2015 U21 Final

by louthandproud on November 16, 2015

in Club, Minor/U21

Mattock Rangers,Hunterstown Rovers and Glen Emmetts combination and O’Connells, Naomh Fionnbarra combination will compete in this years final.

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The semi finals were played yesterday morning
click for reports

Naomh Fionnbarra and O’Connells beat the Oliver Plunketts

Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells recorded a comprehensive victory over Oliver Plunketts in the Louth U-21 Championship Semi Final at Mell on Sunday morning.  Played in very windy and showery conditions the combination side had the breeze at their backs in the first half.  The Plunketts took an early lead against the elements as their No. 10 scored a good point after a scrappy piece of ply where the ‘Barrs/O’Connells backs failed to clear their lines.  They doubled their lead as their No. 13 scored a 20 metre free after 7 minutes.  

Even though they had not yet scored the Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells lads had plenty of possession and carved open the Oliver Plunketts defence on a number of occasions before scoring.  The first chance saw a great move between Jack Butterly and Cian Doyle slice through the defence after 9 minutes before breaking down and Brendan Murphy was unlucky not to be able to seize on his half goal chance.  Cian Doyle had another goal chance saved by the Plunketts keeper after 13 minutes and the Drogheda net minder made another superb save to tip Jack Butterlys shot wide of the post a minute later.  Robert Quigley then missed the resulting 45 metre kick.  At this stage the combination side lost their big midfielder Conor Kiernan to injury who was replaced by James Clerkin with Chris McGlynn dropping back to midfield.  After missing a number of scoring opportunities so early on, the ‘Barrs/O’Connells players seemed to be forcing things slightly and the supporters were becoming a tad restless.  Would these missed chances would not come back to haunt the Togher/Castlebellingham lads?

The supporters need not have worried as after 18 minutes Cian Doyle scored a goal after a good ball into the full forward line by the forty yardsman Robert Quigley.  The Drogheda men broke back up the field with an attack of their own; however No. 15 had a shot which drifted wide.  The ‘Barrs/O’Connells then had a point attempt which dropped short which was saved by the Plunketts goal keeper, who was robbed of possession by Jack Butterly, he in turn laid the ball off to Cian Doyle who passed the ball into the corner of the Oliver Plunketts net after 20 minutes.  A minute later Doyle was then wide with a point scoring chance.  

On 22 minutes the combination side suffered a blow as they lost Micheal Cairns who received a straight red card for an off the ball incident.  Undeterred the Lenihan brothers combined well down the right wing and a long ball into the Oliver Plunketts danger area resulted in a free to the Togher/Castlebellingham outfit.  Cian Doyle then stroked the 21 metre free over the bar with 26 minutes gone on the clock.  From the resulting kick-out Chris McGlynn won the ball at midfield and earned a free in.  Conor Lenihan then hit a good pass into the chest of Jack Butterly who in turn struck a long ball across the field to Cian Doyle.  Doyle then turned provider for Robert Quigley who then buried the ball into the top corner of the net.  Doyle himself then missed another well worked chance as he hit the butt of the post with a bullet of a shot after another high ball across the square from Jack Butterly.  Minutes later another long ball from a Robert Quigley free caused havoc in the Plunketts square and who else but Cian Doyle capitalised to lash the pigskin to the back of the net.  The slick interplay between the ‘Barrs/O’Connells forwards was a joy to watch and it almost seemed as if they had a telepathic understanding with each other, to the extent that they looked like scoring with every attack.

Robert Quigley received and innocuous yellow card on 29 minutes as the half was drawing to a close.  The Plunketts seemed to regain their composure at this point and scored a point from their No. 13 on the half hour and quickly followed this up with another point from their No. 6 a minute later.  The final act of the half saw James Clerkin, who had linked the play well since his introduction; blaze the ball wide from a good scoring position.  The Mid Louth side had gone for a lot of goals in the first half and even though they scored 4 they missed another 4 gilt edged chances.  The long, direct ball into the Oliver Plunketts defence was paying rich dividends and the combination side had made light of being a man down for the last 10 minutes of the half.  Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells lads were well in the ascendency at this stage however, would the second half prove to be a different story facing into the elements with only 14 players on the field.  Half time score: Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells 4-1(13) Oliver Plunketts 0-4(4).

