Dublin Under 14 Final
Friday January 09, 2015
O’Connell School vs Colaiste Chillian
This was the match we had been waiting an eternity for. The game was fixed for the first Friday back after the Christmas holidays. The elite management team of Mr. Farrelly and Mr. Levins were somewhat anxious that our star athletes may have overindulged on mince pies and Christmas pudding. However, it was a mighty relief that the boys had vigilantly stuck to the vegetable and high protein diet that had been advised!! They looked to be in great shape.
There was a certain degree of nervousness and excitement all week in the lead up to the game, which of course is a natural part of participating in a final. The atmosphere got tenser as the days dropped off; and finally the Friday was upon us.
All week we had experienced typical January weather. It was cold…very cold in fact. It was windy. It was wet. It was grey. It was dreary. Friday brought no change to that weather. We met as usual in the canteen area. The OCS boys were excited and eager to get going. We changed into our gear in the canteen and made sure that everybody was in full school gear and ready to go. Mr. Canning parked the bus and OCS boys embarked in full voice and were filled with confidence.
We arrived at St. Brigid’s grounds in Blanchardstown and headed straight for the changing rooms. Jerseys were distributed, positions announced and tactics discussed. The OCS boys sat and listened eagerly to the wisdom of Messer’s Farrelly and Levins. After a rebel rousing ‘do we want to win this?’ speech from the two bearded figures of inspiration, the OCS boys took to the field.
To say that the wind was strong would be an understatement. A hurricane-type wind was blowing diagonally across the pitch. Our Captain on the day, Richard Nugent went in for the toss of the coin. We elected to play against the storm in the first half. This meant that the OCS boys would have to defend for their lives for the first half; a challenge that they accepted.
The ball was thrown in and our midfield duo of Cian Macken and Troy Parrott won possession and immediately put down a marker of what was to come in this game. This half really showed the spirit of the OCS boys. We started with an excellent goal dispatched by the hard working and skilful Evan Crosbie. It was the dream start in such challenging conditions. Colaiste Chillain responded to this attack and scored a point. They began to dominate possession and the wind was a huge factor. The ball was travelling easily for them yet they were not inflicting too much damage. The OCS full back line of David Oprea, Callum Osbourne and Jordan Boylan were outstanding as was our goalkeeper Kyle Reid. They were protected by the equally impressive half back line of Denis Robu, Scott Shannon and Ross Burnett. Our defence countered wave after wave of attack and broke up the flow of the Clondalkin schools play. We then conceded 2-2 which was unfortunate, before Cian Macken got a point back for us. Richard Nugent then struck over an excellent free for us. The wind did not make it easy for him, but he expertly converted it; a goal behind and still in the game. Colaiste Chillian then scored 1-1 leaving us further behind, yet we did not panic. The OCS boys had been told not to worry if they found themselves trailing at half time. In fact, they had been told to expect it. These ingenious words from the management team eased any fears the OCS boys may have had. Trailing 3-3 to 1-2, we felt we were still in a strong position. Richard Nugent then went on a run that was against the run of play and sweetly struck our second goal. The OCS spirits were in full throttle again and we sensed that this game was ours for the taking in the second half. Relief rang all around when the referee signalled for half time.
Half Time brought a bit of respite for the OCS boys and we gathered together to rehydrate and get our breath back. The team huddle was initiated and the boys regained focus and knew that they would have tough thirty minutes ahead of them. The wind, although a major obstacle for us, was also a hindrance for Colaiste Chillian. It seemed to carry a lot of their shots and passes over the end line. The OCS tactics for the second half was to let the ball do the travelling, but on a low trajectory. Our full-forward line of Gerard Loftus, Kevin Cordosa and Ryan Corcoran excelled with this type of play. They combined a mixture of strength, skill and speed. This would prevail in the second half. Just behind them on the half forward line were Gareth Dowling, Richard Nugent and Evan Crosbie. These boys worked their socks off for the team. They were full of running and tackling and displayed a ‘never give up’ attitude that inspired the team.
