Under 21 A Football Championship

November 8, 2018

Dunshaughlin 2-11    Wolfe Tones 1-10

Referee:  Marcus Quinn
Venue:  Pairc Tailteann
Match Info:  Throw In 8.00pm
An emotionally charged Dunshaughlin side claimed the Donal McTigue Cup in the final of the U-21 “A” Football Championship, after accounting for Wolfe Tones in a tense finish. It was a bitterly cold night in Pairc Tailteann but a considerable crowd braved the elements to witness a very entertaining game.

Dunshaughlin got off to the better start with Conor Staunton registering the first score after five minutes. Three minutes later Ciaran Farrelly added another point to put Dunshaughlin two up. Cian Ward converted a free to reduce the deficit after 15 minutes but Cathal O’Dwyer replied with a pointed free three minutes later. From the resulting short kick out, O’Dwyer quickly won possession and turned to fire over the bar. Wolfe Tones got a chance to level the scores a minute later, but were denied by a fantastic full length save from Dunshaughlin goalkeeper Sean Doyle. Wolfe Tones upped their effort levels but Ciaran Clusker, Tommy Johnson and Alan McLoughlin were outstanding in defense, reducing Wolfe Tones to chances from dead ball plays, Ward pointing a long range free and a 45 to reduce the difference to a minimum again after 20 minutes. Minutes later Conor Staunton won a free kick after some nice interplay from the Dunshaughlin forwards and Cathal O’Dwyer stepped up to put the ball over the bar. Staunton added another point a minute later before Sean Doyle kept the Black and ambers in the lead again with and excellent point blank save. Wolfe Tones manage another Cian Ward point before Marcus Quinn brought the half to a close with Dunshaughlin leading 0-6 to 0-4.

Wolfe tones started the second half in attack but their first effort was broken down by Ciaran Clusker. He found Ciaran Farrelly in space who turned and delivered an excellent pass to Mark Caldwell. He in turn made an inch perfect lob pass to Staunton who jinxed past his marker before wrong footing the keeper and crashing the ball to the net.

The Cian Ward show continued as he added another free before Mark Coleman pointed for Wolfe tones despite pressure from the Dunshaughlin defense. Wolfe tones had the upper hand at this stage and within three minutes had added two further scores from the boot of the impressive Ward, the first a 45 and the second a close range free. Ward added his first point from play in the eight minute to tie the game at 1-6 to 0-9. But Dunshaughlin got back on top for the remainder of the third quarter. O’Dwyer added a point from play before Staunton did likewise after 12 minutes. Dunshaughlin gained the upper hand entering the last quarter after hard work from Caldwell and substitute Dara Devereux put Staunton through on goal again, and for the second time he made no mistake, finding the back of the Tones net again. With the momentum in Dunshaughlin’s favour Caldwell struck another point to extend Dunshaughlin’s lead to six points. With time running out Wolfe Tones had to find scores and find them fast. Ward converted his fifth free of the night after 17 minutes.

Tones needed a goal to get back into the game and it was inevitable Ward would be at the centre of any such score. With nine minutes remaining, Ward collected the ball out the field. After a smart interchange of passes, Ward breached the Dunshaughlin defense for the first and only time to drill a low ball to the Dunshaughlin net. The crowd was enthralled, but despite this blow, Dunshaughlin kept the composure and Dara Devereux swung the balance of power back in Dunshaughlin’s favour with a point. Dara’s older brother David pointed a minute later to put Dunshaughlin four up, and despite a late push from Wolfe Tones, Dunshaughlin held on for a deserved win.

This was an impressive team performance from Dunshaughlin with every player giving it his most. They were impressive in attack, but most notably the denied Wolfe Tones any space or time on the ball and fought as a unit to win the ball back every time Tones had it, their hunger forcing Tones into numerous mistakes and turning the ball over. In his post match speech, Dunshaughlin captain Cathal O’Dwyer touchingly dedicated this win to the memory of Paddy Doohan, who very obviously inspired this Dunshaughlin team to a very well deserved victory. – Dunshaughlin: Sean Doyle, Tommy Johnson, Ciaran Clusker, Alan McLoughlin, Michael Ahern, Fearghal Delaney, Cillian Finn, Ciaran Farrelly (0-1), Niall Dundon, David Devereux (0-1), Mark Caldwell (0-1), Conor Staunton (2-3), Cathal O’Dwyer (0-4) Subs: Dara Devereux (0-1) for Dundon