St. Declan’s Fall Short at Finish Line

All-Ireland Colleges ‘C’ Football Final

Ardee CS 1-09
St Declan’s Kilmacthomas 0-03

galeic football
St Declans’ great run in the football championship came to a shuddering halt in Newbridge on Saturday last. The Munster Champions never reached the same levels of composure and assuredness of their previous matches.
Ardee got off to a quick start and went ahead 3-1with Donal Queally opening the scoring. The Waterford lads were guilty of spilling ball, poor distribution and getting caught in possession by a very slick and talented Louth side.
Ardee could have been out of sight in the first half but for the excellence of the fullback line and Anthony Lonergan in particular. His spectacular block on the dangerous Jonathon Commins as he blasted for the net from point blank range was one of his many excellent interventions.
The hardworking Ardee forwards prevented the Kilmac backs from working the ball out of defence and the Louth boys won the midfield battle also.
This starved the excellent Darragh and John Power of ball in the inside forward line.

Still, despite fighting a rearguard action St Declans gamely hung on and as the halftime break approached, they were only four points down after being completely outplayed. This was familiar territory.
Their chances of success were reduced considerably by referee Seamus Mulhare when he dismissed Aidan Behan in the 27th minute for a high tackle, a very harsh judgement.
To compound matters, St Declans introduced Pauric Hallihan who had recovered from a fractured eye socket and cheekbone and within 50 seconds the misfortunate Kilmac player was carried off the field with a dislocated shoulder.
The omens seemed ominous and so it transpired.
St Declan’s as expected did not go down without a fight. They upped their game and had their best spell in the opening minutes of the second half. A John Power point got the scoring underway but further scores for Ardee thru Commins (2), Ciaran Keenan and Tristan Knowles along with a Carl Gillespie goal sealed their fate.
Once the goal went in there was no coming back.

The team still continued to battle on, holding Ardee scoreless in the final ten minutes. Darragh Power, who tried his heart out all through, scored a point near the end but St Declan’s were left to rue a number of missed chances in both halves that prevented them from asking any real questions of the Louth boys mettle.
It was a disappointing end for this team that had shown incredible character, guts and spirit all year. When the dust settles and the pain of defeat has dulled a little these lads will look back on the incredible journey they have been on with immense pride.
They will remember the great comebacks in the Munster and All Ireland semi finals, the lunchtime training sessions with Mr Collins and the contesting of an All Ireland Football Final as highlights of their schooldays.

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