Finnerty points the way to victory
Gaeil Colmcille 1-10 Skryne 1-11
A League Division 1a – Round 1
An injury time winner from Niall Finnerty gave Skryne a deserved victory in sunny Grangegodden.
Conditions were perfect in Grangegodden for yesterday’s welcome return of the All County A League, a competition which was absent in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic. The match didn’t disappoint as both sides served up some terrific football throughout.
Skryne opened the scoring with their first attack when Harry Rooney won the ball in midfield and ran at the Gaeils defence before laying off to Darragh Campion. Campo fed the ball to full forward Neil Burke who slotted over. Skryne were still calibrating their radar and while dominant in the opening 10 minutes, they were guilty of missing a number of good chances to extend their lead. A pointed free from Seamus Mattimoe drew the Kellsmen level. Skryne were forced to make an early substitution when Padraig Finnerty limped off with a foot injury to be replaced by brother Niall. He was to bag Skryne’s next score, a point from the left hand side. Darragh Campion added a third after he took a short sideline ball on the left hand side to Conor O’Brien. OB played the ball back to Campion who moved inside and struck the ball over the bar. Gaeil Colmcille won a penalty on the 13th minute when their full forward was pulled down inside the square. Brian O’Hanlon stepped up and hit a low shot to the left hand side of the Skryne goal to put the Kellsmen ahead for the first time in the game. Skryne almost hit a goal themselves 2 minutes later when Niall Finnerty collected the ball in the left corner forward position. He drilled a lovely pass to Mark Battersby in front of the Gaeil Colmcille goal. Batts turned and fired a bullet of a shot which rebounded off the underneath of the crossbar and back out before the Kellsmen cleared their lines and launched a counter attack which almost finished with a goal for them when the ball was squared across the goal to an incoming forward who punched the ball towards the Skryne net only to see the ball kept out on the goal line and cleared by the Skryne defence. Gaeil Colmcille added another point from play to extend their lead to two points. However, guided by the superb Darragh Campion who caused the Kells defence all sorts of problems in the first half, Skryne dominated the remaining 10 minutes scoring 1-05 to a single point, the goal coming from Niall Finnerty. Campion had made a brilliant run through the Gaeil Colmcille defence, side stepping defenders along the way. A last gasp tackle from a Kells defender dispossessed Campion, but Niall Finnerty was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and he drove it off the ground into the back of the Gaeil Colmcille net. Half-time score: Gaeil Colmcille 1-03, Skryne 1-08.
Skryne were met with a stiffer challenge from the Kellsmen in the second half. Two early points saw the gap reduced to just three points. On the 8th minute Niall Finnerty got Skryne’s opening score of the half after swapping passes with brother John. Three more points without a reply saw the Kellsmen reduce the deficit to just one point midway through the half. Skryne had two goal chances in the same move 17 minutes into the half. The first from Niall Finnerty who’s shot was parried out to the wing by the keeper. The ball was centred again to Frank Carty who’s shot was saved this time by a Kells defender. Mark Battersby put Skryne two ahead on 21st minute but Kells replied with a pointed free three minutes later. Skryne held a one point lead at the end of normal time, but Gaeil Colmcille won a free in the 32nd minute. They converted the free to level matters. However, Skryne showed excellent fighting spirit and with 4 minutes of injury time elapsed Conor O’ Brien picked the ball up in the right corner. He sent a high ball in towards the Kells goal. Mark Battersby won the possession and he centred the ball to Niall Finnerty who fired over the winning point much to the delight of the Skryne crowd. Skryne had to soak up pressure in the remaining injury time which totalled almost 8 minutes, but hold on they did and were deserving winners in an excellent game.
Skryne will take a lot of heart from this game. This was a tremendous team effort. While the forwards tend to get all the kudos, the defensive effort was excellent throughout. Skryne will be satisfied that they stood toe to toe with one of the strongest teams in the county and came away with the 2 points.
Skryne – Ian Gillett; Robbie Clarke, Ciarán Lenehan, David Carroll; John O’Regan, David McGoldrick, Frank Carty; Harry Rooney, Stephen O’Brien; Conor O’Brien, Darragh Campion(0-2), John Finnerty; Padraig Finnerty, Neil Burke(0-1), Mark Battersby(0-5,3fs).
Subs used – Niall Finnerty(1-3), Jarlath Jordan, Oisín Keogh
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