U-14A's pipped in Semi-final (23rd Sept '06)

Defeat is always bitter. However, when a team fights back from being nine points behind to draw level near the finish and still narrowly lose the match, nothing can describe the disappointment. So it was on Saturday 23rd September when Kilmacud Crokes Under-14’s narrowly lost to Ballyboden St. Enda’s in the semi-final of the Championship.

2006_0923_U14A_Bboden14.jpg An early point from Ballyboden was quickly counteracted by a pointed Mark O’Dwyer free. As the game settled down, Ballyboden scored a second point before a defensive lapse by Crokes allowed Ballyboden in for the first goal of the match after eight minutes. Immediately afterwards, Jude Sweeney reduced the deficit to the minimum, when he cut in from the right to score an inspirational goal. A further exchange of frees was followed by a second Ballyboden goal to leave the score 2-3 to 1-2 after 19 minutes. During the next few minutes, Ballyboden enjoyed their best period as they scored a further 1-2 without reply. That is, until Jude ripped the net just before half-time with a second Croke’s goal to leave the interval score 3-5 to 2-2 in favour of Ballyboden. During the first half, Niall Murphy was in excellent form on the full-back line. Also prominent in defence were Gary Melican and Louis Whelan. Although the two mid-fielders, Fiachra Lynn and Dillon Mulligan, did many good things during the first period, their direct opponents were allowed a little too much freedom for comfort. In attack, Crokes always looked threatening during the first half. Besides Jude, Niko Salvino and Mark O’ Dwyer on the full-forward line and Baetan Teague, Tom Clarke and Karl Russell on the half-forward line looked dangerous every time they got possession.

On the resumption, Ballyboden stretched their lead with two early points and things began to look ominous for the Crokes boys. Some determined play by Karl Russell, however, saw him score an excellent point after six minutes. This was followed by a similar score from the wholehearted Dillon Mulligan. Real doubts began to creep into the minds of the large visiting contingent when Jude tore through the Ballyboden defence to score his third goal after 18 minutes. Six minutes later, the opposition were in real trouble when the same Jude again crashed to the net for his fourth major of the day. At this stage, the teams were level and momentum had definitely swung behind Crokes. During the second half, Darren Lawlor, James O’Keefe and Steven Beale defended like tigers. Also prominent were Eoghan O’ Dwyer and Oisín Ó Gallchobhair. Special mention has to be made, however, of goalkeeper Sean Garvey. Not only did he catch everything in sight, but his overall performance was confident and assured. In the end, however, a little indiscipline in defence allowed Ballyboden to tack on three unanswered points from close range frees and leave the final score 3-10 to 4-4 in favour of Ballyboden.

When the disappointment fades, however, this Crokes team will realise that they have a definite future to look forward to and, who knows, a Championship or two may not be too far away!

Kilmacud Crokes:-  Sean Garvey; Darren Lawlor, James O’Keefe, Niall Murphy; Gary Melican, Louis Whelan, Steven Beale; Dillon Mulligan (0-1), Fiachra Lynn; Karl Russell (0-1), Baetan Teague, Thomas Clarke; Mark O’Dwyer (0-2f), Jude Sweeney (4-0), Niko Salvino.

Subs:- Eoghan O’Dwyer for Tom Clarke and Oisín Ó Gallchobhair for Baetan Teague (injured), both at half-time. Kevin Murphy, Sam Cosgrave and Rory Gogarty.