As was expected for a team in the semi final the men from Mell regrouped at half time and came out all firing on all cylinders in the second half.  They had scored a good point from their No. 18 within 1 minute of the re-start.  The Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells lads though had other ideas and in their next attack playmaker in chief Robert Quigley sent in a great ball with the outside of his boot to Cian Doyle who side stepped his man and scored his 4th goal.  Both teams were trying to play good open football however the wind and rain was making for very tough conditions for all of the players.  Even so, all players were giving their all as the game was still in the balance.  

The Plunketts showed their true colours at this stage as they hit a rich vein of form scoring 2-3 without reply to bring themselves back into the game.  They broke back up field to score their first goal which was scrambled to the net by their full forward Luke Haggins on 33 minutes after a dangerous ball across the square.  The Drogheda men then reduced the deficit further with a point from play off the crossbar from their No. 10 2 minutes later.  Their No. 17 popped over a point on 38 minutes and Haggins fisted in another goal after a long ball in from a free shortly afterwards.  No. 18 then hit another fine point from the left wing to leave just 2 points between the teams.  Game on!

The Mid Louth men then lifted the siege and had their own purple patch as Cian Doyle curled over a lovely point after another defence splitting pass from Quigley.  Corner Patrick McGrane made a good run down the wing and sent in a dangerous ball to Cian Doyle who believe it or not scored his 5th goal as he drilled the ball to the back of the net.  Doyle then followed this up with a point from a 21m free.  Just to prove that we were all not just watching the Cian Doyle show Conor Lenihan made an incisive run down the right wing, as he linked the play with Chris McGlynn, James Clerkin and Jack Butterly, in turn scoring a good point after 45 minutes gone on the clock.  Cian Geeney was then introduced for Dean Corrigan.  Hugh Osborne then made a vital block from the Plunketts midfielder James Wynne as he showed his commitment to the cause.  

The Plunketts No. 18 who was having a fine game then scored his third point of the day on 18 minutes.  However this was cancelled out 2 minutes later as a good attack for the combination side involving Jack Butterly, Cian Doyle and James Clerkin resulted in Ciaran O’Brien sailing over a good point from play.  Chris McGlynn then received a yellow card a minute later.  The lead for the combination side was increased further as that man again Doyle scored a super point after the ball was worked the length of the field following some stout ‘Barrs/O’Connells defending.  Haggins the Plunketts square man fisted over a point after 25 minutes as time was running out for the men from Mell.  The Mid Louth side pressed further ahead as Cian Doyle capitalised on a poor kick-out from the Drogheda goalkeeper and laid the ball off to Jack Butterly who scored with an clinical finish to the back of the net to round off the scoring.  The Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells side then emptied their bench as Jordan Bannon, Michael McArdle and Andrew Keenan were all introduced into the action.  In what was a fairly clean hard fought game, was soured slightly towards the end as the Oliver Plunketts received his marching orders and a straight red card, as he elbowed Robert Quigley in the face.   

The Mid Louth side came through this stern test with flying colours and were especially impressive considering that they were down to 14 men for over 40 minutes of the game.  The key to this was the brilliant work rate of the players who never stopped moving.  The Plunketts to their credit never gave up the fight and mid way through the 2nd half had reduced the ‘Barrs/O’Connells lead to 2 points.  That was as close as they got however as the combination side efficiently regained control of the game to record a well deserved win.

Similar to the Blues game earlier in the week, the victory for the Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells side was achieved on the back of strong gritty defending from the full back line of Brendan Simms, Kieran Lenihan and Patrick McGrane.  The half back line broke up the field to good effect with Conor Lenihan and Hugh Osborne prominent.  The midfield won ample possession and battled hard all the way with Ciaran O’Brien and Chris McGlynn working hard.  The Togher/Castlebellingham attack was the more fluid on the night with the trio of Quigley, Butterly and Doyle linking excellently.  Final score Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells 7-6(27) Oliver Plunketts 2-10(16).

Naomh Fionnbarra/O’Connells: John McLoughlin (OC), Brendan Simms (NF), Kieran Lenihan (NF), Patrick McGrane (NF), Conor Lenihan 0-1(NF), Hugh Osborne (NF), Micheal Cairns (OC), Ciaran O’Brien 0-1 (OC), Conor Kiernan (OC), Dean Corrigan (OC), Robert Quigley 1-0 (OC), Chris McGlynn (NF), Cian Doyle 5-4(OC), Jack Butterly 1-0(NF), Brendan Murphy (NF).  Substitutes: James Clerkin (OC) for Conor Kiernan inj., Cian Geeney (OC) for Dean Corrigan, Jordan Bannon (OC) for Cian Doyle, Michael McArdle (NF) for Brendan Simms and Andrew Keenan (OC) for Brendan Murphy.

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