U16 Div1 Football Championship Final Naas 6-23 Kilcullen 2-05   12/09/2017

U16 Division 1 Championship Final

Naas 6-23
Kilcullen 2-05

This all-conquering Naas U16 team came to St Conleth's today determined to add the U16 championship to their list of achievements, and despite a tricky opening 5 minutes, went on to totally dominate the game with their fluent football style.

The conditions could at best be described as autumnal with sun, a strong cross wind and a few heavy showers. This game started with a serious pace to it. Kilcullen were straight into the game and their attack after 2 minutes led to Naas wing back Paddy Kelly receiving a harsh black card for a marginally late tackle - a shame to see a 15 year old dismissed in such a big game in this manner. Paddy was replaced by Shane Coffey who did a great job in Paddy's absence. Another card, this time yellow, on Paddy McDermott for a little push had the sideline excited, but an early point for Dermot Hannafin, a left foot shot to the net by Tom Brown and 3 quick points from Sam Morrissey had Naas ahead 1-04 to no score after 10 minutes.

Eamon Dunne was detailed to pick up Kilcullen danger man Paudie Behan from the start and Jack Cleary played in a deeper role, with both lads on top throughout. The Naas wingbacks were on the ball a lot and moved the ball quickly. Great work by Alex Beirne out in the middle led to another Naas goal - finished by Sam Morrissey following lovely inter passing. A Sam Morrissey fisted point, left footers from Hanafin and Browne, before Paddy McDermott again finished to the net to make the score 3-07 to nil with 22 minutes played. Kilcullen were guilty of kicking 4 balls short into David Morrissey in the goal and each led to a Naas counter-attack, with Mark Maguire and Conor McGroary available to take quick ball.

At this stage Naas were dominant across every line of the pitch. Alex Beirne added 2 points, 1 from a well struck 45, and Paddy McDermott pointed to make it 3-10. Naas were then penalised 60 yards out, and the ball moved forward for backchat. Kilcullen took it quickly, with Paudie Behan latching onto it 25 yards out and blasting on the run to the roof of the net leaving David Morrissey with no chance. A great finish. However, Naas won the resultant kick out, worked it quickly up the field, with Jamie Osborne drilling a left foot shot inside the right hand post to the net for an immediate response. Kilcullen got the next kick out, and a high ball into the Naas square was contested by a bunch of players To everyones surprise, the referee awarded a penalty, which David Morrissey duly saved, with the deflection going over for a point. Half time- Naas 4-10 Kilcullen 1-01.

The message at half time was to maintain the same gameplan - move the ball quickly, work hard, ignore the referee, keep focussed. The message was taken on board - Jack Carroll struck a nice point, Alex Beirne followed up with another, before Paddy McDermott sprinted in from the left and rifled a shot into the top right corner for goal number 5. Jamie, Sam and Alex raised 3 more white flags before the Kilcullen substitute Scott Fleming finished a breaking ball to the net - the score at this stage Naas 5-15 to 2-01. Kilcullen's left half back hit a good point, as the the right corner back. However, Dan Woulfe, on for Jack Carroll, responded by getting on the end of a good pass and coolly finished goal number 6.

Late points from Tom Browne and Jamie Osborne finished out the scoring with the 30 winning margin far greater than anticipated. The platform for the win was the Naas defence and midfield where the stats show the Naas dominance in winning breaking ball and kick outs, and the forwards who were accurate all day, working hard for each other and playing at pace. David Morrissey's kick out almost always found a Naas player and the turnover count was low.

This group of players have had an incredible few years - September 2014 marks the last time they lost a league or championship match, away to Athy 3 years ago. They have won all before them since including the U13, U14, U15 and U16 championships, and the U14 and 16 Leagues. Liam McCormack, Lead Mentor, and everyone associated with the team thank them for their dedication, attitude and the sheer fun that they have provided us down the years.

A big thank you to all the parents for your support and understanding also. Thank you also Cyril Kevlihan for your calm advice this year and the impact you have made. As mentors it has been a pleasure being associated with the group. Its only a few years since they were in the football nursery with Tommy and we now look forward to watching them stick together and keep this run going at Minor and eventually Senior level. Nás Abu.

Scorers: Paddy McDermott 2-05, Sam Morrissey 1-05, Tom Browne and Jamie Osborne 1-03, Alex Beirne 0-04, Dan Woulfe 1-00, Dermot Hannifin 0-02, Jack Carroll 0-01.

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