Wednesday 20 March 2019

Seniors suffer agonising loss after late, late goal

Top Oil Leinster Post-Primary Schools SFC 'A': Moate C.S. 2-6 Good Counsel 1-6

Alan Aherne

The cruel hand of fate intervened at the death to deny a deserved share of the spoils for Good Counsel (New Ross) in this galling one-goal loss to Moate Community School in Group C of the Top Oil Leinster Post-Primary Schools Senior football 'A' championship in rain-soaked Geraldine Park, Athy, on Wednesday.

Nobody would have quibbled with a draw at the end of this low-scoring but keenly-fought clash played in miserable weather conditions on a heavy surface.

However, that likelihood ended with five minutes and ten seconds of added time played when Moate substitute Conor Bracken delivered a cross just below crossbar height that was palmed to the net from very close range by substitute Roan Sweeney.

Referee Brendan Hickey consulted with his youthful neutral umpires and, with Counsel mentors and players appealing for a free out, they were dismayed to see the green flag being raised after some brief deliberations.

It was a sickening way to lose a game, but it now paints a very clear picture as to what is required from the Barrowsiders in their final group game this week.

Moate are safely through as they had already beaten fellow Westmeath side St. Joseph's of Rochfortbridge by 2-13 to 1-10, so it's a straight knockout now for the second qualifying spot between the latter school and Counsel.

The blue and whites struggled for first-half scores on Wednesday, as they were restricted to a brace of points from corner-forward Adam Sinnott (play and free) in the fifth and tenth minutes respectively.

Aaron Nugent had registered in between for Moate from a placed ball, and they hit 1-3 without reply in the second quarter to establish a 1-4 to 0-2 interval lead.

The goal arrived in the 17th minute when another Nugent free broke off netminder Seán McCormack into the path of Adam Donohue who palmed the rebound to the net from close range.

Donohue and Nugent (two frees) widened the gap to five by the break, and Moate were first to strike on the re-start when influential centre-back Ian Daly lofted over another free to make it 1-5 to 0-2.

However, Good Counsel are famed for their fighting spirit, and it manifested itself over the next nine minutes as they got back on level terms by striking an unanswered 1-3.

The excellent Jack Kehoe was a driving force in the number six jersey, and his turnover and subsequent soccer-style pass by Cathal Doyle set up the accurate Adam Sinnott for his third point.

Midfielder Pádraig Dempsey, a Kilkenny county Minor hurler last year, claimed a mark from the kick-out, and a long drive towards the town end goal picked out corner-forward Doyle who calmly slotted the ball to the net (1-5 to 1-3).

It was very much game on after that tonic score, and a superb solo point by Jack Kehoe was followed in the 41st minute by Emmet Cullen's left-footed leveller from an Eoin Ryan pass.

The scores dried up thereafter as the constant rain persisted, with Aaron Nugent's fourth successful free restoring the Moate lead in the 49th minute.

Adam Sinnott responded with the best point of the game off his left peg four and a half minutes later, and that's how it remained until Moate pounced for that late, late goal.

The losers' top scorer did have two more difficult opportunities afterwards, but one kick fell short while a free went to the left of the posts after being brought forward for dissent.

Moate kicked their seventh wide (the same tally as the losers), while goalkeeper Seán McCormack palmed away a dangerous delivery by Matthew Farrell before he was unfortunate to be beaten by that close-range finish.

Nearly two more minutes were played after the goal, but Counsel couldn't break down a packed defence as they suffered another loss to the school that ended their interest at the semi-final stage in 2017 on a 1-9 to 0-8 scoreline.

Good Counsel: Seán McCormack (Bannow-Ballymitty); Pádraig Bailey (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Tommy Ryan (Gusserane, capt.), Páraic Wickham (Adamstown); Eoin Dunne-Codd (Gusserane), Jack Kehoe (Horeswood, 0-1), Eoin Ryan (Gusserane); Emmet Cullen (Gusserane, 0-1), Pádraig Dempsey (Mullinavat); Rory O'Connor (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Darragh Kent (Horeswood), A.J. Redmond (Rathnure); Adam Sinnott (Taghmon-Camross, 0-4, 1 free), Seán O'Connor (Rathnure), Cathal Doyle (Taghmon-Camross, 1-0). Subs. - Dylan Whelan (Fethard) for Kent (41), Jamie Sheehan (Gusserane) for S. O'Connor (47), Conor McGee (Clongeen) for R. O'Connor (53), Stephen Casserly (Cloughbawn) for Dunne-Codd, inj. (55), Richie Aylward (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for E. Ryan, inj. (58).

Moate C.S.: James Clavin; Adam Mullins, Daniel Ennis, Ciarán Maxwell; Ben O'Brien, Ian Daly (0-1 free), Matthew Farrell; Hugh Owens, Neil Clinton; Luke Buckley, Adam Turley, Aaron Nugent (0-4 frees); Roan Sweeney (1-0), Owen McCabe, Adam Donohue (1-1). Subs. - Aaron Keane for McCabe, inj. (8), Philip King for Buckley, black card (HT), Conor Bracken for Turley (55), Mikey Lynam for Owens, inj. (60+4).

Referee: Brendan Hickey (Kildare).

New Ross Standard