Naomh Bríd grab the spoils in brilliant final

U17 Division 4 championship final

Naomh Bríd 5-11

Drumgoon 5-10

Naomh Bríd came through by the narrowest of margins in this thrilling Farnham Arms Hotel U17 Division 4 Championship final at Kingspan Breffni.

The Drumalee-Redhills amalgamation turned in a super performance, full of fine attacking football, but were pushed all the way by the Eire Ógs who also played some terrific stuff in a free-flowing contest which was a fine advertisement for underage football both in the county and in the three clubs involved.

Both sides came into the final off the back of big wins at the penultimate stage. Naomh Bríd had seen off Southern Gaels (Lacken-Gowna) by 5-13 to 1-3 in their semi-final at Killygarry and with Drumgoon having defeated Ballyhaise on a similar scoreline (5-13 to 0-4), a close decider was expected between two well-coached sides who clearly knew how to find the net.

And that was exactly how it transpired as the teams went toe-to-toe and produced a memorable epic which ebbed and flowed and was in doubt right till the final whistle.

A Ben Crosby goal for Naomh Bríd as the game entered injury time left four between the sides but the drama was to continue right to the final whistle in this truly entertaining final in Kingspan Breffni.

In a game that swung like a pendulum, Drumgoon started the brightest with Darragh Lynch pointing after 30 seconds. The powerful Drumgoon captain Dean Carroll soon showed his ability as he broke through for the game’s first goal with just three minutes played.

Jack Dunne then showed leadership for Naomh Bríd as he grabbed his side’s first score in the form of a three-pointer. With space plentiful and attacks on top, scoring chances came quickly and in the seventh minute Niall Young put the Drumalee/Redhills side in front with another major.

The frantic exchanges continued as Drumgoon replied with a goal from Shane Shalvey and an Oisin Pepper point but two points at the other end from Ben Crosby and Jack Dunne left the sides level at the first water break.

After play resumed, Dean Carroll sent over a free to edge Drumgoon in front but Naomh Bríd were ready to pounce. Niall Young levelled the sides followed by a super point from Padraig Smith under pressure to regain the lead for Naomh Bríd.

Keeping the momentum on their side, Ben Crosby and Niall Young sent over points before Naomh Bríd captain Dean Sherlock hit the back of the net to hand the eventual winners a six-point lead. As first half injury time began, Ryan Conroy sent over a free for Drumgoon but the final say of the half fell to Jack Dunne who sent over from long range to leave the half-time score 3-7 to 2-4 in favour of Naomh Bríd.

The tone for an eventful second period was set just two minutes into the second half when Drumgoon took advantage of a slip in the Naomh Bríd defence and Ryan Conroy squared to Shane Shalvey for a tap-in goal and soon another Dean Carroll free from 40 metres saw the gap closed to two points.

Man of the match Dara Byrne converted a free for Naomh Bríd but it didn’t stop Drumgoon’s momentum. Oisín Pepper’s right-footed shot from a tight angle and a short free to Ben Brennan both resulted in points, leaving just one between the sides.

Another long-range free by the reliable Dean Carroll levelled the sides for the third time before Ben Brennan gave Drumgoon the lead with 20 minutes remaining.

However, just as it appeared the Boyle Park lads might have been ready to kick for home, Jack Dunne’s third point of the day kept the score board ticking over for Naomh Bríd and just as Niall Young looked to be ready to give back the lead to Naomh Bríd, Darragh Lynch heroically dived to block his kick keeping the sides level.

Dean Carroll took off on a driving solo run before the water break and as the Naomh Bríd defenders looked to have guided him away from the danger area, he cut the ball over the bar with the in-step of his right boot.

With the fourth quarter underway, a pass from Shane Shalvey found Ben Brennan who ignored the pressure created by Ryan Somers to hit the back of the net for his side’s fourth goal.

With seven minutes remaining Jack Dunne hooked over for Naomh Bríd followed by a Dara Byrne point to leave the score 4-10 to 3-11 to Drumgoon.

But as they did at the end of the first half, Naomh Bríd saved their best for last. Ryan Smith set up the running Dara Byrne to side step and finish to the net leaving Naomh Bríd one ahead.

Byrne was then instrumental in Naomh Bríd’s final score when he intercepted a Drumgoon pass and drove forward. His shot came back to the boot of Ben Crosby who brilliantly volleyed to the top corner of the net.

Now in injury time, Drumgoon pushed forward and were awarded a penalty by referee Harry Conaty which Dean Carroll calmly slotted to the back of the net after a long delay. The tension was palpable as both sides gave it everything in the frantic dying seconds.

With the minimum between the sides there was time for one more attack but the Drumgoon effort went wide just before the final whistle sounded and Naomh Bríd held on for a great win which is just reward for their efforts.

Naomh Bríd: Kalvin Smith Corby, Kevin Heffernan, Ryan Somers, Josh Mohan, Ciaran Tayao, Dara Byrne(1-2,1f), Jack Dunne(C)(1-4), Dean Sherlock(C)(1-0), Ben Crosby(1-2), Padraig Smith(0-1), Niall Young(1-2). Subs used: Adam Mullen, Ryan Smith, Dylan Duffy. Panel: Sean Reilly, Glen Mulvaney, Connor Curran, Jamie McCracken, Daniel Mooney

Drumgoon: Peader McCabe, John McDermott, Matthew McDermott, Euan Crosson, Aaron Gaffney, Darragh Lynch (0-1), Dermott McCabe, Dean Carroll (2-4, 1-0 pen, 2f), Shane Shalvey (2-0), Ryan Conroy (0-1f), Oisin Pepper (0-2). Subs used: Ben Brennan (1-2). Panel: Philip Morris, Lee Murray, Ben McDonald, Gerry Morris, Cian O’Hare, Lee Pepper, Lyncon Pepper, Patrick Clerkin, Andrew Murray.

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