U14 Football Division 3 Shield Final

Ballinacurra Gaels v Shannon Gaels

The most unexpected of final appearances for Ballinacurra Gaels in their first year back at U14 Football in some time saw them travel to Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale to face Shannon Gaels. With great support on the sidelines, joint captains Tola Bowen McCurtin & Bill Hannon led their team out aware of the challenge they faced but confident they had the firepower to match them.

Shannon Gaels won the toss and elected to play with the very strong breeze in the first half. This proved vital as the game unfolded with Shannon Gaels building up a sizeable lead in the first half and Ballinacurra Gaels just unable to clear their lines often enough to work any real scoring opportunities. Goalkeeper Charlie Lane and his defence could not be faulted for effort but with even bouncing balls clearing the crossbar it proved a very frustrating first half.

The second half was a completely different affair however and Ballinacurra Gaels roared back into contention showing all the skill, courage and work-rate they had displayed to get this far. An early goal from Eoghan Vukovic followed quickly by a well taken point from the impressive Oisin Quinlivan brought the crowd – and the very vocal bench – to life. Half-time substitute Jed O’Dwyer reminded those watching what he is capable of when fully fit and drilled a superb goal home from his own driving run. The outstanding Sean Fitzpatrick also returning from injury added another point and it suddenly felt like anything was possible.

Shannon Gaels were genuinely rattled but their quality and experience began to show as they regained their composure and added a couple more scores to extend their lead again. Jed O’Dwyer and Sean Fitzpatrick added a brace of points before late substitute Tiernan Dunne replicated what his coaches had seen in training and arrived at exactly the right time to smash home what was to be our final score of the day.

Our congratulations to Shannon Gaels – worthy winners – and we thank their coaches for the kind words in the dressing room afterwards. Ballinacurra Gaels manager Eoin Buckley reminded those involved that we had come from seven boys at the first training session to a panel of twenty-seven for the final and that his only regret was that he could not give game time to them all. He thanked selectors Dan Downes & Darren Stapleton and also first aid Eileen Hannon.

Commiserations to all players on the Ballinacurra Gaels team, they should feel very proud for what they have achieved in such a short space of time and are a credit to their parents and the two clubs. Management & selectors alike look forward to regrouping in the spring and hope that all the boys will return for 2020.

Team Photo

Back row (Starting 15 L-R) Sean Enright, Harry Cummins, Rory Watts, Tola Bowen McCurtin (j-capt), Oisin Quinlivan, Paul Franklin, Sean Fitzpatrick, Eoghan Vukovic, Marcus O’Donoghue, Fionn Casserly, Mark Stapleton, Colin O’Neill, Sam Connolly, Luke Ryan, Charlie Lane

Front row (L-R) Eoin Prendergast, Paddy Ryan, Dan LeGear, Jack Downes, Jed O’Dwyer, Joe Buckley, Bill Hannon (j-capt), Tiernan Dunne, Amir AlMukhtar, Roan O’Mahony, Fergus Bell

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