Sixmilebridge

Founded 1904

Co. Clare

U16 A Quarter Final

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Feakle/Killanena 0-14 SMB 1-13 

in Killanena Sunday Sept 9th

This was an eagerly anticipated clash between the respective U14A(FK) and U15A(SMB) Co Champions of 2017 in this year’s U16A Qtr final. The weather remained dry but there was a strong breeze blowing right across the field which was to make scoring difficult.

The ‘Bridge started brightly but struggled to come to terms with the Crossfield breeze both from play and an early free whereas the home side got off to an efficient start with 2 points from play through Gearoid Keane and a superb effort from Keith Smyth who controlled the ball and got a shot off in one swivel movement despite the close attentions of Darragh Toomey.

The Bridge got off the mark with a Luke O’Halloran free after Storm Devanney drove hard at the FK defence and forced a foul to be committed. The Bridge followed up with 2 more pointed O’Halloran frees, the latter coming after a superb high catch from Sean MacNamara and again after a hard drive at the heart of the opposition defence he drew a foul for a high tackle. FK replied themselves with 2 Smyth frees.

An already good and well contested game got even better as the Bridge rattled off 3 points from play when Storm Devanney received a good through ball from Luke O’Halloran, and took the modh direach once again towards the FK goal, it took a brave and strong last ditch tackle from full back Adam Hogan to just force him to hit the ball a bit higher and it flew inches over the bar. Next point came after Matthew Hurley won a superb ruck ball against 2 opponents in midfield and hit a high ball goalwards, O’Halloran knocked it down for the always alert Sean Mac who hit a smart point off his left. The 3rd of these points had Sean Mac in a central role again as he caught a huge Cian Fawl puckout, ran at goals and drew the corner back before slipping a handpass to David Kennedy to pop a nice point from an angle. Feakle Killanena for their part replied again through Smyth when he repeated his earlier point with another superb point on the turn, again in tight space and he followed up with another free to leave the score at 6 points each at the 20th minute mark.

Shortly afterwards the Bridge got the crucial goal of the game, after another strong run from Storm Devanney at the home team’s defence he offloaded to David Kennedy in the right corner who made no mistake with a low hard shot from an angle which beat the goalie at his near post. FK replied with an Oisin Clune point who had finally escaped the clutches of a tight marking Bridge defence and another pointed Smyth free. Up the other end the Devanney/Kennedy duo combined again after another Storm-ing(!) run Kennedy received an offload and dispatched over the bar. The Bridge completed the first half scoring with an O’Halloran free to leave the score 1-8 to 0-8 in favour of the visiting team and supporters got a chance to discuss and review a keenly contested first half with plenty of good skills on view both in attack and defence from both sides.

The second half got off to a lively start with a Luke O’Halloran point from play in the first minute and this was closely followed by 2 Feakle Killanena points through Ian MacNamara(1st cousin of our own Sean Mac and nephew of Club secretary John) and Keith Smyth from play. The Bridge got one back on 10 mins from Sean Mac, but then Smyth was unerring from a 65 at the other end. On 15 mins the superb Leon Kelly was harshly judged to have flicked Sean Walsh across the knee when all could see he had got the ball cleanly and that a cry of pain from Walsh was actually because he twisted his knee when planting his leg to contest possession, and this was backed up by the fact he had to be helped from the field. Keith Smyth duly dispatched the free to leave the minimum between the sides. David Kennedy was awarded a free for a jersey pull by the corner back and O’Halloran pointed the free. Smyth cut the deficit again with a free which was made much easier due to Bridge “backchat” being punished by ref Kevin Walsh with a 13m carry of the ball forward, and this was a 2nd incident of such indiscipline in the game, which will need to be eradicated from the Bridge team if they want to win tight games going forward.

The last few minutes of this game was helter skelter, and thankfully from a Bridge point of view the players were much more disciplined in tackling and pressurising the FK lads and Evan Murphy got in some telling clearances. Luke Keogh - who had a great battle all through with the usually influential FK full back Hogan – got on the end of one of these clearances, drove hard at the FK defence and set up a point for David Kennedy. Keith Smyth had the final score from play and in the last couple of minutes the Bridge left a couple of scores behind them from play and frees which would have made things more comfortable.
However on the final whistle they had achieved what they came to Killanena for, which was to win a hard fought Qtr final versus the hosts and were able to do so without the services of warrior midfielder Dylan Downes.

Apart from the aforementioned lads in attack, this victory was helped hugely by the determined and tidy Leon Kelly across his backline while Darragh Toomey and Colin Kelly were tight and tough in the full backline to ensure FK never threatened a goal all through the match. Evan Murphy also swept up a lot of ball especially in the 2nd half when he dropped deeper to cut off the FK supply to his Co U15 colleague and FK dangerman Keith Smyth.

The Bridge boys now advance to a Co semi-final next Sunday v the Magpies at 5.30 in Newmarket. Ahead of that game, Bridge supporters will get a chance to see the strength in depth at this age group when our U16 Shield team are in the Co final of the Bord Na nOg Shield competition versus DooraBarefield on this Thursday evening at 6pm, also in Newmarket.
All support welcome!

SMB: Cian Fawl, Conor Morey, Darragh Toomey, Colm Flynn, Evan Murphy, Leon Kelly, Colin Kelly, Scott Kirkland, Matthew Hurley, Ferdia O’Lionain, Storm Devanney, Sean MacNamara, Luke O’Halloran, Luke Keogh, David Kennedy. Subs: Seamus O’Connell for Ferdia O’Lionain(55 mins)

Feakle/Killanena: Liam O’Connor, Jamie Canny, Adam Hogan, Rory McNamara, Darren McMahon, Enda Madden, Eoghan Daly, Ian MacNamara, Ronan O’Connor, Oisin Clune, Gearoid Keane, Sean Walsh, Keith Smyth, Jack O’Donnell, James Greene

Referee – Kevin Walsh

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