Blacks and Whites4-5
IN A thrilling Kilkenny Community Games football final, it took extra-time to separate two evenly matched sides. A strong finish by the Galmoy/Urlingford/Johnstown team saw them win by just four points against gallant Blacks and Whites.
Great credit to Kilkenny County Board and secretary, Ned Quinn for allowing the final to be played in Nowlan Park. The pitch was in perfect condition and the setting most appropriate for the large number of parents present.
These two teams had previously met in the 2011 final when Blacks and Whites won. They began this final in earnest when their best player, Vincent O’Grady pointed. Galmoy/Urlingford/Johnstown enjoyed a tonic start when Jay Maguire took a shot on goal and the ball eventually ended up in the net.
In the seventh minute, Ciara Barcoe got on the end of a Blacks and Whites attack and from a ruck of players she booted the ball past goalie, David Sherman. The scores came fast and furious. The northern outfit secured another goal when midfielder, Callum Lonergan netted.
His midfield partner, Billy Drennan, followed up with a pointed free before he soloed through and kicked a third goal. The Skeough side had a very good full-forward in Ryan Murphy and he snatched the fifth goal to leave the half-time score 3-1 to 2-1.
For the new half the losers switched goalkeeper, Jack Kennedy to full-back with James Whitty making the reverse journey. Ryan Murphy moved to midfield, a sector their opponents had dominated.
The lead of the combined forces was quickly eroded when Vincent O’Grady soloed through from midfield and hit the roof of the net with a fierce shot. A point from Ryan Murphy and a goal from corner-back, Cian Jordan put the Blacks and Whites four points to the good after 40 minutes.
The winners fought back. When Billy Drennan won a free at midfield he kicked the ball straight to Shane Whyte, who turned and goaled. Callum Lonergan drew the game with a tidy point. They went ahead with three minutes remaining when Billy Drennan kicked a free and they seemed set for victory.
Blacks and Whites wouldn’t relinquish the crown. They levelled once more with a fine point from Ryan Murphy. And so the game went to extra-time, five minutes each way.
The northerners made a series of changes. John Doheny went to centre-back with Cian Doyle moving to full-forward and Matt Delaney to centre-forward. Backed by the elements, Blacks and Whites seized the initiative with a Vincent O’Grady point and another from Michael Sheehy to lead by two points at half-time.
After the turn around, the game changed once more. Billy Drennan soloed up the right wing and booted the ball to the net to leave his side a point ahead. Blacks and Whites pressed forward in search of one more score.
They were denied a certain goal when David Sherman came off his line to make a tremendous save with two minutes remaining. Darragh Queally had been moved from wing-back to corner-forward for the winners. The move paid dividends when he kicked the final goal to send his team’s supporters into rapturous celebration.
The winners travel to Wexford for the first round of the Leinster championship in the first week of June. For the record, the breakdown of their panel is Galmoy 9 players, Johnstown six players and Urlingford three players.
Galmoy/Urlingford/Johnstown - David Sherman, Daniel Hanrahan, Gearóid Phelan, Cian Barnaville, Padraig O’Grady, Cian Doyle, Darragh Queally (1-0), Billy Drennan, capt (2-2), Callum Lonergan (1-1), Billy Garrett, John Doheny, Shane Whyte (1-0), Jay Maguire (1-0), Matt Delaney, Cathal Phelan. Subs - Adam Phelan, John Dermody and Áine Duggan.
Team mentors - Ashling Delaney, Fintan Garrett and Richard O’Brien.
Blacks and Whites - Jack Kennedy, Cian Jordan (1-0), James Whitty, Darragh Moran, Darragh Murphy, Michael Prendergast, Tony Doyle, Vincent O’Grady (1-2), Michael Sheehy (0-1), Sam Byrne, Senan Doyle, Dominic Byrne, capt, Ciara Barcoe (1-0), Ryan Murphy (1-2), Page Foley. Subs - Aoife Doyle, Niamh Dowling, Fiachra Ryan, Cliona Murphy.
Team mentor - Eddie Doyle.
Referee: Peter Burke(Emeralds)