Match Reports 2014 - U14
Saturday 8th March 2014 Venue Silverpark For Photos click here
Kilmacud Crokes A 9 - 10Whitehall Colmcille A 1 - 7
Report by Mícheál Ó Ceallaigh
From the throw-in, the contrast in styles was fascinating. Whitehall have a reputation of imposing a powerful running game and typically break through the middle. They have footballers with great skill and physique that can power through teams, and have dominated underage football in Dublin in recent years with this style. Kilmacud players are smaller in stature, and play fast ball into space, and rely on two-footed players to implement a high tempo game. Hopping and soloing are individualistic efforts that do not fit with this team's ethic. Accurate kick-passing and unselfish support play are the team's trademarks.
The intensity of both sides was commendable. Whitehall had the better of possession in the early stages. However their physically imposing midfield did not have an easy time of it with Mark Grogan and Connor Kinsella battling ferociously to contain them. All six Kilmacud defenders worked in packs. The half-back line of James Dillon, Colin Veale, and Daniel Kelly worked tirelessly to slow the Whitehall attack and close down the space available to them. They would not let any clear runs through on goal on their watch. The full-back line of Tom Stakelum, Cormac Keys and Dermot Jordan were not going to let any intricate passing movements catch them flat-footed and get through to goal. The goalie Stephen Dunne was fearless as usual. Whitehall moved the ball into dangerous positions, but were repeatedly closed down by not one, but often two, three or more Kilmacud defenders. Whitehall then recycled the ball and tried another point of attack, only to be met by an even larger pack of defenders. More often than not, the attacks were broken up before Whitehall could get a clear scoring chance. They did score 1-5 in the opening half, but it looked like that would not be sufficient, as at the other end Kilmacud forwards seemed to find their scores more easily.
The half-forward line of Niall Comerford, Sean Kinsella and Kevin Nangle did the apparently simple things very well. They worked tirelessly, and ran in support of each other constantly. They denied Whitehall a comfortable platform for launching an attack. A notable highlight was Kevin Nangle's full length diving block down on a Whitehall defender. This was an example of the courage and commitment of all players on the team. The half forwards linked well with the defence and midfield and played quality ball into the dangerous full forward line. Some of the balls went directly to the chest, but most were played on the bounce for the inside forwards to run onto at speed. With quality supply, the full-forward line of Liam Reddy, Fionn Ó Ceallaigh and Anthony Quinn were expected to capitalise, and they did not disappoint.
In the first attack, Ó Ceallaigh was given space and kicked a point from the 20m line to settle the team. Soon after, Ó Ceallaigh collected another ball. Quinn and Reddy's movement ensured that space was opened up in front of goal, and Ó Ceallaigh hit the top corner of the net. The next Kilmacud goal was a great corner forward effort. Liam Reddy stretched up to intercept a clearance and then pounced on the break to kick to the back of the net. This was a true poacher's goal, ruthlessly punishing the smallest of the opponent's defensive errors. He followed this up with another goal. Following some quick handling by the Crokes' attack, the ball was popped out to the oncoming Reddy who gathered it at pace, broke the tackle, and finished to the bottom corner. Soon after this, excellent movement by the Crokes' forwards led to another goal chance for Fionn Ó Ceallaigh, who finished it to the net. Added to this was a free which were clinically put over the bar by Connor Kinsella. Anthony Quinn popped up for a point as did Niall Comerford who finished a splendid Crokes team movement involving five players on the stroke of half time.
This left Kilmacud in a commanding position at half time on a scoreline of 4-8 to 1-5.
The management team of Fergal Keys, Michael Veale, Ronne Murray and Phillip Comerford were aware that the job was only half-done. In the league decider last November, Whitehall came out with a flurry after half time, and within ten minutes cut an eight point lead down to a single goal, and continued to battle right to the end. There would be no easy victories against the boys of the white and red, and Fergal exhorted our boys to up their effort and commitment for the second half. The boys responded splendidly.
Mark Grogan commanded the half back line, and there was less pressure on Cormac Keys and his full-back line. Mostly they broke up attacks by being first to the ball, and playing it out quickly to midfield where Connor Kinsella and Colin Veale were now taking control. Crucially, the economy of Crokes' play and the demanding winter training schedule seemed to be paying dividends, as they now appeared to have a fitness edge on the opposition. Furthermore, Fergal Keys had the luxury of bringing on subs that were as good as the players they replaced. Tom Fagan came on to command the Kilmacud square, and caught any high balls that were played in.
Denis Murray, Brian Morton, Pádraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons and Peter Norlin, came on and used their pace to torment the Whitehall defence. Two more goals from Ó Ceallaigh, one for Niall Comerford, and a number of points were the result – one standout Conor Kinsella point after a 40m run. Then came the move of the match. A long kick pass out of defence to Denis Murray onto Brian Morton who kicked a 40m pass straight to sub Eddie Gibbons who got clear of his marker. He raced though, and as the goalkeeper came off his line to narrow his shooting angle. Eddie coolly kicked over the goalie's head from about 35m out and dipped under the crossbar into the net. The goal was similar to, but definitely more stylish than, Barney Rock's in '83, and those present to witness it will no doubt remember it for many a year to come.
While the result was not in doubt after that, Kilmacud kept up the intensity of their play. Playing until the final whistle is a habit which management have ingrained into the boys. The final attack epitomised this work ethic when a long clearance from defence bounced to Peter Norlin some 50m from goal. A sweet left foot from Norlin over the top of the opposition fullback found Fionn Ó Ceallaigh sprinting from midfield to win the race to gather the ball, soloed in towards the goal, and after a neat dummy of the keeper; he rolled the ball into an empty net. What was remarkable was that there were three Crokes players immediately beside him who all made similar sprints. In the 60th minute, with the result beyond doubt, Niall Comerford, Brian Morton and Peter Norlin had all made the lung-bursting sprint on the off-chance that the attack would break down and that they would be needed to support it. That cameo sums up the spirit of this fine Crokes team.
Gan amhras, beidh foireann Fhionnbhrú Cholmcille ag beartú seift chun díoltas a bhaint amach nuair a fhillfimíd ar Pháirc Ellenfield i mí Méan Fomhair. Ach an uair seo, bhí an lá le buachaillí Chill Mhochuda. B'é an toradh ná:
Cill Mochuda na Crócaigh 9-10
Fionnbhrú Colmcille 1-7
Kilmacud Crokes team: Stephen Dunne, Tom Stakelum, Cormac Keys, Dermot Jordan, James Dillon, Colin Veale, Daniel Kelly, Connor Kinsella, Mark Grogan, Niall Comerford, Sean Kinsella, Kevin Nangle, Liam Reddy, Fionn Ó Ceallaigh, Anthony Quinn. Subs: Eddie Gibbons, Brian Morton, Pádraig Purcell, Peter Norlin, Dennis Murray, Tom Fagan.
Goals Fionn 4 goals, Liam 2 goals, Niall, Eddie and Stephen - 1 goal
Points : Liam 2 pts, Connor – 3 pts ( 1 from a free), Fionn 2 pt, Anthony 1 pt, Niall 1 pt