St. Pat’s County U21 C Football Champions

St. Patricks 5-7 Grangemockler 0-7

At Clonmel yesterday evening St. Pats U21s footballers claimed the county title. A great start to the year for the club, congratulations must be given to the players who gave a committed display throughout the championship.

Clonmel sportsfield was awash with sunshine yesterday but there was also a strong biting breeze into the town end. Pats played into the breeze in the first half, so the half time scoreline was going to be interesting. One would have said that the breeze was worth 3 points. Grangemockler got the first score and in general had the majority of play in the first 10 minutes. Remember it is 13 a side in this competition so there was a lot of pace around both inside lines. Pats made some forays up the field and eventually picked up their first score. Grangemockler were still in the ascendancy tagging on 3 more scores to put the 4 to 1 up.  Pats were defending reasonably well, with Eamonn Needham and Willie O’Brien doing well in the inside line which was crucial.

The best score of the game came next from St. Pats, with Tommy Hayes winning the ball in his own full backline, it was worked through a number of Pats hands up the field at pace ending up with Mark Mullaly kicking a fine score to keep Pats in touch. The next key moment was when Grangemockler got in one on one with Pats goalkeeper Marcus O’ Halloran; a great save from Marcus denied them the green flag. Goals are important in these 13 a side games so this save kept Grangemockler within range.

Even though there were 2 points to four down, we were struggling to gain possession in midfield. Nicky Kearney was moved from center forward to midfield and this was the difference as he went on to give a man of the match display. As the half came to a close Pats put the pressure on and after a number of missed attempts captain Gaving Strappe fired a great shot to the top corner with his left leg. Tony O’Brien soon followed up with another goal. These goals were a massive tonic to the Drangan and Clonneen lads with put them 4 points to the good going in at half time after playing against a strong breeze.

Grangemockler started the second half well and similar to the first put pressure on Pats for the first 10 minutes. They picked off two points to keep the game in the melting pot. Eventually Pats settled and got back on top and traded points with Grangemockler, Tony O Brien kicking a good free and also a good score from play. The Pats captain Gavin Strappe got sent off for a second yellow. This gave Grangemockler a life line, but as has been seen numerous times the team with a man down, from some reason, kicked on and produced the goods. Tony O’Brien moved out to centre forward and started to be very influential. Partnered with N Kearney coming through the middle from midfield, the game really opened up for Pats; Mark Mullaly bagging one goal and Nicky picking up two more, the game was essentially over. Robbie Maher also came through from wing back to kick a great score with Mark Fitzgerald picking up another. Pats finished comfortably in the end but up to halfway through the second half it was a very competitive game.

Congrats to all the lads and mentors for a great championship win.

Team; M. O’Halloran, W.O’Brien, E. Needham, R. Maher, D. Barry, T. Hayes, G. Strappe(Capt), J. Moloney, M. Slattery, N. Kearney, M. Mullay, T. O’Brien, JP. Fitzgerald. Subs; M. Fitzgerald, K. O’Brien, J. Hickey, (Out injured – B. Gleeson, D. Riordan, N. Gleeson)

PS The Junior A football championship first round vs Newcastle scheduled for last Saturday was postponed, re-fixed for next Saturday evening.

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