THOMAS Ashe, the combination of St Margarets and Garristown, finally got their hands on the Under-16 Division 5 league title after a long campaign dating back to last February.
THOMAS ASHE 3-8 CLANN NA GAEL FONTENOY 2-7
Having topped their league by eight points they had to overcome Parnells in a replayed semi-final before accounting for a strong Clann na Gael outfit in this thrilling decider played before a large crowd under the lights in Garristown. The Fingal boys were quick out of the blocks, dominating play throughout the field, and Steven Sutton kicked two fine frees before Ciaran Duffy set up Gareth Hickey for a good goal after 10 minutes. Gradually the Clans found their feet and answered with some good scores, but Brian Shanahan landed a fine point from way out on the right and further points from Shanahan and Hickey saw Thomas Ashe lead by six points at half-time. When Shanahan landed another point from out the country things looked rosy for the hosts, but they failed to score for the next 18 minutes, during which they conceded four unanswered points and a rather sloppy goal and may have been in further trouble but for the sterling work of their half back line James Hempenstall, Craig Doyle and Conor Hickey. It was now a level game, but the home team were lifted when a massive catch from Hempenstall eventually led to Scott Shire lifting the seige with a fine point. Clans answered with a good score of their own, but following the introduction of some fresh legs Thomas Ashe and the resurgent Conor Gilligan steadied the ship with eight minutes of the second half on the clock. Shanahan gathered a fine pass from Kelvin Ennis and strode purposely foward, and having evaded some heavy challenges and availing of good advantage from the referee he buried the ball in the bottom corner of the net. Shanahan followed this by landing a 45 and the home crowd was in full voice when Hickey finished a great move with a wonder goal. The game was finally up for the visitors and thanks to some resolute defending Thomas Ashe saw out the remaining minutes comfortably, although the visitors did manage a consolation goal on the final whistle. Thomas Ashe were deserving winners and achieved the victory despite having to field without regulars Caolan Sexton and Riain O'Donovan, and Garriston club stalwart Eddie Battersby presented the trophy to joint captains Steven Sutton and Scott Shire to kick-start the celebrations.