Knockbeg pipped by Good Counsel
Published 18/02/2014 | 05:24
THE national football leagues as usual started off this year in their typical slow, wintery style and so when the schools competitions get toward the business end of their championship they are quite a breath of fresh air.
Two brilliantly talented sides met in Crettyard on Saturday afternoon and put on a display worthy of viewing in GAA headquarters. In the dying seconds the game could have gone either way and a replay wouldn't have been unfair either but ultimately Good Counsel held on for a superb one point win.
There were three candidates for man of the match and there could be no questioning their nomination.
Both goalkeepers, Good Counsels Adam Diskin and Knockbeg's Daniel Bolger were absolutely outstanding throughout and although there were five goals in the game, only for the keepers there would have been twice or three times that. There were seven point blank saves in the first half between the two keepers and while it could be suggested that poor shooting was to blame, that was not the case, simply, Bolger and Diskin were in top form.
The third nominee was the man that in hindsight deserved the accolade, and that was Good Counsels Sean Ryan.
The full forward was exceptional for his side showing the deftest of touches and a clever head. His scores and his display of passing were huge parts of the Wexford win.
Good Counsel raced into a five point lead before there were 20 minutes gone and yet it didn't quell the loud, entertaining and boisterous support of the Knockbeg students who with the help of a badhran and a few soccer style chants kept all spirits up in the Crettyard stand.
Adam Swan and John Walsh kicked the opening scores for the Wexford side before Sean Ryan added two great scores of his own and between those two raised a white flag. Three blinding saves followed before finally Knockbeg got on the scoreboard through Cathal Dunne.
Two more outstanding saves followed, one at either end, before Hugh Nolan got a second for Knockbeg. Sean Ryan was really in great form however and he firstly pointed a free and then sent over a superb effort in the next play and Good Counsel were back to a five point lead.
Knockbeg were competing with a strong wind in the first half and they rallied in the closing stages and a brilliant 1-1 from Dunne left the gap at just one point, 0-7 to 1-3.
The Wexford side needed a good start to the second half and they couldn't have had a better one when Donnacha O'Connor got through on goal and dispatched expertly. Counsel couldn't have been prepared for what came next though as Aaron O'Gorman pointed for Knockbeg and then less than a minute later after a goalmouth scramble, a Knockbeg forward poked the ball to the net and it was game on. Three points followed, two from Hugh Nolan for Knockbeg and one for Sean Ryan and the sides were level with 20 minutes to play. Counsel made a few changes and they made the difference as they scored 1-3 on the trot. The goal really and truly, on the day he was having, could only come from Sean Ryan and his finish was sublime.
In the final ten minutes nerves got the better of both teams and possession turnovers were plentiful . Daniel O'Reilly pulled a score back for Knockbeg and Hugh Nolan added two frees to leave just three points between the teams.
Disaster struck for Knockbeg next and Hugh Nolan was sent off on a straight red card for an apparent strike and Counsel were able to capitalise and Donnacha O'Connor used the outside of the boot to make it a four point gap, then finally, in the dying seconds Ciaran Lawler pulled on a breaking ball for Knockbeg that crashed to the Counsel net. The Wexford men held on though despite having their own man, Lar O'Sullivan sent off on a second yellow but time was up and Counsel were in the semi final.