Strong second half performances sees Killavullen advance
November 19, 2023
Killavullen, with a much improved second half performance, and some positional changes, and personnel from the strong bench, saw them emerge victorious in the Q-Final of the U21B Football championship game earlier today, against Kilworth Araglen Gaels. The game was played in Doneraile, with the golden colour of the leaves in the adjoining Park, attesting that this was deep into autumn / winter. Still, the pitch was in great condition.
Killavullen opened the scoring with a lovely Kian Lane point in the 3rd minute, and went further ahead with a fine point on the run from Patrick O Grady in the sixth minute. We were living dangerously at the back though, and Conor Griffin, and Sean Palmer, both very fresh players in 2023, having been out injured for most of the season were called on all too often to make last ditch interventions, added by a great block, close in on our goals at another instance by Eoin Birchall. We did not heed the warning signs though, and gave away a cheap goal in the 14rh minute, to put Kilworth Araglen Gaels ahead. Eoin Birchall kicked a fine point for us, from distance to bring parity to the game, after a lovely pop pass to the man on his shoulder from Jamie Magner. Our opponents went back into the lead, which their general play deserved in the 24th minute from a converted free, and went further ahead, just before the interval with another free conversion. Both teams would have been disappointed with their wide count in that opening half, with Kilworth Araglen Gaels kicking some marginally more wides than Killavullen, but all too many from both sides.
Changes had to be made to effect the game, and Killavullen introduced 3 substitutes from their considerable bench, and those were very effective, as well as deploying Brian Cotter to midfield, and Jamie Magner to centre Back. Our substitutes were Mark Nagle, Colm O Mahony and Darragh O Grady, for Michael Walsh, Ian O Mahony and Colin Carey.
Seamus O Mahony scored a neat point for us, by turning quickly in a tight space, but Kilworth Araglen Gaels went back ahead again by two points, with a fine point from distance, from their midfielder. Killavullen were much more in the game at this stage, and started to run the ball out of defence, and generally work much harder around the field. They got their rewards when Brian Cotter combined Colm O Mahony and then with Mark Nagle to release him, and he finished the ball to the net, not his best goal, but then, Mark has a considerable repertoire of goals, to gauge against. We went further ahead with a converted free from Eoin, and another lovely point from Patrick O Grady. We lost Darragh O Grady who was spraying the ball about, to a hamstring injury and Shane Walsh was introduced. Our opponents got a point back but Seamus O Mahony replied to leave us ahead 1-07 to 1-04 with twenty five minutes gone in the second period. We looked a more solid cohesive unit with Jamie marshalling the defence from centre back, a new position for him, but he coped admirably well, and behind him, Kian Lane, Conor and Sean Palmer were very tight in their marking, keeping danger away from Niall in our goals. Sean Barthly and Ultan Cottey were now getting on a lot of ball, and when we ran at the opposition, we looked potent. Mark scored another beauty of a point, from his cultured left foot, but our opponents from the east of the division stayed in the game, with a close in free, which could so easily have been a penalty. We finished strongly when Shane set up Mark for a long-range point that just crept inside the upright and Eoin Birchill, with a strong second period, capped a good fight back with the last score of the game from another free.
Killavullen are through to a semi Final against the winners of the St. Dominick’s V Mitchelstown game, scheduled for the 2nd December but a more balanced overall performance will be required, if we are to retain the U21 Championship Trophy.
Kilworth Araglen Gaels 1-05 as against 1-10 for Killavullen
The team was
- Niall Murray
- Sean Palmer
- Conor Griffin
- Colin Carey
- Ultan Cottey
- Brian Cotter
- Sean Bartley
- Eoin Birchall (0-03, 0-02F)
- Jamie Magner
- Michael Walsh
- Patrick O Grady (0-02)
- Kian Lane (0-01)
- Rory Regan
- Seamus O Mahony (0-02)
- Ian O Mahony
- Darragh O Grady for Michael Walsh
- Mark Nagle(1-02) for Ian O Mahony
- Colm O Mahony for Colin Carey
- Shane Walsh for Darragh O Grady (injured)