The conditions in Kiltubrid may have been ideal for this U-16 13-a-side “C” Championship Final but unfortunately the longer the game went on, the more of a mismatch became. Fenagh began brightly and looked up for the challenge inside the opening 10 minutes but from that point on Glencar/Manor assumed complete control and never looked in any real danger.
Prior to the game, Fenagh were aggrieved that an alternative date could not be found as they were without a number of players who were competing in World Handball Championship Finals, including newly crowned World Champions Jarlath Scollan and Alan Wrynn, meaning they were forced to play the match with no substitutes available to them.
Despite the loss of five players Fenagh made an excellent start to the game and their early dominance was rewarded with a fine goal in the second minute. One of their standout performers, Ryan O’Rourke, caught a Glencar/Manor kickout and quickly found the unmarked Tony Simms. Showing a good turn of pace Simms drove at the heart of the Manor defence before dispatching a fine shot past Glencar/Manor goalkeeper Luke Sheridan.
After a sluggish start Glencar/Manor registered their first score of the game a minute later when Christopher Ferguson pointed and that was almost immediately followed by a Conor O’Hagan goal. When Conor Dolan converted a fifth minute free it looked as though Fenagh may be in trouble but to their credit they responded impressively. After Ryan O’Rourke’s free was turned over the bar, the same player struck for Fenagh’s second goal of the game. O’Rourke took possession of the ball in a deep position and made light work of the Glencar/Manor defence before dispatching a fine shot past Sheridan.
Unfortunately for Fenagh that was as good as it would get for them as Glencar/Manor dominated the remainder of the half with a clinical efficiency in front of goal.
Seven Conor Dolan points (five of which were frees) along with points from Conor O’Hagan (two), Christopher Ferguson and Ferghail Rooney put Glencar/Manor in a commanding position as they opened up an eight point lead and with time all but up at the end of the half it got even better for Glencar/Manor.
Conor O’Hagan saw his initial shot came back off the Fenagh upright but luck was on his side as the ball came right back to him and he was able to dispatch the ball to an empty net.
Trailing 2-12 to 2-1 at half-time it would have been easy for the Fenagh players to accept the task facing them was too great but they started the second half very well and reduced the deficit to nine points when Ryan O’Rourke (free) and Aaron McLoughlin pointed in the opening minutes of the half. The feeling was that if Fenagh could find a goal and get the gap down to six points they would be back in contention.
However, the all important next score proved to be a real blow for Fenagh as Conor Dolan scored Glencar/Manor’s third goal when he dispatched a penalty after a foul on Ethan Clancy.
Moments later the Fenagh faithful would have been all too aware that it was not to be their day as Ethan Clancy goaled from distance before Christopher Ferguson further extended his side’s lead with a well taken point.
To further illustrate that it was not to be Fenagh’s day, Glencar/Manor had a let off when Aaron McLoughlin’s shot came back off the woodwork and the resulting counter-attack saw Christopher Ferguson find the clinical Conor Dolan who once again found the Fenagh goal.
A Ryan O’Rourke free was little consolation for Fenagh as Glencar/Manor continued to torment the defence and the lead was further increased with points from Conor Dolan, Christopher Ferguson (two) and Eoghan Killalea.
With 10 minutes of the game remaining and the final well and truly over as a contest Glencar/Manor were able to introduce a number of substitutes to freshen things up, a luxury not available to Fenagh and the players in red and black looked as though the effort they put in to the game was taking its toll in the final quarter.
Glencar/Manor’s sixth goal arrived with 10 minutes remaining when Conor O’Hagan released Conor Dolan and from close range he made no mistake as he fired his shot past Kyle McNabola.
Moments later it was Christopher Ferguson’s turn to find the goal as Glencar/Manor showed no sign of easing up in the closing stages.
Mark Gilligan’s point after good work involving Ryan Mulholland and Declan Byrne was followed by a Ferghail Rooney before Conor O’Hagan completed the scoring with a goal shortly before the end.
While Glencar/Manor with Conor O’Hagan, Conor Dolan, Ethan Clancy, Ferghail Rooney and Ryan Mulholland in excellent form were deserving winners it would be impossible not to have sympathy for Fenagh who have plenty of talented players within their ranks and no doubt the excellent work that is being done at underage level in Fenagh will ensure these players are seen before long competing strongly at minor level.
Luke Sheridan, Eoghan Killalea (0-1), Ryan Mulholland, Stephen Loughlin, Ferghail Rooney (0-2), Fergus Munday, Kevin Rooney, Karl McDermott, Ethan Clancy (1-0), Conor Dolan (3-8), Christopher Ferguson (1-5), Michael Feely, Conor O’Hagan (3-2). Subs: Cian Killalea for Munday (37 mins), Declan Byrne for Loughlin (42 mins), Peter Poniard for Clancy (47 mins), Mark Gilligan (0-1) for Rooney (51 mins), Colin McDermott for Ferguson (52 mins).
Fenagh St Caillins
Kyle McNabola, Sean Keegan, Conor McLoughlin, Caillin O’Rourke, James Maguire, Nathan O’Rourke, Tony Simms (1-0), Aaron McLoughlin (0-1), Niall McLoughlin, Ryan O’Rourke (1-3), Alan Reynolds, Conor Reynolds, Alan Doonan.
Referee: Sean McKiernan