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Absolute cracker between St Nicholas and AGB in Minor football championship

Both teams put on a superb football show


St Nicholas, who secured top spot in the MFC ‘A’ championship table with this thoroughly entertaining victory over AGB in Pearse’s Park.

St Nicholas, who secured top spot in the MFC ‘A’ championship table with this thoroughly entertaining victory over AGB in Pearse’s Park.

AGB, who played their part in a thrilling encounter with St Nicholas.

AGB, who played their part in a thrilling encounter with St Nicholas.


St Nicholas, who secured top spot in the MFC ‘A’ championship table with this thoroughly entertaining victory over AGB in Pearse’s Park.


St Nicholas 2-17

AGB 4-9

A thrilling football match between two excellent teams took place in Pearse’s Park in Arklow last Saturday evening and those fortunate enough to have watched it can only have a real sense of hope for the future of the game in the county.
Home side AGB welcomed high-flying St Nicholas to Pearse’s Park for this top-of-the-table Minor football championship clash with the reverse fixture in early August seeing St Nicholas inflict the first defeat of the campaign on AGB (2-9 to 2-8).
And what unfolded was a truly excellent football game, showcasing a very high standard of skills and scoring as two teams went at it hammer and tongs over the course of an hour of fierce and fantastic football.
Both teams are blessed with an abundance of physically impressive athletes, many of whom look to be in excellent condition. Both teams possess naturally gifted footballers who play quality, heads up football and appear to be excellently coached and well prepared for successful club and county careers all going well.
This was a game that could have went either way in the end but it was that extra scoring power of St Nicholas that got them over the line against an AGB side who showed a real appetite for goals and hurting their opponents on the counter.
Of all the stand-out performers of the day across both sides, St Nicholas full-forward Sean Doyle grabbed the attention more than most, especially in the first half. Some of the scores he produced were of an exceptionally high standard, so much so that AGB were forced to take action in the second half, bringing Padriaic Bermingham back to cut out the supply to Doyle and the AGB defender done so very well for the most part.
AGB hit hard and fast early doors when Niall Dempsey rampaged up the field, collected a ball from Brian Hurley and lashed home in their first attack. St Nicholas had created two chances at the other end but had racked up two wides.
But the visitors settled after this setback and a rapid 1-2 from Sean Doyle put them very much in the driving seat with AGB struggling to live with their wickedly direct football. Doyle started with a pointed free for a foul on Cian Deering, added a beauty from play after Deering had won the AGB kick-out and then punched home to the back of Sean Murphy’s net after Adam Byrne had made a mark from the AGB restart and walloped it long to Doyle who was looking unmarkable even at this early stage although Daire Furlong was doing his living best in that regard.
AGB were in all sorts of bother after eight minutes when Cian Deering blazed home to the back of the net. Much of AGB’s problems were coming from their kick-outs as St Nicholas were mopping up loose ball. This time it was Eoin Sheridan who gathered, fired long to Conor Manifold, he slipped it to Doyle who fed Deering and bang, back of the net, 2-3 to 0-1.
Doyle delivered a beauty off his left to add to that lead for St Nicholas, but AGB almost had a second major moments later when Paidi Kavanagh’s shot for goal was diverted over for a point by James Walshe.
AGB were growing into the game more and more and Conor Gahan pointed to make it 2-4 to 1-2 after 13 but it was Sean Doyle who would grab the last score of the quarter, a stunner off that wand of a left boot to leave it 2-5 to 1-2.
The home side were right back in the game after the restart when Sam Butler lobbed Walshe in the St Nicholas goal for an outstanding major and huge boost for a hard-working AGB side.
Things got even better for AGB when Patrick O’Halloran embarked on a voyage that ended with him lashing home to the back of the St Nicholas net to bring the home side back to within a point of St Nicholas, 2-6 to 3-2.
An outstanding score from Sean Doyle pushed St Nicholas clear by two and the full-forward’s work was being complimented by a superb performance from Matt Miley who would lash over from a tight angle moments later as you literally couldn’t take your eyes off the action for a second.
St Nicholas looked to be pulling away again as the first half wore on with points from Eoin Sheridan and deadly Doyle, but this AGB team are a quality side and Niall Dempsey literally burned his man before firing home to the back of the net to make it 2-10 to 4-2.
A word for Ciaran Geoghegan of St Nicholas as well who had thwarted an AGB assault on his goal moments earlier. This young man looks to have all the qualities to play football at the highest level.
AGB then suffered a blow when centre back Sean McCarthy was forced off through injury. He was replaced by Kyle Kelly who went on to have a fine game.
Concerns over Sean Doyle prompted AGB to place Bermingham in front of him in the second half and this helped the home side in a significant way for a time.
Points were traded early on, Conn Kinsella from a free for AGB, Conor Manifold with a sublime finish to a class move involving eight St Nicholas players. AGB brought in Aaron O’Brien for Oran Dunning and sent Dean Kelly-Farrell into full-forward on the very capable Liam Metcalfe.
At the second water break St Nicholas led by 2-13 to 4-4 and you couldn’t call it given the standard of football being played and threat posed by both midfields and attacks.
AGB had it down to a one-point game shortly after the restart thanks to two wicked scores, the first from Conn Kinsella, the second from Niall Dempsey but St Nicholas always seemed able to work a retaliation score when required, and the next one came from Matt Miley from a free to leave it 2-14 to 4-6.
AGB had a goal chance saved when Conor Gahan’s flick was kept out and when Eoin Sheridan stroked over a stunner you felt that the momentum was with the visitors.
Brian Hurley scored a savage point after good work from Padriaic Bermingham who made a mark from the St Nicholas kick-out, but they missed a free immediately afterwards and had an effort half blocked down as well at a crucial juncture.
AGB then produced a stunning few minutes of play that really lifted the home supporters. A pointed free from Conn Kinsella and then another made it 2-15 to 4-9 and the game was there for the taking.
But that ability of St Nicholas to retaliate at the right time came to the fore in the closing stages with tremendous scores from Eoin Sheridan and Matt Miley while an AGB goal chance was saved in between.
2-17 to 4-9 it finished in favour of St Nicholas who now top the MFC ‘A’ table. This was a hugely impressive game of football, refereed superbly by John Keenan. You couldn’t help but be hopeful with talent like this coming through.
AGB: Sean Murphy; Chris O’Brien, Daire Furlong, Oisin Wood; Niall Dempsey (2-2), Sean McCarthy, Padriaic Bermingham; Conor Gahan (0-1), Patrick O’Halloran (1-0); Paidi Kavanagh (0-1), Sam Butler (1-0), Dean Kelly-Farrell; Brian Hurley (0-1), Oran Dunning, Conn Kinsella (0-4, 2f). Subs: Kyle Kelly for S McCarthy (29, inj), Aaron O’Brien for O Dunning, Oran Kelly for O Wood, Roan Freehill.
St Nicholas: James Walshe; Luke Bagnall, Liam Metcalfe, James Flood; Ciaran Geoghegan, Sean O’Sullivan, Ross Sheridan; Oisin O’Freil, Jack Keogh; Adam Byrne, Cian Deering (1-0), Eoin Sheridan (0-3); Matt Miley (0-5, 1f), Sean Doyle (1-6, 1f), Conor Manifold (0-2, 1f). Subs: John Doyle, Robert Murtagh
Referee: John Keenan (Aughrim)

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