Impressive 'Bridge complete U15 double over gallant Denn

U15 Division 1 Championship final

Butlerbridge 3-7

Denn 2-6

In a repeat of this year’s league final, Butlersbridge and Denn went toe to toe on to see if Denn could spoil a ’Bridge double for the year.

With both sides having made it to the final with perfect records from the group stage and dealt with the knock-out stages where Butlersbridge beat Templeport and Cuchulainns while Denn overcome Crosserlough and Killygarry, this was poised to be a close contest – and so it proved.

Denn got off to a perfect start after two minutes when the prolific Oisin Smith placed the ball in the Butlersbridge net.

Three minutes later a well-taken Conor McCabe point was followed by Nathan Quigley’s first off his left boot which left Denn with a five-point advantage.

With their backs to the wall, the league champions needed to find a response and it was delivered after 12 minutes when Cody McCusker raised the game’s second green flag.

Having found the formula to unlock the Denn defence, Butlersbridge took control with a free from Faolán Graham leaving just one between the sides.

The ’Bridge hit the front for the first time with nine minutes remaining in the first half when Jephthah Hamuway-Omakun broke through to place the ball into the Denn net.

With momentum now firmly with Butlersbridge, they continued to attack and bagged their third goal in just over 10 minutes, with Oisin Ferguson providing the finish this time.

Denn, now trailing by five points, were in no mood to lie down and came straight back at Butlersbridge with another well-taken goal by Oisin Smith. The Crosskeys-based side then closed the gap to a single point thanks to a Nathan Quigley free but Divine Imade replied at the other end before the short whistle sounded.

With Butlersbridge leading 3-2 to 2-3 at the start of the second half, Denn came out in determined fashion. Senan Smith showed great accuracy sending over a point between a couple of yellow cards handed out by referee Adrian O’Hanlon.

Joint Butlersbridge captains Faolán Graham and Cian McConnell put up the cup. Photo by Adrian Donohoe Photography 0863716199

With seven second-half minutes played, Faolán Graham restored the ’Bridge’s two point lead with a free but just over a minute later Senan Smith cancelled it out at the other end of the field.

With scores coming fast, Graham added his third free of the night but again Denn replied with Oisin Smith sending over a point with 19 minutes remaining.

The physicality of the game went up a level as Butlersbridge were shown two yellow cards but with eight minutes to play and just one point between the sides, Denn were reduced to 14 players after a black card.

Butlersbridge used their numerical advantage to double their lead through a Faolán Graham free with five minutes to go. With the finish line in sight, Butlersbridge bolted for the line, adding two late points from Cian McConnell to seal a four-point win.

This was a high-quality final between two outstanding sides and spoke volumes about the excellent coaching going on in both clubs. On the evidence of this game, the future looks bright in both Denn and Butlersbridge.

Butlersbridge: Ehan Shah, Omo Ebrikuelue, Olaf Kot, Cormac McCabe, Jephthah Hamyway-Omakun (1-0), Excel Imade, Exceedingly Imade, Cian McConnell (0-2), Faolán Graham (0-4f), Nathan Sweeney, Odhrán Lee, Cody McCusker (1-0), Oisin Ferguson (1-0), Divine Imade (0-1), Caolan Maguire

Subs used: Cameron Morrow

Panel: Jamie Clarke, Nathan Sherlock, Sean Chung, Conor Woods, Lorcan Lynch, Euan Barry, Joshua Allison, Senan Graham.

Denn: Marc Edoaurd Libanza, Oisin Baker, Adam McManus, Christian Ashfield, Daniel Galligan, Rian Brady, Oran Smith, Finian Smith, Ronan Tierney, Conor McCabe (0-1), Senan Smith (0-2), Mark Reilly, Nathan Quigley (0-2, 1f), Eoghan Galligan, Oisin Smith (2-1)

Panel: Senan Lynch, Rian Tobin, Aaron Farrelly, Brandon Cusack, Charlie Donohoe, Peter Corr.