U-16s County Champions!!! Mayo Gaels 1-11 Kiltane 1-10

November 8, 2018

Mayo Gaels 1-11 Kiltane 1-10
Our U-16 team were crowned County Champions 2010 in McHale Park on Friday evening when they came from behind to pip a gallant Kiltane team at the post. In a tight tension filled game that bore no resemblance to the recent league final game between the sides it took two points in the last two minutes to bring the title back to Abbey Park for the first time ever.

On a lovely evening for football the Gaels, who due to a clash of colours lined out in an unfamiliar red (kindly supplied by Garrymore), got off to a dream start after two minutes when Adam Gallagher cut through the Kiltane defence and offloaded to Darren Prendergast who slotted the ball low to the back of the net. Kiltane responded with a point from play from the kick out. Adam Gallagher and Kevin Lynch then combined to setup the attacking Fintan Canavan for a great point after five minutes. The sides then swapped frees with Adam Gallagher landing his first after Shane Lyons was fouled after eight minutes. The Kiltane inside forwards were looking dangerous and closed the gap to two with a point from play. Adam Gallagher gave the Gaels some breathing space with two frees in the tenth and twelfth minutes. The first came after Alan Morris supplied Shane Lyons who was hauled down. Kiltane then enjoyed their most productive spell of the game when they landed three points in three minutes to leave the score 1-4 to 0-6 after seventeen minutes. They were dealt a blow when their wing forward was given a straight red for a cynical trip. By the letter of the law it was a sending off offence but on an occasion such as this a yellow card and harsh warning would have sufficed. A quick free by Adam Gallagher allowed Aaron Connor to setup Kevin Lynch for his first score of the evening. Despite being a man down as is often the case Kiltane upped their game and a long ball into the Gaels square was pounced upon by the lively Kiltane corner forward who coolly rounded PJ Larkin and finished to the net to give them the lead for the first time. The Gaels showed great character when Adam Gallagher and Kevin Lynch landed frees after they were both fouled to restore the Gaels lead. A Kiltane point from play on the stroke of halftime left the sides’ level at the break 1-7 each.

Kiltane flew out of the traps at the start of the second half and it took a great save by PJ Larkin to keep the Gaels goal intact. It seemed as if Kiltane had the extra man as they kicked two points from play to leave them two clear. The Gaels responded when Brian Flynn was fouled and Adam Gallagher pointed the free. Kiltane restored their two point lead with another point from play after forty three minutes. A number of changes in the Gaels defence ensured that this was Kiltane’s final score for the evening. The outstanding Fintan Canavan picked up the Kiltane danger man and Padraig Prendergast who had replaced Lorcan Henry at half time acted as sweeper. Fine defending by Brian Heneghan, Liam Duggan and Kevin Jordan repelled the constant Kiltane attacks for the next few minutes. A great run down the McHale Road side by Kevin Jordan saw him combine with Liam Duggan to land a vital point to bring the Gaels to within one with thirteen minutes left. The Gaels threw everything at Kiltane for the next ten minutes in search of the equaliser but couldn’t find it. Liam Nally was very unlucky when his shot clipped the crossbar. Fintan Canavan and Padraig Prendergast made a few vital catches at the back to keep Kiltane at bay. Entering the final two minutes it looked as if Kiltane would hold out for victory. But the Gaels showed great character when the hardworking Shane Lyons took on the Kiltane defence and fed Kevin Lynch who finally got the golden equalising point. The tension was rising in the stand with the large Gaels following lighting the fags and biting the nails to keep the nerves calm. Adam Gallagher proved to be the coolest person in the ground when after being setup by Kevin Lynch he cut through the defence to slot over the bar with his left foot with time almost up. The roof nearly came off the stand as the Gaels fans celebrated. All eyes were now on referee Kevin Corcorcan. During what seemed like an eternity of two minutes of injury time Kiltane threw everything forward but the Gaels defence held firm. PJ Larkin made a fine stop at the death when the ball was flicked towards the goal (visions of the U-14 final in 2008 came flooding back!). Finally the referee blew the whistle and the Gaels were county champions. The stewards had to switch to Plan B as the Gaels fans invaded the pitch to greet this fine team.

There was a quick change of jerseys into the blue and gold before Adam Gallagher got his hands on the cup from Mayo Bord na nOg chairman Mike Connelly. This finished off a great year for this side as they completed the league and championship double. Well done to team mentors Jonathan Morrin, Derek Vahey, Danny Burke and Bryan Adams who put in a huge effort all year.

Mayo Gaels team: PJ Larkin, Lorcan Henry, Brian Henaghan, Kevin Jordan (0-1), Fintan Canavan (0-1), Liam Duggan, Adam Gallagher (0-6, 5f), Kevin Lynch (0-3, 1f), Alan Morris, Shane Lyons, Aaron Connor, Darren Prendergast (1-0), Brian Flynn. Subs. Padraig Prendergast for Lorcan Henry, Liam Nally for Aaron Connor.