Brian Dillons 5-8, Shamrocks 4-6
In what was the final football game of the minor calendar this year, Shamrocks travelled to Brian Dillons new pitch in Whitescross for a match that had no bearing on the position of either team in the league table. It was played in the worst possible conditions for football. The driving rain made it damn near impossible to see the football, let alone catch it.
However I must say that both teams rose to the challenge. David Raleigh , the only minor available to play, led his team of under sixteen players in a free flowing encounter, where neither team was biting into tackles. (The referee was firm but allowed play to keep going when possible). It was a game where a lot of positional changes were tried from the start. Tom Murphy stepped in to the goalkeeping spot. The two pillars at the back Sean Kidney and Shane Kelleher were at their usual commanding standard. Coby O Grady, Dave Raleigh and Andrew O’ Grady played at half back but given the freedom to move on what was an extremely big pitch. A new roll for Andrew, who normally plays in the forwards, but he rose to the occasion. Midfield was Darragh Scriven who found the ball hard to control at times, but when he did get to grips with it we inevitably scored. The forwards on the night were Dave Andrews who gave his usual deliberate, reliable, gutsy performance in spite of the atrocious conditions. Christopher Hayes who seemed to enjoy the roll of half forward given the freedom to go look for the ball. His interplay with the forwards and the surging backs was worthy of comment. Man of the match for me was Nathan Hayes.
Even when the ball was at the other end Nathan took his marker on a charity run. He never stopped. However when the ball came his way his turn of pace and sure handling left his weary defender floundering. With goals, points and assists a plenty, to say that enjoyed his trip up to the forward line (he is normally a back) would be an understatement. Food for thought for the under sixteen mentors.
The performance by both teams to produce such a high standard was invigorating, dare I say enjoyable in the pouring rain. In the end League leaders Brian Dillons won out 5-08 to 4-06.
Not bad for a bunch of young fellas!