Valleymount overcome Shilleagh/Coolboy challenge
Fitzgerald Kitchens Junior A Football Championship: Valleymount 0-10 S'lagh/C'boy 0-7
Valleymount overcame their toughest test yet in the Junior A Championship as they defeated one of their main rivals, Shillelagh/Coolboy by three points in Baltinglass on Saturday.
After having comfortably defeating Aughrim and Blessington in their opening clashes, Sean O'Sullivan's side knew a win here would put them in good stead for the remainder of the championship.
Shillelagh/Coolboy opened the scoring early on off the right boot of Jonny Smyth after some nice play by Brendan Behan.
Valleymount's James Fitzpatrick had his sides first real chance soon after as he twisted and turned through the opposition's defence, but his strike was well parried away by Laurie Cullen. Goalkeeper Paul Miley grabbed his side's first score from the 45 line.
Valleymount began to grow stronger as they've continuously shown this season with Stephen Flanagan and Liam Miley instrumental in their play, with the latter pointing beautifully off his left to give his side the lead before Jack Miley got his first score.
It wasn't long before the side playing in maroon and blue got back on the scoreboard as Jonny Smyth popped up with his second, proving this could well be a tight encounter. Jack Miley restored his side's two-point lead from a tight angle.
Valleymount continued in this vein as Gary Walsh and Jack Miley stretched their lead out to four. It was a struggle for John Smith's side to get up the field and manufacture opportunities of their own during this tricky stage.
Midfielders Gary Walsh and Liam Miley were an integral part of all things good in Valleymount's play with their whole-hearted commitment to the shirt evident throughout the match.
Mick Richardson was a surprise name on the team sheet to give his side a five-point lead before Wayne Kinsella stuck over a free to end Shillelagh/Coolboy's drought and leave the scores at 7 points to 3 going into the interval.
The side behind at half time were finding it tough going forward but the credit must go to the Valleymount full-back line consisting of Richardson, Shane Browne and Tadgh Miley who stayed strong throughout.
Wayne Kinsella opened his side's second half account with a close range free as he began to get opportunities. But it wasn't long before Valleymount kicked on again as substitute Glen Cullen stuck over a beauty off the upright.
Every time it looked as though Shillelagh/Coolboy were beginning to get a grip hold, Valleymount would claw their way back. The big chance for John Smith's side came midway through the half as a looping ball into the area was knocked down by Valleymount's Brian Miley but the ball fell into the path of PJ O'Keeffe, but his shot hit the crossbar and went over for a solitary score. A massive let off for Valleymount.
With the gap now just three, Shillelagh/Coolboy were showing some more nice play and Wayne Kinsella finally got his first score from play to further close this gap. It was beginning to get nervy for the team in red and white. This gap was eventually close to one as Cathal Murphy stuck one over off the deck.
The game was getting tenser and tenser by the minute.
Valleymount did however show guts to keep their head up and maintain their lead as James Fitzpatrick put over a free to give them a two-point cushion before Adam Condon put over a beast of a score to round off their scoring to cue a Valleymount roar.
But the drama wasn't over, a free was awarded to Shillelagh/Coolboy in the dying stages. They needed a goal to level the scores.
They piled men forward as Jonny Smyth floated the ball in. Wayne Kinsella got his hand to it, attempted to palm towards goal, but Paul Miley in the Valleymount goal reached high to somehow claw the ball away to the amaze of the supporters.
That was it and it was a first defeat for the amalgamated club in the championship as they still have to face Aughrim and Blessington while Valleymount face the bottom two clubs Kilbride/Lacken and Hollywood.
Final Score: Valleymount 0-10; Shillelagh/Coolboy 0-7
Scorers - Valleymount: Gary Walsh 0-2, Jack Miley 0-2, Paul Miley 0-1, Liam Miley 0-1, Mick Richardson 0-1, James fitzpatrick 0-1, Glen Cullen 0-1, Adam Condon 0-1. Shillelagh/Coolboy: Wayne Kinsella 0-3, Jonathon Smyth 0-2, PJ O'Keeffe 0-1, Cathal Murphy 0-1.
Valleymount: Paul Miley; Shane Browne, Mick Richardson, Tadgh Miley; Robbie Behan, Jamie Miley, William Kavanagh; Gary Walsh, Liam Miley Stephen Flanagan, Brian Flynn, Jack Miley; Brian Miley, James Fitzpatrick, Steven Byrne. Subs: Glen Cullen for Flynn; Adam Condon for Richardson.
Shillelagh/Coolboy: Laurie Cullen; Daire Foley, Shaun Carroll, Garret Gregan; Jonathon Smyth, Patrick Hennessy, Aaron Kinsella; Dan Nolan, Cathal Murphy; PJ Mulhall, Michael Gregan, PJ O'Keeffe; Wayne Kinsella, Johnny Willoughby, Brendan Behan. Subs: Gary Murphy for Willoughby; James Gregan for O'Keeffe.
Referee: Eamonn Doyle