West Junior B Championship
On Monday evening our junior side took on St Senans in a west quarter final. On paper the odds looked stacked against our young team, not only had we been convincingly beaten in the league by the same opponents, but a late fixture change meant that we would be taking on our close rivals on their home turf. But 12 weeks is a long time in junior football and we went into the game in good form having racked up an impressive tally of 5-13 in our last group against an under strength Mountcollins side, coupled with a very competitive in-house challenge game, but this promised to be a much tougher affair.
It was apparent from the off that our lads hadn’t travelled to Foynes just to make up the numbers and immediately began to take the game to their hosts producing some fine flowing football from the start. After both sides registered points in the opening few minutes, a Mark Murphy goal after ten minutes opened up the flood gates as Ballysteen scored freely for the pretty much the remainder of the first half. Despite the temptation to sit back and defend the advantage, they were relentlessness in the pursuit of scores and were keen to make the dominance count, further goals from Cory Flynn and Steven Carrig and some well taken points from the cultured boot of Anthony O’Shaugnessy hepled Ballysteen to a commanding lead at half time, 3-9 to 1-2.
The second half continued to see Ballysteen dominate and an early Conor Barry goal ensured there would be no St Senans revival. Mark Murphy was once again flawless with his frees and extended our lead before substitute Packie Neville added a fifth and final goal. Jack Neville also contributed to the scoring with a well taken point. St.Senans did rally towards the end of the game with two late goals but Ballysteen were never in danger with such a commanding lead in the closing stages. Ian Ranahan in goals was called into action on one or two occasions in the final ten minutes and pulled off two outstanding saves in the dying minutes.
Overall this was an impressive performance from our juniors and 28 players were togged out on the night which is very encouraging. Everyone involved put in fine performances with outstanding performances from Cory Flynn and Barry McMahon in midfield. Upfront Conor Barry and Jack Neville showed maturity beyond their young age supported well by Mark Murphy,Anthony O’Shaugnessy and Steven Carrig while in defence Alan O’Shaugnessy,Brendan Hayes,Eamon Murphy and Declan Somers produced fine performances. From the bench Conor Enright, Emmet Whelan, Pakie Neville, Mike Griffin and David Holland all staked their claims for a more prominent role in the semi final.
Confidence will be high after registering a total of 10-25 in our past games and in particular with such an emphatic win over a team such as St Senans who would have been one of the favourites to win the title. It is important the team drive on from here and repeat this performance which showed that this team is well capable of making a west final.
Team & Scorers: I.Ranahan,A.O’Shaugnessy,E.