Minor Football Championship Final
St Kiernans 0-08
By Damian Dolan
Parnells completed the ‘treble’ in style with victory over St Kiernans at Greenford as they added the Minor Championship to the league and All-Britain titles already in the trophy cabinet.
Victory also saw made it four Under 18 Championships in a row for Parnells, who burst out of the blocks to lead by 2-5 to 0-1 after just 14 minutes, and never looked in danger of being overhauled against a St Kiernans side which grew into the game, and played some lovely football at times, but failed to take its chances.
Parnells were simply too power and physical, and had too much pace and precision in attack, especially in that opening quarter, for Kiernans to contain.
The signs were already looking ominous for Kiernans when the ball fortuitously found its way through to Mathew McHugh and he poked it into the top corner in the sixth minute, giving Brendan Prior no chance. Just four minutes later the Parnells full forward had the ball in the back of the net again.
Prior saved McHugh’s initial effort but Niall Bradshaw set him up for another go, and this time he made no mistake. It had been an awesome start by Parnells, who were threatening to steam roll right over Kiernans.
With McHugh’s goals in the bag, Parnells were happy to take their points and keep the scoreboard ticking over as they built their lead to a commanding 2-6 to 0-1 after 18 minutes.
However, they were then indebted to an excellent double save from Richardo Esteves, who frustrated Jack Ryan twice in quick succession.
It wasn’t an isolated moment, with Esteves then called upon to deny Ryan once again, although the Parnells keeper could only watch as Elliot McPhun put the follow up just wide.
Kiernans were getting goal chances, but taking them was another matter. Parnells, in contrast, were clinicalness personified.
But Kiernans did produce a strong end to the half to go in at the break trailing 2-9 to 0-5. McHugh could have completed his hat-trick within moments of the restart, but failed to connect as cleanly as he would have liked and Prior got down to turn the ball away for a 45.
The Kiernans keeper could do nothing, however, when Josh Obahor’s ball found Niall Twomey and he buried it to the net.
McHugh had another chance to complete his hattrick when he gratefully collected Prior’s miss-hit kick-out, only for the Kiernans goalkeeper to redeem himself by sticking out a strong left hand to turn away McHugh’s shot.
St Kiernans, despite facing an 11-point deficit, were on the front foot and playing some good stuff, but turning it into points continued to be their downfall.
Parnells were left to add the icing in the game’s dying moments when Phelim Healy pulled back Conall White, and the substitute picked himself up to add goal number four from the penalty spot.
PARNELLS: Richardo Esteves; Daniel Maguire, Neil McNamara, Eoghan Reilly (0- 1); Jojo Thabo, Henry Logan; Michael Walsh, Liam Bakrey; Josh Obahor, Stephen Lally (0- 1), Luke Horgan (0-3), Lewis Dickinson (0-1); Niall Twomey (1-2), Mathew McHugh (2-1, 1f), Niall Bradshaw (0-3). Subs: Ciaran Griffin, Conall White (1- 0, 1xpen), Eamonn White, Luke McHugh.
ST KIERNANS: Brendan Prior, Martin Sexton, Jamie Caulfield, Phelim Healy, Eoin O’Donnell, Mathew Tierney, Jack Hannon; Caolan Doyle; Sean Kirwan, Nial Duggan, Kieran Burke (0-1), Mathew Joyce (0-1); Michael English, Michael Keohane (0-2), Jack Ryan (0-4f). SUBS: Harvey Heath, Max Carlow, Ali Carney, Elliot McPhun, Cloneth Gallagher, George Cooling.