U-14A's vs St.Vincent's (30th May 2006)
On a bright but somewhat cool late May evening, Kilmacud Crokes Under-14A’s showed great strength of character to grind out a fully deserved draw against St. Vincent’s in a Division One league encounter at Pairc Naomh Uinseann. For some reason or other the team was slow to settle and conceded two soft goals inside the first five minutes. Although, Tom Clarke opened the scoring for Crokes with a well taken point after 7 minutes, St. Vincent’s sent over two unanswered frees and then scrambled another goal to leave Crokes trailing by ten points (3-2 to 0-1) after only 21minutes of play. Whereas most teams would have crumbled under such pressure, this is not in the nature of this Under-14 team, who slowly clawed their way back into contention when Tom Clarke took a neat pass from Jude Sweeney to score a point after 24minutes and then Jude sent over a long range free after 26minutes. With no further scoring between then and half-time, there was still an eight point gap between the teams as the Croke’s players came off the field to listen to John Mitchell’s “analysis of proceedings”. During the first half, the most prominent players were all in defence – the full-back line of Darren Lawlor, James O’Keefe and Niall Murphy and the classy centre-back, Louis Whelan.
On the resumption, both teams started somewhat tentatively. However, once Fiachra Lynn hit the net after 8 minutes, new leaders emerged from the Kilmacud ranks and the game took on an entirely different complexion with everyone, from Paddy Tighe in goal to Tom Clarke at corner forward, playing their part. First, Jude Sweeney soloed from the halfway line along the right touchline before sending over from an acute angle, 20 metres out. This was followed by a well worked point from Jamie Clinton. All the while Steven Beale and Kevin Murphy were digging deep in defence and Niko Salvino, Karl Russell, Oisin Ó Gallchobhair and Jamie Clinton were getting the better of their opponents in attack. It is doubtful, however, if the match could have been saved without the Herculean efforts of James O’Keefe and Louis Whelan in defence, Fiachra Lynn and Gary Melican at mid-field and Baetan Teague and Jude Sweeney in attack.
St. Vincent’s really felt the pressure after Gary Melican struck a great long range point after 48 minutes to cut the deficit to two points. This was followed by an excellent point from Baetán Teague before the skilful Gary sent over the equaliser with two minutes remaining. Not for the first time and most certainly not for the last time, these Kilmacud Crokes hurlers showed great heart and determination to come back from a difficult situation – even if the three mentors on the sideline and the large contingent of travelling parents (mostly dedicated mothers) suffered some palpitations along the way!
Kilmacud Crokes:- Paddy Tighe; Darren Lawlor, James O’Keefe, Niall Murphy; Steven Beale, Louis Whelan, Kevin Murphy; Fiachra Lynn (1-0), Gary Melican (0-2); Karl Russell, Baetan Teague (0-1), Oisín Ó Gallchobhair; Niko Salvino, Jude Sweeney (0-2), Thomas Clarke (0-2).
Subs:- Jamie Clinton (0-1) for Niko Salvino (half-time) and Niko Salvino for Oisín Ó Gallchobhair (49mins). Dillon Mulligan, Sam Cosgrave, Eoghan O’Dwyer, Mark O’Dwyer and Nathan Timmins were unavailable for the match.