De La Salle 2-12; The Nire 0-8
De La Salle captured the Under 21 ‘A’ Football title with a comprehensive win over The Nire at Fraher Field last Saturday evening.
This was a game that had many fine scores in it particularly from De La Salle but most of the spectators left talking about the influence that the sendings off, especially the two in the first half, had on the game.
The Nire were not at full strength for this game. Wing forward Graham Guiry was suspended as a result of the straight red card he received in the western final. They were also without full back Thomas Walsh who broke a bone in his hand playing hurling for St Augustines on Friday and also regular full forward JP Fitzgerald who broke his hand against Clashmore.
De La Salle began the game strongly and wing forward David Kennedy scored a fine point after four minutes to open the scoring. A minute later his twin brother Patrick opened his account with a point from a free.
Darren Guiry got the Nire off the mark in the ninth minute when he converted a free.
We then had the first bit of controversy in the 16th minute when De La Salle’s corner back, Mark Joy-Kinsella was issued a straight red card by referee John Murray for an off the ball incident.
The sending-off upset De La Salle’s rhythm and offered the Nire a route into the game. They were quick to take advantage of their numerical advantage and Waterford minor captain, Keith Guiry levelled the scores after 16 minutes with a point from play. The same player scored again two minutes later to put the Nire into the lead for the first time. Fourmilewater hurling star, Richard Fenton extended the Nire’s advantage with a point from play.
Using the twin advantages of the breeze and the extra man, the Nire threatened to run riot and added further points through yet another Keith Guiry point and one from corner forward, David Nugent.
With the first half almost up, the Nire’s influential midfielder and Waterford junior player, James McGrath was given a straight red card for lashing out a kick at a De La Salle player. This was an incident that was to have a major bearing on the game’s outcome.
Just before the half-time whistle, De La Salle’s Jason Foran played the ball into corner forward Paul Farrelly who fired a left footed shot past Pat Horkan in the Nire goal. For all the possession they had enjoyed, the Nire looked demoralised to be going in at half time on level terms with the score at 0-6 to 1-3.
The second half began as a 14-a-side encounter and De La Salle raced into a three-point lead with the Kennedy twins again on the mark. David scored an excellent point from play and Patrick scored from a placed ball.
Paul Walsh, on for the injured Kevin Gahan was having a big influence on proceedings around the centre of the field and got on the scoresheet with a point in the 35th minute.
A minute later, the Nire’s full forward Darren Guiry broke through the De La Salle defence but his shot was brilliantly saved by De La Salle goalkeeper, Kevin Williams.
The opposite full forward, Keith Cooney then scored a point to extend De La Salle’s lead to four points.
Two minutes later, midfielder Mitchell Casey found himself in an acre of space and he raced through to fire the ball into the roof of Pat Horkan’s net.
It looked like game, set and match to the city men and they added further points through Patrick Kennedy, David Kennedy and two from centre forward Dean Twomey.
In the 54th minute, the Nire were thrown a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty. However, once again Darren Guiry could fine no way past Kevin Williams and the ball was cleared.
The Nire did manage a point by midfielder Richard Fenton but De La Salle replied with a Patrick Kennedy free which closed the scoring.
Late on, the Nire’s Darren Guiry was shown a red card for something he said to the referee and the Nire missed a second penalty. This time it was Craig Guiry’s turn to be denied by Kevin Williams.
This was a well deserved victory by De La Salle who must now use this victory as a springboard to winning that elusive intermediate title. On this performance, goalkeeper Kevin Williams will surely be pushing for a place on that team. Others to shine on the day for De La Salle were Oran Keevers, Mitchell Casey, Dean Twomey and David Kennedy.
For the Nire, Paul Horkan was probably their best defender while in attack Keith Guiry caught the eye with 3 excellent points from play.
De La Salle: K Williams, M Joy-Kinsella, A O’Neill, C Sheehan, L Mulhearn, O Keevers, S Richardson, K Gahan, M Casey, J Foran, D Twomey, D Kennedy, P Farrelly, K Cooney, P Kennedy. Subs: P Walsh for K Gahan, C Clancy for D Twomey, C O’Toole for L Mulhearn, M Walsh for P Farrelly, C Nugent for S Richardson
Scorers: P Kennedy 0-4f, D Kennedy 0-3, D Twomey 0-3, P Farrelly 1-0, M Casey 1-0, P Walsh 0-1, K Cooney 0-1.
The Nire: P Horkan, J Ryan, A Condon, P Cooney, E Cooney, P Horkan, A McGrath, R Fenton, J McGrath, S Lawlor, C Guiry, S Ryan, D Guiry, D Nugent, K Guiry. Subs: D O’Donnell for J Ryan, E Morrissey for S Ryan.
Scorers: K Guiry 0-3, D Guiry 0-2f, R Fenton 0-2, D Nugent 0-1.