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U14 A Football Championship 2011 Report - (Courtesy Offaly Express 21/09/2011
RYAN Heavin, who kicked six fine points divided equally between play and frees, was the conductor of a well drilled Ferbane / Belmont orchestra that captured the Offaly U-14 'A' football championship title for the third year in succession with a decisive 3-8 to 1-8 victory over St Vincent's at O'Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday afternoon.
Apart from a two-minute spell when the sides were deadlocked at 1-3apiece, F/B led all the way and they were deserving winners.
A stunning 27th minute goal by their captain Colin Kenny ensured they led by 2-4 to 1-3 at the interval and facing the wind in the second half, F/B actually produced their best football.
Tactically, they were more astute than St Vincent's and deploying Ryan Heavin in a deep role for the concluding half worked a treat as he constantly linked up with Kenny and the skilful OisinKelly.
St Vincent's, comprising of players from Daingean, Ballycommon, Kilclonfert & Cappincur, won the county Feile Peil na nOg crown earlier this year and they were confident of capturing their first title at this grade but it just wasn't to be.
They contributed to an enjoyable final and they have plenty to build on for the future, however, it was disappointing to see some of their 40-man squad leave the pitch prior to the presentation of the trophy. As players it is important to learn to be as gracious in defeat as in winning and no doubt it is something their mentors Brendan Mooney, Seamus McEvoy, Richard Scally, Dermot Cunningham, Garvan Hickey and Michael Tierney will be instilling into their psyche.
F/B is on the crest of a wave at underage level in recent years and no doubt they'll be hoping this translates to trophies at adult level in the not too distant future.
F/B full forward Ryan Heavin stroked over a free after just 45 seconds and St Vincent's, who deployed corner forward Pauric Cuskelly in the role of a seventh defender to cope with the significant wind, equalised with a delightful seventh minute point from their captain Shane Tierney. The response was immediate from F/B. They gained possession from Barry Rohan's kick out. Heavin transferred a slick pass to Oisin Kelly whose stinging strike was brilliantly saved by St Vincent's 'keeper Darragh Casey however he was powerless to prevent poacher Brian McEvoy from slamming home the rebound. Heavin added a converted free to make it 1-2 to 0-1 with ten minutes gone. Tierney (another wonderful score after a powerful run) and McEvoy traded points at either end. St Vincent's midfielder Cathal Mangan then surged forward and passed to Ronan Farrell who unleashed a powerful strike to the roof of the net. Flying half back Barry Mooney snowed his forwards how it should be done by kicking a great equalising point, 1-3 apiece.
Wind aided F / B ended the half impressively. Heavin clipped over his third successful free and in the 27th minute a stunning 21m Colin Kenny strike thundered to the twine giving F/B an interval cushion of 2-4 to 1-3.
The breeze was so strong that F/B skipper Kenny kicked in many long balls that raced harmlessly wide and the winners ended with 12 wides (seven more than St Vincent's). St Vincent's moved Tierney to full forward for the start of the concluding half and he scored a good point and they moved Jake Naughton to mid-field. Heavy rain cascaded down for a few minutes and in the 34th minute St Vincent's centre back Conor Dunne executed a fabulous block down on Heavin. Heavin and Mooney scored points at either end, before F/B took matters by the scruff of the neck, registering 1-3 without reply between the 38th and 49th minutes, making it 3-8 to 1-5, and this blitz effectively put the issue beyond the grasp of St Vincent's. Jack Darcy scored a great point after a move that also involved Kenny and Oisin Kelly, while the brilliant Heavin scored two more points from play, bringing his personal haul to 0-6. Kenny sent a powerful 46th minute shot crashing against the crossbar but three minutes later they did find the net as Darcy finished following a Heavin shot. Trailing by nine points, 1-5 to 3-8, St Vincent's needed a miracle and it didn't arrive although the magnificent Tierney scored three more points before the final whistle but these weren't enough to deny F/B their third U-14 'A' title in succession, their fourth in five years.
Ferbane/Belmont: Ryan Heavin (0-6, 0-3 frees), Brian McEvoy (1-1), Jack Darcy (1-1), Colin Kenny (1-0).
St Vincent's: Shane Tierney (0-6, 0-2 frees), Ronan Farrell (1-0), Barry Mooney (0-2).
Ferbane/Belmont 12 (8 1st half); St Vincent's 5 (3 1st half)
Red: None. Yellow (2): Emmet Molloy & Shane Tierney (62)
FERBANE/BELMONT: Barry Rohan; Darragh Brophy, Anthony Seery, Ronan McGuire; Ronan Hynes, Emmet Molloy, Liam Cooper; Colin Kenny (capt.), Kyle Higgins; Jack Darcy, Jack Clancy, Oisin Kelly; Patrick Clancy, Ryan Heavin, Brian McEvoy. Sub: Cian Johnson for P Clancy (42 mins).
ST VINCENT'S: Darragh Casey; Brian Kennedy, Brian Ryan, PJ Daly; Barry Mooney, Conor Dunne, David Dempsey; Cathal Mangan, Shane Tierney (capt.); Ronan Farrell, Michael McEvoy, Daryl Maher; Pauric Cuskelly, Barry Bracken, Jake Naughton.
Sub.: Brian Carroll for B Kennedy (42 mins), Darragh Norris for R. Farrell (51 mins), Cian Delaney for B Bracken (54 mins), Alan Cunningham for D Maher (58 mins).
REFEREE: Seamus Fleming, Clara.
ST Vincent's had exceptional performances from PJ Daly, Conor Dunne and Shane Tierney, while Ferbane/Belmont had stars in Emmet Molloy, Colin Kenny, Ryan Heavin and Oisin Kelly, but the top man accolade goes to Ryan Heavin. For an U-14 he possesses great balance, style and vision, and he is also very accurate. Certainly a player to keep an eye on.
Ferbane/Belmont's scoring statistics from their march to championship glory are remarkable. In ten matches (versus St Broughan's, Ballinamere/Durrow, Tullamore, Edenderry, Clara, Na Fianna, Rhode & Shamrocks in the group stage, ( Tullamore & St Vincent's in the knockout stages) they scored total of 58 goals and 151 points, while they conceded just 24-51. That's a plus score difference of 34-100 or 202 points, they won their ten championship games by an average of 20 points! Now that is some scoring record.
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