Ballymartle 4-12, Shamrocks 3-4
Shamrocks made their first appearance in the u21 grade championship in 3 years against Ballymartle on Sunday morning in Ballygarvan but it was not to be a winning one. Shamrocks were no match for a strong, skilful and crafty Ballymartle team who were in control for almost the entire match. A lot of this team were playing their first ever adult match and it was a wake up call for them in many ways. Eight minors made up the starting thirteen (13 a side) and only one player will be overage next year but there is no getting away from the fact that this was a lesson.
Ballymartle started way stronger and made the Shamrocks keeper, Criostóir Corkery (a great performance overall) the busiest player on the field. They continually exploited the Shamrocks defence in the first 20 minutes, a defence that was all at sea at times. They sauntered up the middle and scored 2 fast goals early on along with 4 points before Shamrocks knew what had hit them. Shamrocks regrouped somewhat but saw some scoring chances go abegging while Bally, after being reduced to 12 men, went up the field again and added on another 1-2 before Andrew O’Grady got Shamrocks one and only score of the first half from play. Half time score read Ballymartle 4-6, Shamrocks 0-1.
Some changes were made at half time to try and exploit the extra man and get back in the game but Ballymartle had other ideas and won the second half throw in, ran straight up the middle and stuck the ball in the back of the Shamrocks net again. 4-6 to 0-1 and the game was good as over.
Aonghus Boland did score a Shamrocks goal to give some hope and shortly afterwards Ballymartle were down to 11 men after one of their players received a second yellow card. There 20 minutes left and Shamrocks had some flicker of light. Coby O’Grady also added a goal from the right wing but unfortunately Ballymartle were far too smart and played clever, controlled football over the last while and were in fact the better team, adding on a good few points. Andrew O’Grady scored a consolation goal for Shamrocks from a late (dubious) penalty.
And so, Ballymartle move on to the semi final while Shamrocks u21 football season is over until 2016. Our thanks to the players and to the management team of junior players Colin Brady and Johnathan Tuohy who cut their teeth at this level for the first time. The 21’s are entered in the hurling championship later in the year so hopefully they’ll do better there.
Team: C. Corkery, C. Scriven, C. O’Grady, C. Hayes, S. Kidney, J. Raleigh, D. Scriven, A. O’Grady, R. Horgan, D. Andrews, L. Garvan, R. Twomey, A. Boland. Subs used – B. Crowley, K. Murphy, S. Kelleher, E. Desmond.