Tir Chonaill Gaels / Round Towers: 3-06
By Mark McGoldrick
The Minor football final ended in a draw on Sunday at the Irish TV Grounds in Ruislip, when neither Tir Chonaill Gaels/Round Towers or Parnells could find a winning score to win the match, so the game will go on to an upcoming replay to decide the winner of this Championship.
It really was a game of two halves, with Parnells dominating the first half, and TCG/RT clawing their way back into the game in the second, despite the unsettled weather conditions.
Parnells may have dominated the opening half, but it was TCG/RT who got the first score of the game, after a quickly taken free caught the Parnells defence off guard, allowing TCG/RT to get their first score of the game with just one minute gone.
Parnells had a goal opportunity two minutes later, but an excellent save by Conor Redmond kept the door shut for Parnells on that occasion. However the resulting ricochet of the ball allowed Parnells to draw a foul, and they were awarded a free for their efforts by referee John Doyle.
Conor Spinks took the free right in front of goal, and not one to miss from that distance, rifled the ball over the bar, drawing the sides level for the first time.
Spinks and Andrew Gilroy would both add one more point apiece to Parnells’ point tally, within the next three minutes. Spinks from a free and Gilroy from play, while under some serious pressure from the TCG/RT defence.
TCG/RT answered by scoring a point from play from distance, but Kiaran Rice responded for Parnells by scoring another point, maintaining that slim two point lead for his side.
With eleven minutes gone, Parnells were awarded a penalty, which Conor Spinks promptly put in the back of Conor Redmond’s net, extending his side’s lead by five.
Two minutes later a combined effort by Jason McGuire, Kieran Rice and Michael Maher, resulted in another point for the men in blue, when Rice spotted Maher open on the wing and was able to get the ball out to his teammate, whose shot went easily over the bar.
Joshua Dbahor would also add his name to Parnells score sheet before the fifteen minute mark, when he was able to get a shot over the bar for his side, despite being surrounded by TCG/RT defenders.
Kieran McManamom was able to get TCG/RT back on the scoreboard, after a five minute absence, after a great long ball from the right wing found him in space, and he was able to guide the ball over the bar.
With 12 minutes to go in the half, Dbahor tried to extend Parnells lead even further, but his attempt deflected off Brendan Rice and out of play. The resulting free, taken by Spinks, finished the job Dbahor had started, increasing Parnells lead by another point.
Maher would add a further two more points from play for Parnells. The first coming from a quick lay off from McGuire and the second coming from a solo effort, which landed him in a position he couldn’t have missed from.
TCG/RT were always looking for a way through the Parnells defence however, with some notable attempts by McManomon and Brendan Rice, but their opponents were always able to dispossess them, every time they got past one defender, so the first half finished with Parnells in a commanding lead, after scoring another point in the dying seconds of added time.
TCG/RT were eleven points down at the beginning of the second half, which was further extended after Kieran Rice was brought down with four minutes gone in the half. Spinks again stepped up to take the free, and again his shot was on target.
Five minutes later however, McManomon managed to get the first point of the half for TCG, and this was the beginning of their re-emergencein the game.
Craig McGee added another point to the TCG/RT scoreboard from the left, with just over ten minutes gone in the half. John Paul Roahe tried to get one back for Parnells, but his point attempt fell short, straight into the arms of Conor Redmond.
This would prove disastrous for Parnells, as the resulting counter attack from TCG/RT from this attempt, found its way to Brendan Rice who didn’t miss his chance, and landed the ball in the bottom right corner of Ruairi O’Connor’s net.
With just over 15 minutes gone in the second half, TCG/RT got another goal, this time coming from Craig McGee who, despite being surrounded by Parnell defenders, remained calm, and became the second man to find O’Conor’s net in the space of three minutes.
Ciaran Clarke would narrow the gap between the teams even further after this when, after a great solo run down the middle of the field, he found his target, gaining a point for TCG/RT and bringing the gap to just a three point deficit.
Jack Gannon would abolish this, with ten minutes to go as he found himself right in front of O’Conor’s net and slipped the ball past the Parnells keeper – to level the sides for the second time in the game.
Daylight and the clock were against both sides as evening began to draw in, and both sides went in search of that winning point.
Spinks and Joyce would both try and gain the lead for their respective sides in the closing minutes but both attempts were off target and sailed wide.
Parnells had two goal chances in the last five minutes when a free taken by Spinks, landed into the box and was rifled straight at Redmond. The TCG/RT keeper not only pulled off one crucial save, but he also pulled off a second, when the first attempt ricocheted off him straight into the path of an oncoming Parnells player.
Both sides had many chances to take the lead in the dying minutes of the game, with Joyce committing a foul on a promising chance, Roahe missing a critical scoring opportunity, or Parnells final point attempt coming up short and being plucked out of the air by Redmond.
It was a hard fought contest by both sides, and now both teams will have to go back to the drawing board and do it all again in the upcoming replay. The Minor Final in Ruislip finished TCG 3-06, Parnells 1-12.
Tir Conaill Gaels / Round Towers: Conor Redmond(TCG), Daniel Nugent(TCG), Daniel Fay(TCG), Darragh Shortall(RT), Thomas Clarke(RT), Ciaran Clarke(TCG)(0-2), Antonio Pisano(TCG), Brendan Rice(TCG)(1-0), Conor McCarthy(TCG), John Gannon(TCG)(1-0), Liam O’Regan(TCG), Craig McGee(RT)(1-1), Sean Rice(TCG), Kieran McManomon(TCG)(0-2), Ronan Joyce(RT)(0-1). Subs: Daniel O’Connell(TCG) for Pisano, Ayo Bamgbelu (TCG) for O’Regan
Parnells: Ruairi O’Connor, Daniel Forae, Jack Woulfe, Neil McNamara, Ciaran O’ Donaghue, Alan Callanan, Matthew McHugh(0-1), Conor Spinks(1-4), Andrew Gilroy(0-2), John Paul Roahe, Joshua Dbahor(0-1), Jason McGuire, Michael Maher(0-3), Jamie Murphy, Kieran Rice(0-1). Subs: Cian Cronin for Murphy, Jonathan Conneill for Rice