Exciting Under 13 Clash

Whitehall Colmcilles 3.09 Kilmacud Crokes 2.10

The much deferred second/third place U13 Division One play-off between Crokes and Whitehall finally took place on a cold but dry Saturday 5th December 2009. Despite the time of year, it was a match worth waiting for and both teams served up an exciting and tense encounter. Crokes opened the scoring when Adam O'Neill raced out to meet a low delivery and with a good turn he struck over a fine opening point. Shortly afterwards, Shane Veale pointed a free from 25 metres and Crokes held a 2 point lead. Crokes were then punished with two long range frees from the Whitehall number eight. It was a precursor to what turned out to be a fascinating battle between the two number 8's who between them struck over a total of 8 long range frees. On the 10th minute, the Whitehall full forward struck for the opening goal of the game and Whitehall led by 1.02 to 0.02. Another indiscretion by Crokes around midfield led to yet another long range point for Whitehall. Crokes were under some pressure at this point, but Cian O'Connor won a breaking ball around the half forward line and struck a good delivery. Corner forward, Ronan Kennedy caught the incoming sliotar and with a neat feint, he struck a great left handed shot to the corner of the net. Sean Keating then showed his long range free taking prowess when he struck a point from midfield. The two 8's were having a real battle around midfield and when Keating struck a long ball into the goal area, Adam O'Neill did good work in challenging the Whitehall keeper. Following his hard work, the ball broke to Ronan Kennedy who struck a good ground shot to the net from 8 metres for his second goal. 2.03 to 1.03 in Crokes favour after twenty minutes and it was nip and tuck until half time. Both number eights struck a point from play and both scored an additional 2 points from frees. Half-time arrived and the match was tightly balanced with Crokes holding a 3 point lead on a scoreline of 2.06 to 1.06.

Crokes were slow out of the blocks and under immediate pressure on the resumption. Following another long range free into the Crokes parallelogram, the Whitehall number 14 who was now operating at centre forward, won the breaking ball and notched his 2nd of the game. Whitehall were now dominating and added another minor from play before a long ball found it's way to the back of the Crokes net. 10 minutes into the second half and Whitehall had turned a 3 point deficit into a 3 point lead. Crokes were struggling to get any ball into their full forward line and only a resolute back six ensured Crokes remained in contention. Following the concession of the 3rd goal, Crokes were fortunate not to fall further behind and coming up to the 50th minute were 5 points in arrears and heads were beginning to drop. Up stepped Sean Keating with a magnificent point from play from all of 70 metres and this lifted the whole team. The fightback ensued and two more frees from Keating narrowed the gap to 2 points. With Crokes still pressing, alas the final whistle blew and two good teams had served up an excellent game with Whitehall winning on a scoreline of 3.09 to 2,10. The long range free taking from both sides was of an exceptional standard but ultimately it was the concession of such frees that cost Crokes dearly over the hour.

The back six performed manfully throughout and were under a lot of pressure for much of the game. Cillian O'Shea in the corner and half back Francis O'Reilly showed best and their determination to get first to every ball was admirable. Midfielder Sean Keating had a great battle against his opposite number from play as well as placed balls. Up front Cian O'Connor and Des Dagg battled hard and both corner forwards did well.

Scorers: Sean Keating 0.07 (f-0.05); Ronan Kennedy (2.0); Shane Veale (0.02 f); Adam O'Neill (0.01) Team: T. Murphy, D. Coakley, R. Murphy, C. O'Shea, F. O'Reilly, E. Allen, P. Herlihy, M. McCallion, S. Keating, C. O'Connor, D. Dagg, B. Sultan, R. Kennedy, S. Veale, A. O'Neill