown Gaels: Chris O’Malley, Joe Munnelly, Darragh Brannigan, Donnacha Healy, Mark Foy, Brian Harnan, Shane Whitty, Padraic Harnan 0-1 (f), Eamonn Walsh, Niall Kelly, Fearghal  McCabe (0-1), Paddy Connell, Paul Kelly, Cillian O Sulivan 0-9 (6f), David McLoughlin 0-1. Subs: Conor Sheerin for P. Connell, Shaun Deering for D McLoughlin, Conor Egan, Eoin Mitchell, Mickey Burke, Colin Farrell, Darren McHugh, Eoin Kiernan, Liam Farrell, Michael O’Neill, Philip Carey, Shane McGuinness.

PS: All involved with the team wish to thank the grounds committee and Michael Mullally in particular, for the fact that Batterstown pitch was not alone available to play, but in such excellent condition following a terrible night and morning of rain.

 

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