GAA Provincial Under 17
By Damian Dolan
London and Warwickshire’s Under 17 Development Squads made history on Sunday, as they played out the first competitive fixture at the new Mc- Govern Park – a curtain raiser to the main event of London vs Leitrim.
In a game of firsts, Warwickshire’s Joel Powney had the honour of scoring the first-ever point on the new ground, and London’s Felim Conroy the accolade of scoring the first goal.
Two side notes in what was a thoroughly enjoyable Provincial Under 17 contest, which saw London reclaim the Mc-Carthy Cup after a nip-and tuck affair. In front of a decent crowd seated in the new Tony Mc- Govern Stand, Warwickshire struck first through Powney, but both sides would then be wasteful in front of the posts.
London eventually opened their account through a Conroy free. Michael Keohane edged the home side in front when he was suddenly presented with acres of McGovern Park grass to run in to, and he bore down on goal before firing over the bar.
London’s shooting, though, continued to let them down, but they were soon further ahead when Conroy had a sight of Connor Gibbons’ goal, and the London forward blasted the ball to the net. Keohane added his second point soon after and a quick-fire 1-2 from London had seen the home side surge into a five-point lead.
Warwickshire were handed a way back in, though, when referee John Doyle awarded the visitors a penalty, which Declan Haydon dispatched into the top corner of Brendan Prior’s net with some aplomb, with the London keeper given no chance.
Buoyed by that goal, Warwickshire finished the half strongly and had a second goal just before the break, with Prior unable to keep out Jake Lynsky’s deflected shot, which looped over the London keeper despite Prior getting hands to it. Lynsky’s strike saw the visitors take a 2-1 to 1-3 lead into half-time, but Caolan Doyle’s free soon had London back on level terms.
Elliott McPhunn then produced the point of the game – a sweet strike off his left boot – to put the home side back in front. Samuel McLintock’s free restored parity, but London finally pulled away as we entered the closing stages, with Doyle claiming his second free and captain Joshua Obahor capping a fine individual performance with a solo run and left footed strike to give London an insurance point.
Despite Warwickshire continuing to press right to the very end, it proved enough for London to reclaim the Mc-Carthy Cup.
LONDON: Brendan Prior; Michael English, Luke Horgan, Jojo Thabo; Luke McHugh, Conoe Redmond, Eoin O’Donnell; Joshua Obahor (0-1), Sean Kirwan; Jack Ryan, Michael Keohone (0-2), Felim Conroy (1-1f); Lewis Dickinson, Michael Walsh, Conleth Gallagher. SUBS: Conal Vaughan, Jack Hannon, Sean Rice, Oisin Murphy, Harvey Heath, Caolan Doyle (0-2f), Matthew Joyce, Jamie Caulfield, Niall Bradshaw, Elliott McPhunn (0-1), Ciaran Griffin.
WARWICKSHIRE: Connor Gibbons; Michael Power, Deaglan O’Brien, Reece Hendrickson; Oisin Webb, Callum O’Leary, Luke Raebone; Sean Doyle, Tom Lenehan; Samuel McLintock (0-1f), Joel Powney (0-1), Mikey McAleer, Declan Haydon (1-0, Pen), Jake Lynskey (1-0). SUBS: Louis Holsey, Sean Connolly, Louis Monaghan, TJ Dowling, Joe Whitehouse.