Paul Flynn carries the ball for Fenagh St. Caillin's. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Fenagh's adult team may have suffered deep disappointment on Saturday but on Friday night, we saw that their future is bright as they stormed to the U13 Championship 13-a-side crown.
St. Joseph's went into the game full of confidence having beaten St. Caillin's in the group stages but they walked into a storm here as Fenagh grabbed control from the first whistle and never let go.
Fenagh had stars everywhere from an excellent keeper in Fiachra McGovern through defenders Stuart Farrell and Ryan Curran and forwards Cian McGovern, James Gilheaney and Colm McLoughlin but it was the powerhouse Paul Flynn who set the tone in midfield.
Flynn was completely dominant in the middle of the park and that gave Fenagh's dangerous forwards time and plenty of possession and in McGovern and Gilheaney, they had talented players who knew how to use the ball.
Fenagh are starting to graduate a very good team to the Senior ranks in the next year or two but with this sort of team coming down the line in the years ahead, they may well yet be a major force at Senior level in the years ahead.
St. Joseph's were caught in a whirlwind of Fenagh excellence but they battled and are undoubtedly much better than they showed here. There were splashes of excellence from Aodan Harte, Declan Brooks and Kalum McLoughlin while Liam McIntyre was tigerish and tough in defence. They will have much better days in the years ahead.
The opening minutes saw Fenagh set out their stall as Adam Reynolds had a shot blocked, Cian McGovern had a shot come of the keeper and the post and Luke Reynolds put a free wide but any worries were ended on four minutes when a ball broke off James Gilheaney and Adam Reynolds raced through to goal.
Gilheaney would add two more points in the space of a minute, one from a free, the other hitting the crossbar, while St. Joseph’s Darren Shortt had a good shot spilled by the keeper out for a fifty which was converted by Aodan Harte.
Fenagh, however, were keeping the pressure on and Colm McLoughlin and Kalum McLoughlin, son of former Leitrim star Padraig, swapped points before points from McGovern, Gilheaney (free) and Paul Flynn opened up a big game 16 minutes into the game.
St. Joseph’s needed a goal and almost got one only for keeper Fiachra McGovern to make a spectacular save, clawing a high ball back from crossing the line. Gilheaney extended the lead with a good point before Fiachra McGovern made another great catch from a high ball to leave Fenagh St. Caillin’s leading 1-7 to 0-2 at the break.
Fenagh weren’t going to let this one slip and quickly set about putting the game to bed with Gilheaney and Colm McLoughlin added points before the pair combined for Fenagh’s second goal, Gilheaney fisting home a clever McLoughlin ball on eight minutes.
The points continued to roll for Fenagh with two each from Paul Flynn and Cian McGovern before St. Joseph’s got their first score of the second half when Declan Brooks converted a free after 15 minutes.
Fenagh responded with a point from Cian McGovern, a shot that was tipped over the bar with Kalum McLoughlin responding for St. Joseph’s from a free. With both teams making changes, the game petered out with Declan Brooks converted a free for the last score of the game.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Main Man: Paul Flynn was outstanding in midfield for the winners with Ryan Curran, Stuart Farrell, Colm McLoughlin, James Gilheaney and Cian McGovern all impressing. For St. Joseph's, Declan Brooks, Liam McIntyre, Kalum McLoughlin and Aodhan Harte were best.
Talking Point: It is like buses, you wait for one golden generation to come along and another comes right behind it. With a lot of family connections between both teams, this Fenagh team could follow in their older brothers and clubmates footsteps.
Turning Point: No real turning point as such as Fenagh's hunger and workrate meant they were on the front foot from the first whistle and once Adam Reynolds found the net, they were in complete control of the contest.
Ref Watch: Mick Hogan didn't have an awful lot to do in a game played in a good sporting spirit. He might, however, punished a few Fenagh tackles in the second half with frees a little more often instead of letting play go on.
Highlight: James Gilheaney's fisted goal and Adam Reynolds' fine finish stand out as do some excellent saves from Fiachra McGovern.
Lowlight: This was a disappointing outing for a St. Joseph's team who went into this game with a lot of confidence.
TEAMS & SCORERS
FENAGH ST. CAILLIN’S
Scorers: James Gilheaney 1-5, 3f; Cian McGovern 0-5; Paul Flynn 0-3, 1 50; Adam Reynolds 1-0; Colm McLoughlin 0-1
Team: Fiachra McGovern, Caolan Honeyman, Ryan Curran, Dara Greenan, Stuart Farrell, Darren Wrynn, Paul Flynn, Luke Reynolds, Cian McGovern, Conan Gill, Colm McLoughlin, Adam Reynolds, James Gilheaney. Subs: Paddy McLoughlin for A. Reynolds (45), Shane Keegan Holohan, Callum Quinn & Eoghan Conefrey for Gilheaney, Greene & McGovern (48)
Scorers: Declan Brooks (2f) & Kalum McLoughlin (f) 0-2 each, Aodhan Harte 0-1, 1f
Team: Jonathan Harkness, Ben Harte, Fiachra Casey, Eanna McNamara, Cathal McNamara, Liam McIntyre, Declan Brooks, Pierce Kenny, Kalum McLoughlin, Aodhan Harte, Harry Wilson, Darren Shortt, Cian Mimnagh. Gary Mitchell for Mimnagh (HT), Keelan Furlong for Wilson (29), James Quinn for McNamara (39), Matthew McCabe & Fionnan Harte for A. Harte & B. Harte (51)
Referee: Mick Hogan