Dominant second half sees Skryne claim the U19A Championship title
Skryne 1-15, Walterstown 2-06
Coolrite U19A Football Championship – Final
Skryne GFC’s U19A team ensured the club finished off 2023 on a high, beating near neighbours Walterstown in the U19A Championship final in a cold Fr.McManus Park today. The lads had won 4 games out of 4 on their path to the final, beating their opponents Walterstown along the way in the group stage. This ensured that they went into this game as favourites to claim the trophy. However, finals can be unpredictable and Walterstown are always difficult to beat and tend to lift their game when they meet Skryne.
Skryne opened the scoring when Conor Donohoe slipped a ball into corner back Seán McCarthy who had made an excellent run forward. McCarthy’s low shot just cleared the crossbar. Walterstown hit back immediately when they attacked up the pitch from the kick-out. Neil McGinley hit a superb pass to Senan Colgan, Walterstown’s corner-back who had found space behind the Skryne full-back line. Colgan made no mistake firing his shot to the roof of the net. The superb Billy Smyth hit his first of an 11 point haul 6 minutes in before John O’Regan added another for Skryne. Walterstown’s Oliver Maloney and Fionnan O’Connor added 2 points for Walterstown to see them lead by three as the game entered the second quarter. Billy Smyth scored the best of the first half points when he gathered possession in the left corner before turning and firing over from distance. Walterstown’s excellent centre-back Lorcan O’Connor made a foray forward through the heart of the Skryne defence before lofting over a fine point. Billy Smyth then laid off a ball to Conor Donohoe to the right of the Walterstown penalty area and he hit a low shot which just cleared the crossbar. A hat-trick of points from Billy Smyth saw Skryne move into a 2 point lead. Walterstown added a free on the half-hour with Fionan O’Connor on target. Skryne’s Tom Lenehan who had a good first half was forced off with injury at half-time. Skryne 0-08, Walterstown 1-04.
Walterstown took their time returning to the pitch for the second half but this didn’t affect the Skryne lads who retained their focus and indeed started the second half very strongly when Captain Fantastic John Finnerty sent a ball into the full forward line. Billy Smyth somehow won possession evading the attention of both his marker and the goalkeeper. He rounded the keeper before firing a shot at goal from a narrow-angle on the right-hand side of the penalty area. The ball hit the inside of the post before rebounding across the face of the goal where half-time substitute James Mangan was on hand to direct it to the back of the Walterstown net. Another hat-trick of pointed frees from Billy Smyth saw Skryne take control of the game moving 7 points clear. Walterstown hit a double as they tried to keep within touching distance of Skryne, but further points from Smyth(2 frees) and Robert Gallagher ensured Skryne retained a healthy 8-point advantage with just 6 minutes remaining. Walterstown won a free on the 30-metre line and they lobbed a ball into the crowded Skryne penalty area where it was punched twice before finding its way to the back of the Skryne net. Skryne didn’t panic and rebuffed Walterstown’s final attempts at breaching the Skryne rear-guard. Billy Smyth had the final say in the game as he converted a final free in the last seconds of the game to ensure Skryne ran out comfortable winners.
Huge credit to this team who had a tremendous attitude throughout this campaign. There was a squad of almost 30 players available for each game, all who contributed to this success. Some who didn’t get game time will get their chance next year. The future certainly looks bright with such a group of fine young talent coming through. Well done to the astute Management team of Johnny Quinn, Nigel Fox, James Reddy, Michael Mangan, Darren Carty, Philip Kinsella and Declan Browne.
Hard luck to Walterstown who will no doubt be back next year.
Skryne: Luke O’Brien; Seán McCarthy(0-1), James Reeves, Riain McConnell; Cillian Moss, John Finnerty, Ciarán Quinn; Robert Gallagher(0-1), John O’Regan(0-1); Andrew Canavan, Conor Donohoe(0-1), Tom Lenehan; Charlie Swan, Billy Smyth(0-11, 9fs), Mark Swan.
Subs used: James Mangan(1-0), Stephen Corry, Liam Donohoe, Ben Armstrong, Cathal Lenehan
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