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Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan’s 2-8 Blackwater 1-6

BLACKWATER’S EARLY second-half misfortune from a re-taken penalty was a significant moment as visitors Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s battled to Saturday’s Panda Under-19 football Division 1 championship Group B victory in a feisty affair.

Blackwater were adrift by just 1-6 to 1-5 when a foot-block on a low goaling effort by Jay Mooney yielded a penalty.

While ’keeper James Wright saved from Ollie Murphy, the penalty was ordered to be re-taken after the netminder was spotted leaving his line early.

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But the usually prolific Murphy sliced the subsequent opportunity right and wide, and an eventful duel – with both sides being reduced to 14 players –saw Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s ultimately clinch it with an injury-time goal from full-forward Dan Kelly.

The outcome of this pivotal fixture between the only one hundred per cent sides in the division means the winners are home to HWH-Bunclody in the semi-final whereas Blackwater must head to Castletown. Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s demonstrated huge character in overcoming a nightmare start.

Indeed, following a pointed free from Blackwater captain Seamus Walsh after 38 seconds, the visitors shipped a freak goal when Jimmy Whelan’s connection on a cross from Jay Mooney saw the ball loop into the net in the second minute (1-1 to nil).

But not a single feather seemed to have been ruffled amongst the visitors as they responded to dominate much of the half.

Only a few wides prevented Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s from asserting on the scoresheet as a couple of Kyle Rankin frees and a mark from Dan Kelly shaved the gap to 1-1 to 0-3 by the 17th minute.

Although defender Jamie Lambert and Seamus Walsh helped Blackwater lead by 1-3 to 0-4, the game took its first decisive turn in the 27th minute when Dan Kelly used his strength to feed Evan Cullen who located Lee Kelly to net for a 1-4 to 1-3 transformation.

And a closing exchange by the respective free-takers left the score reading 1-5 to 1-4 at the break.

Then, after those dead-ball shooters again traded on the restart, the next decisive twist came with that wasted penalty for Blackwater.

A lead-enhancing Kyle Rankin submission from play on 38 minutes proved the only score during a lengthy score-shy albeit eventful period. Indeed, Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s lost Daniel Devereux to a red card in the 48th minute for a challenge on Adam O’Connor, shortly after the Blackwater number three had been switched up front to try to assist a struggling attack.

Ollie Murphy was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure as Blackwater floundered up front.

After Seamus Walsh brilliantly clawed the ball from the air to peg it back to 1-7 to 1-6 on 51 minutes, he inexplicably was wide from a scoreable free moments later.

And Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s lifted the siege for Kyle Rankin to boost them with a pointed free forced by Dan Kelly on 56 minutes (1-8 to 1-6).

Blackwater still had their chances, but they kept fluffing their lines. And Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s stole up field a minute into added-time when captain Johnny Kelly played the ball up the right wing to Dan Kelly in the corner, from where he hared in along the endline before netting.

Simmering tensions spilled over seconds later into a mass melee which led to the goal-scorer earning a yellow card while Blackwater defender Rian Sammon was dismissed on a second booking.

Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s: James Wright; Eoin Kehoe, Jake Cleary, Seán Denton; Matt Wickham, Daniel Devereux, Oisín Lyons; Johnny Kelly (capt.), Oisín Meyler; Evan Cullen, Kyle Rankin (0-7, 6 frees), Kurt Cleary; Aaron Newport, Dan Kelly (1-1, 0-1 mark), Lee Kelly (1-0). Sub. – J.J. Ellard for Meyler, inj. (25).

Blackwater: Adam Cullen; Aidan Malanowski, Adam O’Connor, Rian Sammon; Jamie Lambert (0-1), Brian Óg Curran, Ronan Malanowski; Ollie Murphy, Ciarán Cash; Joe Rossiter, Jason Wallace, Eugene Clarke; Jay Mooney, Seamus Walsh (capt., 0-5, 3 frees), Jimmy Whelan (1-0). Subs. – Callum Mooney for Rossiter, inj. (14), Ultan O’Reilly for Wallace (38).

Referee: Paddy Brady (Réalt na Mara).


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