We began the second half with a point from Ryan Corcoran, which was then followed by points from Cian Macken, Troy Parrott and Cian Macken again. We had drawn level. The old mantra of ‘take your points and the goals will follow’ was finally setting in. Colaiste Chillian then responded with their only point of the second half, from a free kick. Again, we found ourselves behind, but we dug deep and began to dictate play. Ross Burnett at centre half back and Troy Parrott in midfield were dominant and displayed some wonderfully skilful football. The ball stuck to their hands like glue and they created wave after wave of attack. Kevin Cordosa, playing at full forward and in the process reminding Ms. Shanahan of a Kerry Legend Eoin ‘the bomber’ Liston, was winning any high ball that was played into him. His fielding was exceptional and one in particular led to his opening goal. He caught a high ball over his head and turned on a sixpence, before delivering the ball to the back of the net. The goal was the turning point of the game. We were now in a winning position and there was less than ten minutes left on the clock. Our next attack again yielded a goal, and again it came from the boot of Kevin Cordosa. He did exceptionally well to keep a loose ball in play, before swivelling and throwing his left peg at the ball. The goalkeeper was ‘nutmegged’ and OCS raced into a five point lead. The travelling crowd from OCS went ecstatic and were led by Mr. Duffy in the celebrations. Five points ahead and less than three minutes remaining. The excitement seemed to distract the OCS boys and allowed Colaiste Chillian to grab a break in play. Their half forward, who was a thorn in our side, raced forward and slid the ball under the under the onrushing Kyle Reid, who in fairness had very little to do in the second half. It was back to two points and just under two minutes remaining. Reid kicked the ball out and again it was broken down by Colaiste Chillian. Mr. Farrelly and Mr. Levins were on the verge of being rushed to Blanchardstown hospital before Callum Osbourne came out and halted their attack. David Oprea, who had an outstanding game, picked up the loose ball and played it to safety, which allowed us to eat up some valuable seconds. A quick counter attack was then summoned and the ball fell to our trusty corner forward Gerard Loftus. Again, this was heart in mouth stuff as Gerard has a penchant for artistic football; however on this occasion Gerard heeded the trusty word of wisdom of his mentors and stuck the ball over the bar for the insurance point, we knew we wouldn’t be beaten but also a draw was not unlikely either. The referee indicated that there was half a minute left. Our forwards fell into position that delayed the kick out. Colaiste Chillian drove forward and spilled the ball. A loose ball is also a dangerous ball in these conditions. Callum Osbourne strode forward in a determined fashion and made sure that the ball was not going to bother Kyle Reid in goal. He drove the ball back down toward the opposition goal and before the ball touched the ground, the referee whistled and signalled the end of a dramatic season for the boys of O’Connell School. The utter relief and pure emotion on Osborne’s face was echoed through all of his teammates, managers and supporters.
The joyous scenes that followed were contrasted against the heart break in the faces of the students of Colaiste Chillian. The OCS boys shook hands and thanked the opposition for a tough, fair and enjoyable game, and then went back to celebrating among themselves. Richard Nugent as captain delivered an excellent speech upon receiving the plaque and did himself and his school proud.
It was a very proud day for all involved. That amazing feeling of winning returned to O’Connell’s after an absence of a few years.
The management team of Mr. Farrelly and Mr. Levins would like to thank all of the squad that were involved all season. Six games, six wins. The squad showed great dedication and determination from the word go. They did the school proud with not only their performances but also their sportsmanship throughout each and every game this season. This team has a lot of potential and hopefully in the years ahead of them in school, they can achieve more success at all levels from here on in.
A special thanks also to Ms. Shanahan who was and is a constant support of Gaelic games in the school. From booking fixtures, pitches and referees to organising the kit, she was an amazing addition to the back room team of this successful team.
Thanks also to Mr. Morris, Mr. Kilbride and Mr Canning for driving the team to all the games this year and for umpiring duties in those games.
Thanks also to Mr. Duffy for providing the opportunity to assemble a team and for the support shown throughout the year in term of fixtures and transport, particularly in the final for organising the travelling support and the healthy celebratory grub for the squad and supporters after the game.
Thanks also to our fellow staff members for the constant encouragement throughout the year.
|Jordan Boylan||Callum Osbourne||David Oprea|
|Denis Robu||Ross Burnett||Scott Shannon|
|Troy Parrott||Cian Macken|
|Gareth Dowling||Richard Nugent||Evan Crosbie|
|Gerard Loftus||Kevin Cordosa||Ryan Corcoran|
Subs: Jovanny Juliette, Leon Wheelock, Corey Cummins, Cameron O’Brien, Ade Benjamin, Jordan Wynne
In absentia: Scott Coughlan, Lloyd Lawless, Jamille Ablaza