A stronger and better balanced St. Mary’s side, aided by an Oisin Bohan and Sam Barnes goal in each half, outgunned a never say die Fenagh outfit in Sunday’s entertaining Leitrim U20 Football Championship ‘A’ Final in Avantcard Páirc Sean MacDiarmada.
As both teams settled in to the game in the early stages it was a nip and tuck contest with Oisin Bohan opening the scoring with a St. Mary’s point and Riordan O’Rourke answering with a similar Fenagh score shortly afterwards.
After that Fenagh got on top for a brief period when Oisin McLoughlin fired over a 5th minute point. But the Fenagh joy was short lived as St. Mary’s within the space of a minute took command with good inter play between Oisin Bohan and Conor Hackett before Bohan planted the ball wide of Fenagh, goalkeeper Fergal McLoughlin to register the game’s first goal.
Mark Keegan responded with a 9th minute Fenagh point. In the following minute Fenagh goalkeeper, Fergal McLoughlin pulled off a smart save at the expense of a ‘45’ to deny a goal bound Sam Barnes St. Mary’s effort.
Fenagh had another let off when David O’Connell drove a St. Mary’s 15th minute goal chance inches wide. Paul Keaney increased St. Mary’s lead two minutes later when he converted a free.
Shortly afterwards St. Mary’s Patrick McKenna was issued with the game’s first yellow card. Riordan O’Rourke cut the deficit with St. Mary’s to the minimum when he tapped over an 18th minute Fenagh free.
Over the next nine minutes the St. Mary’s men lifted their game noticeably and increased their advantage to 0-4 in this period when they put Fenagh on the back foot. Paul Keaney whipped over two points from play in this St. Mary’s surge, one from long range, while he also converted a free.
St. Mary’s Ashley Mazyia was the recipient of a 27th minute yellow card. A foul on Fenagh’s Eoin McLoughlin in the following minute was punished by Riordan O’Rourke who slopped over the resultant free when chalking up his side’s first score in ten minutes.
Shortly afterwards David O’Connell soccer style put a clear cut St. Mary’s goal chance narrowly wide.
Before the break Riordan O’Rourke hit over a Fenagh free that left St. Mary’s leading by two points at halftime on a score line of 1-5 to 0-6.
In the opening minute after the restart David O’Connell stretched St. Mary’s lead when he shot the second half’s first score, a point.
Over the next six minutes Fenagh rallied and for a second time in the final reduced St. Mary’s lead to the minimum.
In this spell Oisin McLoughlin put over a Fenagh 45 metres free and Riordan O’Rourke shot over from play.
However Fenagh had a let off when a close range 40th minute shot from St. Mary’s Sam Barnes tailed just wide.
But Barnes made no mistake some six minutes later when he toe poked to the Fenagh net after Paul Keaney drove a free from midfield in to the goalmouth.
St. Mary’s goalkeeper, Sean Reynolds pulled off a fine 48th minute save when he diverted a goal bound Riordan O’Rourke shot outside his right upright for a ’45.’
Oisin McLoughlin put over the resultant ‘45’ for Fenagh to close his side’s gap with St. Mary’s to 0-3.
But St. Mary’s maintained their grip on the game when Oisin Bohan whipped over a 50th minute free in reply.
Over the next three minutes points were traded at opposite ends after Riordan O’Rourke put over a Fenagh free and David O’Connell answered with a St. Mary’s point from play.
St. Mary’s continued to hold the upper hand and increased their lead to 0-6 between the 57th and 60th minutes with Paul Keaney and David O’Connell adding a point apiece from play in this period.
Riordan O’Rourke answered with a 61st minute Fenagh point from play but Oisin Bohan hit back with a similar score for St. Mary’s in the following minute.
In the space of another minute Conall McGovern registered the game’s final score, a Fenagh point from play.
St. Mary’s goalkeeper, Sean Reynolds deflected a Nathan O’Rourke Fenagh goal chance out for a ‘45’ near the end.
In the remaining seconds of the action St. Mary’s Jack Barnes saw yellow as his side held out resolutely for a deserved five point victory.
Game at a Glance
MAIN MAN: At times Oisin Bohan and goalkeeper, Sean Reynolds made major contributions to St. Mary’s victory but the overall play of Paul Keaney during the hour was probably decisive factor for the men from the Carrick Parish.
HIGHLIGHT: The build-up play by a few other team members plus the well orchestrated one-two between Oisin Bohan and Conor Hackett resulting in St. Mary’s first goal was impressive with Bohan clinically executed the score.
LOWLIGHT: The fact that County U20 final, and indeed the championship itself, took place at the end of the season seems unfair for a group of talented players who are the all important bridge between underage and senior levels within all clubs.
TURNING POINT: Sam Barnes’s 46th minute goal put St. Mary’s back in the driving seat after Fenagh had closed the gap between the sides to a point following a concerted third quarter drive.
Ref Watch: Vincent McMorrow let what was a sporting game throughout flow quite freely while he also handed out a few yellow cards, some for dissent and some for heedless indiscretions.
Talking Point: Fenagh’s heavy dependence on a few excellent players plus their failure to get to grips with the more expansive game that St. Mary’s played seemed somewhat surprising as the drama of the game unfolded.
St Mary's Kiltoghert: Sean Reynolds; Cian Singleton, Patrick McKenna, Ashley Maziya, Mark Diffley, Brian King, Paul Keaney, Kevin Brady, Jack Barnes, Sam Barnes, David O’Connell, Conor Hackett, Oisin Bohan. Sub Sean Lenehan for Hackett (62).
Fenagh St Caillins: Fergal McLoughlin, Eoin McLoughlin, Joshua McNabola, Tom McKeon, Conor Dwyer, Tom Gilheaney, David Wrynn, Mark Keegan, Jack Gilheaney, Aaron Smith, Oisin McLoughlin, Conall McGovern, Riordan O’Rourke. Sub Nathan O’Rourke for Wrynn (HT).
St Mary's Kiltoghert: Oisin Bohan 1-3 (f); Paul Keaney 0-5 (2fs); Sam Barnes 1-0; David O’Connell 0-3.
Fenagh St Caillins: Riordan O’Rourke 0-7(3fs); Oisin McLoughlin 0-3(2fs); Mark Keegan & Conall McGovern 0-1 each.
Referee: Vincent McMorrow