As we reached the three quarter stage last Sunday’s Under 20 B Football Championship decider in Páirc Seán Uí
Eislín, Ballinamore, it was looking increasingly as if the title may be headed to the Aughavas/Carrigallen combination
as they held a hard earned but nonetheless commanding two goal advantage with a 2-8 to 0-8 score line in their
What unfolded over the next ten minutes or so was as unforeseen as it was hardly credible as the St Brigid’s lads just clicked and found another gear and more importantly discovered their shooting boots after some wayward shooting previously.
Towering midfielder Aaron Hoare and his companion Dylan Maguire led their team forward but it was wing-forward Stephen Meissner who ultimately shot the lights out on this contest with seven points over the final quarter to add to the three he had accounted for in the first period and shell-shocked St Joseph’s outfit were left to reflect on what may have been as their opponents closed out the result with ten unanswered last quarter points.
In what was an entertaining and well contested final, the five clubs involved will be looking forward to the input of these lads into their adult teams in the years to come with the depth of talent on view.
For St Brigid’s though the spoils of victory will have been most gratifying and indeed the manner of its delivery will have been even more pleasing as they gloriously snatched victory from the jaws of impending defeat.
Played in ideal conditions this final commenced with forays by both sides into respective territories which were suitably repelled before Ciaran Cullen opened the scoring with a sixth minute point from play.
His side had already lost Daire Maxwell to injury by this stage and he was replaced by Ronan McTague.
Sarunas Zenkovas replied with a flicked point for St Joseph’s as the action moved from end to end. Man of the Match Stephen Meissner opened his impressive ten point final tally with an 8 th minute free and by the 11 th minute had added another free in response to an Eoin Kenny point from play.
St Joseph’s keeper Jamie McManus did well to keep out an Evan O'Connor goal bound effort before his wing forward Jordan Cowell followed up on a parried effort by Yann Le Guen to finish impressively to the roof of the net as the first quarter drew to a close and give the St Joseph’s lads the lead.
Peter Prior replied with a fine point from distance and in the 21 st minute Meissner added his third point to ties the scores again.
Aaron Hoare with a point from play, and Ciaran Kenny from a free exchanged scores as we headed towards the half time interval.
There was still time for Jamie McManus to thwart Manus Connolly’s goal bound effort and Jordan Cowell with a point from play ensured the St Joseph’s lads held the tightest of advantages at the changeover, leading 1-4 to 0-6.
Manus Connolly came to his side’s rescue as he cleared a dangerous ball that bobbled menacingly in his goalmouth at the very start of the second half action but St Joseph’s were not to be outdone as Eoin Kenny, raiding in from the left wing on the end of a fine team move, finished coolly to the net to open a four point lead.
Dylan Maguire reduced the deficit with a fine point from range as Matthew Morris and Brian Stringer had joined the action for the Brigid’s lads.
Colm Kiernan with a free and Morris from play exchanged points before Kiernan with another free and Jordan Cowell from play, seemed to have wrestled the verdict away from the Brigid’s lads as the third quarter approached.
Ciaran Cullen with a fine point on the run from play reduced the deficit to five before Messnier began his tour de force with a point from play.
Niall Stringer pointed from play before Meissner added a free and when Dylan Maguire added another from play and the clear two goal lead had been reduced to a single point in the space of five minutes.
The trend continued and there was a sense of the inevitable and so it proved.
Stephen Meissner with another free and an immediate point from play gave his side the lead and a shell-shocked St Joseph’s struggled to gain any foothold.
After Peter Prior had been blackcarded, the momentum remained with the winners as they added further scores from Meissner, two of which were from play.
St Joseph’s did manage a few down field raids but the best they could manage in order to save the game was dealt with capably by Yann Le Guen as he kept out Eoin Kenny’s goal bound effort.
With the ferocity and sheer will to win that the winners demonstrated in that devastating ten minute period at the start of the third quarter they proved worthy winners of the 2019 Under B title.
St Joseph’s may regret that they lost so much control over that ten minute period but anyone will acknowledge that such a tornado of scores is hard to deal with once it starts going against you.
A fine overall team performance landed the title for the St Brigid’s lads and they had heroes all round the field. St. Joseph’s, for their part, can be justifiably proud of the effort and skill that they brought to the contest and can look ahead to perhaps brighter days.
After the match the Cup was presented to the winning Captain Cormac Sammon and Stephen Meissner was the proud recipient of the Man of the Match Award after his ten point virtuoso performance.
Teams and Scorers
Scorers: Stephen Meissner 0-10, Dylan Maguire, Ciaran Cullen, Conor McGovern 0-2 each, Peter Prior, Niall Stringer, Aaron Hoare 0-1 each.
Team: Yann Le Guen, Daire Maxwell, Cormac Sammon, Manus Connolly, Peter Prior, Niall Stringer, Aaron Hoare, Dylan Maguire, Michael McTague, Evan O Connor, Stephen Meissner, Conor McGovern, Ciaran Cullen. Subs used: Ronan McTague for Daire Maxwell (6 mins), Matthew Morris (0-1) for Michael McTague (HT), Brian Stringer for Ronan McTague (33), Mark Stringer for Niall Stringer (Black Card 56 mins).
Scorers: Jordan Cowell 1-2, Eoin Kenny 1-1, Colm Kiernan 0-2, Sarunas Zenkovas, Ciaran Kenny, Niall McCabe 0-1 each.
Team: Jamie McManus, Diarmuid Casey, Shafik Oubihi, Patrick McCann, Adrian Shortt, Conor Gallogly, Eoin Kenny, Ciaran Kenny, Jordan Cowell, Colm Kiernan, Darragh McCabe, Sarunas Zenkovas, Niall McCabe. Subs used: Rob Kotteman for Darragh McCabe (51 mins).
Referee: Cyril McKeon