November 7, 2018

What a year for Naas and to cap it all the minor footballers win the clubs first provincial championship with a one point victory over Dublin champions Clontarf. Both teams are to be complimented on a great game of football which ended level at the end of normal time. Naas dominated the early exchanges and led 2 – 4 to nil after fifteen minutes. Three goals in five minutes by the Dublin side brought them back into the game and there was only three points between them at the interval. Naas led 2 – 7 to 3 – 1.

Clontarf dominated the first ten minutes of the second half and scored four points without reply to take a one point lead which they still held as the game entered injury time. With time almost up the Naas captain and “Man of the Match” Ciaran Doyle fisted the equaliser. Two minutes into extra time a Darragh Merriman goal, his second of the game, put Naas in the driving seat. Clontarf replied with two late frees but a determined Naas side were not to be denied a well-deserved victory.

Naas playing with the breeze opened the scoring with a Davy Shaw point after five minutes. A minute later Darragh Merriman goaled as Naas forwards were on top. Naas continued the onslaught with a Ciaran Doyle point and a Colm Joyce free. The Naas captain Ciaran Doyle scored their second goal and Dallen Gallagher followed with a point. Naas led 2 – 4 to nil after fifteen minutes.

Clontarf finally got on the scoreboard with a Joe McDonagh goal after seventeen minutes. Naas fought back with points from Darragh Merriman and Colm Joyce. Clontarf replied with goals from Nathan Doran and Rory Goode to reduce the arrears to three points. Patrick Smyth and Ciaran Doyle swapped points just before the interval. Naas led 2 – 7 to 3 – 1.

Clontarf took control from the start in the second half and were level after ten minutes with points from Patrick Smyth (2) and Liam Ennis. Then Tom O’Flaherty pointed to put Clontarf one ahead. In the final quarter James Burke (Naas) and Rory Clarke (Clontarf) exchanged points as did Colm Joyce and Liam Ennis. As the game entered injury time Clontarf clung onto a one point lead. But up popped Naas captain Ciaran Doyle to fist the ball over the bar for the equaliser and bring the game into extra time.

Naas struck first with a Darragh Merriman goal after two minutes of extra time. Smyth and Doyle swapped points just before the interval. The Naas defence held out until the dying minutes when two Tom O’Flaherty frees reduced the arrears to one point but try as they might they could not get the equaliser.

Naas: Luke Mullins, Cathal Daly, Conor McCarthy, Brian Stynes, Simon Leacy, Davy Shaw, (0 – 1), Adam Cronin, Ben Blackbourne, James Burke(0 – 1), Colm Joyce(0 – 3), Shane Ryan, Mikey Kenny, Darragh Merriman(2 – 1), Dallen Gallagher(0 – 1), Ciaran Doyle(1 – 4). Subs: Paddy McDermott, Barry Keogh, Darragh O’Brien, Ultan McAleece, Cathal Dowling.

Clontarf: Neil O’Hanlon, Martin Byrne, Conor Doran, Ciaran Kyne, Shane Walsh, Liam Howley, Sean O’Shea, Patrick Smyth(0 – 4), Nathan Doran(1- -0), Rory Clarke(0 – 1), Kevin Lillis, Rory Goode(1 – 0), Liam Ennis(0 – 2), Tom O’Flaherty(0 – 3), Joe McDonagh(1 – 0)