St. Patrick’s Win Joe O’Connor U-16 ½ Colleges Football Championship

St. Patrick’s Secondary School U-16 ½ Kerry Colleges Joe O’Connor Shield Champions. Front from left: Josh McCarthy, Cathal Culloty, Cian Ring, Sean O’Sullivan, Mathew O’Connor, Adam Jensen, Tadhg O’Shea, captain; Connie O’Connor, John Bell, Jason Brennan, Jack McElligott, Ryan Dennehy and Daire Murphy. Back from left: James Forrest, coach: Justin McCarthy, Peter Burke, Gearoid Coffey, Raymond O’Neill, Conor Wilkinson, Shane Óg McGaley, James Baily, Sean Cronin, Darragh Kelly, Nathan O’Callaghan, John Curtin, Darren Deniel, Luke O’Connell, Mark O’Connor, Luke Ring, Adam Kelly and Patrick McCarthy, coach.

St. Patrick’s Castleisland 2-13 Gael Colaiste Chiarrai 1-13

A wet and windy afternoon in Cahersalee Tralee this week played host to the Joe O’Connor U-16 ½ colleges final between St. Patrick’s Secondary School, Castleisland and Gael Colaiste Chiarraí, Tralee.

St. Patrick’s were slow out of the blocks and trailed from the beginning after conceding the opening point of the game. Adam Kelly opened St. Patrick’s scoring with an excellently taken team score.

An Early Goal

However, Gael Colaiste hit the front again with an early goal and the Tralee side were taking full advantage of the wind in the first half, kicking some excellent scores. Connie O’Connor and Tadhg O’Shea just about kept St. Patrick’s in touching distance with two superb points from play.

St. Patrick’s were finding scores hard to come by against a defensively solid Tralee side and at the other end, the full back line of Luke O’Connell, Matthew O’ Connor and James Bailey were made to work very hard.

Huge Credit Due

Huge credit must be given to these lads for keeping St. Pats within range midway through the first half.

As the first half wore on, St. Patrick’s started to gain more control around the middle of the field with Adam Jensen and Jason Brennan to the fore.

With two minutes to go to half time, St. Patrick’s trailed by six points when they were awarded a 21 yard free.

Up stepped Connie O’Connor and, with the Gael Colaiste backs walking towards their goal line, he seized his opportunity to finish the ball sublimely to the bottom corner of the net.

A Huge Boost

This gave his team a huge boost going in at half time and made the challenge ahead a bit more manageable. Half time score St. Patrick’s Castleisland 1-4 Gael Colaiste Chiarrai 1-7.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with the Tralee side scoring the opening two points. St. Patrick’s responded with scores from John Bell and Connie O’Connor.

Gael Colaiste came wave after wave in attack and went further ahead with some well taken points from frees.

Six Points Adrift

Mid way through the second half St. Patrick’s again fell behind by six points. However, with Raymond O’Neill and Shane Óg McGaley beginning to assert themselves more and more on the game and John Curtin and Sean O’Sullivan working tirelessly around the middle third, St. Patrick’s slowly started to gain a foot-hold in the game.

Vital scores came from John Bell and Connie O’Connor and all of a sudden St. Patrick’s were only three points down.

Bit of Luck

Then came the bit of luck which they needed to turn this game around. A long ball into the square by Tadhg O’Shea fell kindly to the livewire Jason Brennan, who nonchalantly slotted the ball into the net. With 10 minutes to go the sides were level 2-9 to 1-12.

For the next five minutes St. Patrick’s completely took over in midfield with John Bell fielding some excellent possession and Sean Cronin, Nathan O’Callaghan and Mark O’Connor made a big impression on the game after being introduced from the bench.

Tadhg Led by Example

St. Patrick’s sensed they had gained the momentum. The outstanding Jason Brennan, Darragh Kelly and Connie O’Connor kicked some fantastic points in this period of dominance.

Tadhg O’Shea who led by example throughout the game put St. Patrick’s four points ahead going into injury time.

For the final three minutes St. Patrick’s had to halt the onslaught from the Tralee attackers as they came looking for the goal they needed to get back into the game.

Three Point Margin

Cian Ring in goals, who marshalled his defence throughout, ensured they were only coming away with a single point during this time and St. Patrick’s ended the game victorious with a three point winning margin.

This St. Patrick’s team again showed that they have a fantastic never-say-die attitude and will always fight right to the final whistle.

Incredible Heart and Character

The players showed incredible heart and character to win this game as they had trailed by six points on two occasions during the game.

Christy Killeen presented the trophy to St. Patrick’s captain Tadhg O’Shea who thanked the referee Brendan Twiss on his excellent officiating; Joe Wallace for having the pitch in fantastic condition and Gael Colaiste Chiarraí for a tremendous battle.

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