Under 17 Football Championship Final
St Kiernans 2-10
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
St Kiernans took the U-17 football championship title with victory over Parnells at a very wet and windy McGovern Park on Saturday.
For Kiernans, it was revenge for their ten-point defeat at the hands of Parnells in the U-17 league final a few weeks prior.
The destination of the championship trophy was very much in the melting pot, however, until Jojo Thabo saw a straight red card in the 41st minute for punching Elliott McPhun.
Parnells led by two points at that stage, but that lead lasted barely a minute as Sean Walsh goaled.
McPhun’s initial shot had been spectacularly blocked on the goal-line by the acrobatics of Eoghan Reilly, only for Walsh to tuck home the rebound.
Kiernans, though, struggled to make their extra man tell and Walsh closed out the scoring with an ‘insurance’ point in the 59th minute.
Parnells, however, nearly snatched victory in the final minute when Lewis Dickinson’s free hit the angle of post and crossbar.
Ali Carney had been even more unfortunate in the opening minute when he saw his sweet strike come back off the inside of the post.
Kiernans proceeded to open up a 0-4 to nil lead with Parnells struggling into the wind.
But having got on the board through Dickinson (free) and Niall Twomey, a slip on the greasy surface by a Kiernans back was seized upon by Dickinson, and the ball was swept into the net by Conal White.
A nasty clash of heads then saw play halted for several minutes and Parnells’ Michael Walsh and David Pender both forced to leave the pitch.
After a slow start, Parnells were growing into the game. A sweeping move saw Thabo, Twomey and Dickinson set up Ciaran Griffin to score Parnells’ second goal.
Another well-worked move saw Brendan Prior deny Dickinson, who was dictating the play for Parnells.
But two late Kiernans points, from Matthew Joyce (free) and Walsh saw the sides go in level at the break; Parnells 2-3, St Kiernans 0-9.
Twomey needed less than a minute of the second half to add a third goal for Parnells, and a Dickinson free had Parnells up by four.
But Kiernans were back in it when Walsh sat an up an inviting ball and Caoitle Healy arrived with intent to fist to the net.
Ciaran Griffin gave Parnells a two-point lead, before the game then swung in Kiernans’ favour when Thabo received his marching orders.
London Youth Chairperson Joel McInern and Pat Byrne presented the John Byrne Cup – named after his Pat’s son John – to St Kiernans captain Matthew Joyce.
St Kiernans: Brendan Prior; Harvey Heath, Martin Sexton, Matthew McGrath; Max Harlow, Jack Hannon, Michael English; Caolan Doyle (0-1), Paul Nevin; Ali Carney (0-2), Matthew Joyce (0-4f), Caoitle Healy (1-0); Sean Walsh (1-2), Elliott McPhun (0-1), Jack Comer King. Subs: Joseph Spain, Joseph O’Connor, Fintan Shaw, Conleth Gallagher.
Parnells: Jack Curd; James Philips, Eoghan Reilly, Michael Walsh; David Pender, Jojo Thabo, Eamon Kane; Liam Bakery, Luke McHugh; Niall Bradshaw, Lewis Dickinson (0-3f), Darragh Griffin (1-1), Niall Twomey (1-1), Conal White (1-0). Subs: Rolan Huthins, George Carroll, Conor Doran, Ethan Roche.
Referee: John Doyle.