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Late strikes give Thomas Ashe final say

TWO goals in the final seven minutes helped Thomas Ashe overcome a battling Clan na Gael Fontenoy by 3-8 to 2-7 in their Dublin U16 Football League Division 5 final in Garristown last Saturday afternoon.

With the contest delicately poised after a stunning Clanns second-half comeback, Brian Shanahan raced through the heart of the visitor's defence to strike an unerring finish to the net with Gareth Hickey netting three minutes later to effectively settle the tie. The amalgamation of St Margaret's and Garristown (Thomas Ashe) started impressively thanks to two points from Stephen Sutton, and a sixth-minute Hickey goal pushed the hosts five points clear with the visitors struggling in the initial exchanges.

Slowly but surely the Ringsend lads began to show their true form with Ross Maher kicking two excellent points and a wonderful save from James Whelan ensuring they trailed by just 1-5 to 0-2 at the interval.

Despite falling further behind upon the restart to a brace of Shanahan points, Clan na Gael were a different proposition and narrowed their deficit to just a point, thanks largely to an inspirational display from captain Tomo Walsh.

Austin Dodd and David Meenan began enjoying plenty of possession in midfield with Walsh, Dean Piley and Maher all chipping in with crucial scores. However, Ashe settled sufficiently through the efforts of Craig Doyle, Conor Hickey, Conor Gilligan and centre-back James Hempenstall to claim a four-point win, much to the pleasure of team manager Finbarr Shanahan.

"It was a great match today. The lads have trained really hard all year and they got their just rewards today. It has been a good year for the amalgamation of both clubs," said Shanahan.