Stradbally Seize Minor “3″ Crown

Division 3 Minor County Football Final
gaa football
Stradbally 3-10
The Nire 2-11

Tony Ryan Reports

Two goals in a five minute period at the start of the final quarter were the key scores in Stradbally defeating club rivals Nire in the Division 3 County minor football final at Fraher Field last Thursday evening.The first half was evenly played out with the Nire holding a 0-7 to 1-3 lead at the end of it but the Reds looked to have the game done and dusted in the 50th minute when they led by a clear 0-7 at 3-8 to 0-10.
Yet what Stradbally did between the 47th and the 50th minutes, Nire matched it between the 54th and the 56th minute when Larry Walsh and Aaron Ryan found the net in the country end to leave the minimum the difference at 3-8 to 2-10.
A Kyle Cuddy point levelled the game and Nire should have had a third goal when Cuddy’s attempt shaved the right upright.
Credit the new champions, they finished the stronger and white flags by Pa Skehan(f) in the 59th minute and by Man of the Match Liam Fennell in the first minute of added time saw the Covesiders run out deserving winners.

An Aaron Ryan pointed free in the first minute opened the scoring followed by a brace of Stradbally points by Alan Shaw Hamilton and Sean Navin.
The Reds received a confidence booster in the seventh minute when Liam Fennell placed Pa Skehan for the first goal of the final before Nire, who had played their first round minor hurling championship game just two days earlier, took over on the scoreboard for the rest of the half.
Five unanswered minors per Aaron Ryan 0-3(1f), Oisin Walsh and Kyle Cuddy edged the Valley boys in front by 0-7 to 1-2 before Sean Navin ended a nineteen minute barren scoring spell for the winners four minutes before half time.

Nire had only fourteen players togged out in this 13 a side final and when Luke Guiry picked up a black card in the added time their resources were now well and truly down to the wire.Stradbally were clearly the better side in the second half and after Nire goalie David Morrissey had made his second one legged save in the game, Eoin Pollock(2) and a pointed ‘45’ by Liam Fennell pushed Stradbally into the 36th minute at 1-6 to 0-7.
Kyle Cuddy reduced the lead to 0-1 but an inform Pa Skehan pushed the lead out once again with 0-2(one from a free).
Nire’s Sean Walsh was showing good leadership qualities in keeping his side in touch and he kicked two fine points including one from a placed ball.
Yet, it was Stradbally who drove on with a major score when Daniel Fenton cut open the Nire defence for a peach of a goal in the 47th minute. No sooner was the green flag back in its holder than it was out again when Liam Fennell placed sub Dylan Fennell for goal number three for the Reds, 3-8 to 0-10 and the game looked over with ten minutes left on the clock.

Nire hadn’t played anything like their true form in the game up to this but they produced it for the final ten minutes though it was too little too late.
Both Aaron Ryan and Larry Walsh who had been relatively quiet up to this point combined for their first goal in the 54th minute, Kyle Cuddy was inches wide one minute later and another minute down the line Aaron Ryan crashed the ball into the country end goal.
All of a sudden the teams were level at 3-8 to 2-11 and Nire now looked the likelier of the two to take the honours.
Yet, Stradbally proved their mettle in the final minutes, they met the Nire’s momentum head on and the winning scores were kicked by Pa Skehan (f) and Liam Fennell.

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