After a thrilling U-16 League 11-a-side Final that swung one way and then another, a superlative display of scoring from Fintan Fitzpatrick was just enough for Aughnasheelin to see off a determined Aughavas after extra-time in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada last Friday evening.
With a better balanced Aughavas making the early running, Fitzpatrick’s extraordinary scoring of 1-12, 1-5 from frees, was the difference in an exciting and high quality encounter where two good teams went toe-to-toe in an exhilarating match.
Fitzpatrick scoring was matched by Aughavas’ superb Seamus Sweeney who registered an equally impressive 3-6, 1-4 from placed balls, but the sheer range and consistency of the Aughnasheelin lad’s scoring was the difference in the end.
Aughavas started by far the best with two goals in their first two attacks but Aughnasheelin responded in style and led by four points early in the second half before Aughavas fought back, forcing extra-time and having a last gasp goal disallowed.
Extra-time was no less dramatic with three penalties, two of which appeared incredibly soft, but it was the final spot-kick from Fitzpatrick that sealed a dramatic win for Aughnasheelin.
Aughavas started like a train with two Seamus Sweeney goals in the first two minutes, the first after a defender slipped while in possession and the second from a 35 yard free that sneaked into the net. David Charles side-footed a great effort over the bar but a long range shot from Conor Cullen found the net on seven minutes. Fintan Gallogly hit back with a point but another Cullen goal left two points in it. Francis Bohan replied for Aughavas but a Ben McGirl point and three from Fintan Fitzpatrick gave Aughnasheelin a one point lead at the break.
With Aughnasheelin on top, three Fitzpatrick points, including one that could have been a goal, put them in control although keeper Darren Cull had to make a good save from Sweeney.
Aughavas looked in trouble but they fought back with points from Sweeney and Francis Bohan (2) but saw a free go badly wide while they twice hit the woodwork from close range. Two Sweeney frees edged them in front but Fitzpatrick quickly levelled.
Jack McGirl scored a great long range effort with four minutes to go but time almost up, Sweeney notched the equaliser. Aughavas did get the ball in the net from a scramble but since the ball was delivered from a free, it was rightly ruled out, sending the game to added time.
Extra-time saw Aughnasheelin again edge in front with points from Keith Harvey and Fitzpatrick, Sweeney converting a free in reply. Then came two penalties at either end, one after the other. The first when Conor Cullen caught a long ball but a defender took the ball out of his hands.
Referee Jimmy Stenson awarded a penalty but Cullen saw his spot-kick brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by keeper Daragh McCabe. Cullen had a shot seemingly foot-blocked in the follow-up but Aughavas worked the ball down the field where Francis Bohan saw his shot brilliantly blocked by a diving defender but a penalty was awarded.
Seamus Sweeney drilled the ball to the net but two Fitzpatrick points, the second after good work from Philip Dolan left the scores level at halftime. Fitzpatrick put over an early free while good work from Cormac Sammon prevented David Charles from goaling.
Sweeney converted a free to level while keeper McCabe blocked a good shot from Fitzpatrick and Keith Harvey saw his shot blocked out for a fifty. However, Aughnasheelin did get their goal when a clear foot-block on Ben McGirl saw a third penalty awarded, Fitzpatrick drilling home in style.
Aughavas tried to come back but Fitzpatrick capped off a wonderful display with a brilliant point in the last minute.
Best for Aughnasheelin were Fintan Fitzpatrick, Conor Cullen, Philip Dolan, Jack McGirl, Morgan Mooney and Cormac Sammon while Seamus Sweeney, Fintan Gallogly, Daniel Bohan, David Charles, Francis & Daniel Bohan impressed for Aughavas.