Junior A Football Championship – Aghada 1-12 v Fr. O’Neills 1-7
Our Junior A footballers got the 2017 championship season off to a good start when they defeated Fr. O’Neills in the 1st round, last Friday the 17th of March. Played in Killeagh, a gale force wind blew mostly across the pitch, making conditions very tricky for both teams. Aghada’s best player on the day, Mathew O’Connor, got Aghada off to a flyer. First he pointed from play after a minute. Then on 8 minutes he took off on a Messi like jinking run, beating 3 or 4 O’Neills defenders before finishing smartly to the bottom corner of the net. O’Neills pointed a placed ball after 10 minutes and then followed it up straight away with a super score from play. Aghada were on top for most of the half, with Jordan Ryan and Josh O’Donoghue tormenting the O’Neills defence. Ryan set up O’Shea for a point on 12 minutes, and 2 minutes later a great team move that started with Ciaran O’Shea in goals, ended with Josh returning the favour to put Ryan through for another fine point. The same two players tacked on another point each in the 23rd and 24th minutes and despite O’Neills kicking two fine scores from play, Aghada had a good lead of 1-5 v 0-4. On 24 minutes O’Neills cut through the Aghada defence, but Ciaran made a fine and crucial save to deny a certain goal. This scare rallied Aghada to finish the half stronger. First O’Shea and Ryan linked yet again; Ryan was fouled and Daniel Creedon pointed the free. Creedon then dispossessed an O’Neills defender before turning smartly to fire over his second. This left Aghada 1-7 v 0-4 to the good at half time.
O’Connor started the 2nd just as the 1st, and kicked a fine point 3 minutes in. Josh was fouled a minute later and Creedon again pointed. This was cancelled by a like score from O’Neills 2 minutes later. The scoreboard went quiet after this. A combination of both defences being on top and difficult windy conditions meant there wasn’t another score until the 21st minute, when O’Neills pointed another free. Next Aiden O’Connell made a great break up field from wing back and set up O’Connor for his 3rd point. This was immediately followed up by another fine score from substitute Stephen Murphy. Aghada looked to be safe, but it was O’Neills who were the dominant team by now, and were laying siege to the Aghada goal. But for unfortunate slips on a couple of occasions, they looked to be in for goals, before finally on 27 minutes they got the goal they were threatening with a bullet of a shot to the roof of the net. Aghada were not going to let this one slip, and when young Kyle O Shea drove out well from defence, he set up Mathew O’Connor for the last of his 1-4 total on the day. The last score of the game was an O’Neills free, but too little too late as they say, and Aghada were safely through the front door to the next round. Others to play well for an Aghada team fielding players from the very young to the very old! were Tommy Donoghue, Tom O’Neill, Aaron Butler and John Paul O’Connor.
Team and Scorers – Ciaran O’Shea, Aaron Butler, Kalen O’Donoghue, Kyle O’Shea, Aiden O’Connell, Kieran O’Connor, Conal Rabbitte, Will Leahy, Tom O’Neill, Mathew O’Connor (1-4), Daryel O’Brien, Josh O’Shea (0-2), Daniel Creedon (0-3, 2f), John O’Connor, Jordan Ryan (0-2, 1f). Subs Used – Stephen Murphy (0-1).