U18 Premier 2 Football League
Bantry Blues 2-13 Eire Og 3-10
Bantry Blues finished off their league campaign with a top of the table clash against a very strong Eire Og Side. Going into the game the understanding was that the winners would be in a league final therefore when the final whistle blew the calculators were sought to see who indeed would be advancing.
The game started a 100 m/h, with Bantry playing with the wind in the first half. Eire Og got off the mark first with two points from frees. Bantry replied with a great solo run and kick from Jack Sheedy. The visitors were always looking dangerous and with their forwards picking up frees in and around the scoring zone they were just keeping ahead. Bantry not to be found wanting responded with a lung bursting run from Mark Og O Sullivan resulting in a neat finish to the net from Ben Clancy. Both sides traded points leading up to the break with the home scores coming from Jack, Ben & Alex Cronin. All involved found the going tough trying to understand what the Referee was keen on or not so keen on with a few decisions raising a lot of eyebrows. Bantry held the lead at the short whistle 1-06 to 0-06 and only for some great block downs form Mark Og and Paddy Russell the score could have been different.
The second half continued as the first had finished, end to end stuff. But the tale of the tape evidently will be every time Bantry would string 2 or 3 points together Eire Og would breach the Bantry defence and get a goal. Bantry tipped away with a few points from Jack, Fionn O Donovan, Tom O Donnell and Alex and when they needed a response to the Eire Og goals, Mark set off on another weaving run, giving a neat hand pass to Ben who dispatched expertly to the back of the net. Bantry were so unlucky not to bag another goal when some great inter link play saw Chris Cronin put Luke Salter Townsend in but the keeper brought off a great block. A frantic finish was all was left when a dubious 45 awarded for the opposition. Up came their goalkeeper who split the posts. With only seconds remaining the Blues had to go short with the kick out and work it up the field. They did so with some excellent teamwork getting the ball into the scoring zone where a free was awarded and Fionn ensured the spoils would be shared.
It was wonderful to see a great crowd out supporting the lads again. With a third of the team U16 this will prove a great learning experience for them. No doubt some of the older lads will go on and show their abilities within the Intermediate structure. We wish them all the best for the year ahead.
Small bit of uncertainty around who advances or not but if this is to be end of the journey for this particular team group, they went out fighting and definitely brought pride to the jersey.
Team: Eoghan O Donughue, Cathal O Driscoll, Timmy Kelleher, Paddy Russell, Eoin Bowden, Mark Og O Sullivan, Christopher Cronin, Conor Cronin, Luke Salter Townsend, Fionn O Donovan (0-03), Alex Cronin (0-02), Timmy Mulhall, Billy Sheehan, Ben Clancy (2-01), Jack Sheedy (0-06).
Subs: Michael O Donovan, Tom Murphy, Tom O Donnell (0-01), Jack Manning
Bantry Blues U18s Sponsored by OKeeffes SuperValu