St Mary’s, Ferrybank NS 1
Killea NS (Dunmore East) 0
St Mary’s National School, Ferrybank won the Jack Kennedy Memorial Cup Final at the RSC on Thursday last following a titanic struggle against a very game and spirited Killea team from Dunmore East.
The annual finals are played in memory of a gentleman who worked as a teacher and a man who had a deep love for school football and this opening final was a fitting tribute to Jack who is still sadly missed by many folk involved in underage football.
The games are played by 6th standard teams from primary schools all over Waterford and the two sides on view in this decider certainly did Jack proud.
The only goal of the game arrived five minutes into the second half and it was scored by the St Mary’s striker Shane Meagher, but in all honesty the Killea boys could easily have celebrated victory also such was the close nature of the contest.
It was difficult to see them leave the RSC without the trophy but such is the cruel nature of sport. The large gathering of pupils and parents from Ferrybank were the ones who enjoyed the fruits of success on this occasion.
Killea took up the running from the opening whistle and they carved out a chance after four minutes when Donal Power passed to Gary Cullinane but his effort was saved by the St Mary’s goalkeeper Shane Morrissey.
Killea captain Dessie Hutchinson then crossed from the left deep into the six yards box and this time Shane Morrissey plucked the ball from the air under pressure from two attackers.
Davy Griffin floated over a corner kick from the right for Ferrybank on 10 minutes and a goal looked on when David Atkins made contact but the Killea goalkeeper Barry Lee clutched the ball to his chest.
MJ Sutton, the strong St Mary’s midfield player, released David Atkins on 16 minutes but Barry Lee advanced from his goal to take the ball off him inside the penalty area.
Killea went back on the attack shortly afterwards with Sean Tracey putting Dessie Hutchinson in a good position but Shane Morrissey got down swiftly to save.
St Mary’s had the last chance of the first half when MJ Sutton tried his luck from 20 yards but his well struck effort was tipped away by Barry Lee.
S.J. Olla, a very tricky and skilful left winger, went close for St Mary’s early in the second period after a superb run, but his low shot was saved at the near post by Barry Lee.
The only goal of the game was a real gem. Olla played a pass to M.J. Sutton who sprayed the ball from the centre circle to Shane Meagher who ran 10 yards before cracking a shot over the head of the advancing Lee from 16 yards.
Seven minutes later the Killea skipper and right winger Dessie Hutchinson almost equalised when he raced down the flank before cutting in and shooting from the edge of the area but the Shane Morrissey showed his class with a diving save.
The remainder of the game was pretty hectic with Killea moving forward at every opportunity but the Ferrybank defence held firm and Olla out on the left held the ball up which upset the rhythm of the team trying to take the game to extra time. Smashing fare indeed from two very fine teams.
St Mary’s panel: Shane Morrissey, Tiernan Morrissey, Jake Connolly, Jonathan Browne, John Ahearn, Davy Griffin, David Atkins, MJ Sutton, William Tyler, Shane Meagher, S.J. Olla, Robert Purcell, Farouk Umar, Alan O’Kane, Darragh Troy, Jack Wiches, Alex Hughes, Mark O’Connell.
Kilea NS panel: Barry Lee, Stephen Cooneagh, Donal Power, Greg Miline, Adam Redmond, Sean Hogan, Dessie Hutchinson, Seamus Power, Gary Cullinane, Sean Tracey, Ian Walsh, Josh Kelly, David Barry, Rodek Tynyhshi, Ricky Phelan.
Referee: Mark Lucas
Man of the Match: S.J. Olla (delightful display of left-wing trickery).