Friday, November 25, 2016
St Joseph’s/Barrowhouse who were crowned under-21 football champions in Ratheniska on Saturday              Photos: Digistills

St Joseph’s/Barrowhouse who were crowned under-21 football champions in Ratheniska on Saturday Photos: Digistills

St Joseph’s/Barrowhouse 2-16
Sarsfields 0-10

By Pat Delaney

THE reigning champions came into this game as warm favourites and, after a close opening quarter, they asserted their authority and went on to produce a good second quarter and go to the break leading by double scores.
In the semi-final Sarsfields caused a surprise getting the better of Stradbally Parish Gaels after extra time. On Saturday, at the excellent Park/Ratheniska ground, Sarsfields returned in search of their third title and a first in three years when they defeated St Joseph’s.
However, the challengers were going to be dependent greatly on their full forward Sean Moore who single handily carried them to this stage. The champions would have taken note of this and took precautions bringing the excellent Daniel Hickey back to police him.
After the challengers kicked two bad wides, it was the inform Sean Moore who opened the scoring from a free in the third minute. The teams were level a minute later when Dylan Doyle raced through the defence to score from 30 metres out.
The champions went in front with points by Jim Smith and James Baldwin and were never again headed. Jimmy Hilliard kicked a good point from play in the 11th minute but the champions responded with equally good points by Lir McDonald and Dylan Doyle. Sarsfields kept in touch with a third point from Evan Hunt in the 22nd minute.
St Joseph’s/Barrowhouse then upped their game. Michael Keogh had been quiet by his standards but landed a great point, followed by two more in as many minutes by midfielder Brian Daly, one from a free but his second a superb kick into The Rock end of the pitch.
The challengers were thrown a lifeline in first half injury time when James Moore converted a free from distance to leave the half time score 0-8 to 0-4 in favour of the champions. Sarsfields management could hardly have been pleased with just one point from play by their forwards.
The champions were happy enough they had blotted out to the one serious threat to their crown, and within three minutes substitute Kevin Higgins placed Michael Keogh for his second point. When Brian Daly converted two frees the lingering doubts had been extinguished.
James Moore opened his side’s second half account with a converted free ten minutes into the second half. That was as good as it got for Sarsfields as the champions pulled away playing some superb football. Defender Andrew Baldwin ran down field and landed a great point before Brian Daly converted a free from distance. Michael Keogh struck his third in the 45th minute.
Five minutes elapsed before the next score but it was worth waiting for. The champions began a move by Adam Campion, after exchanges with James Kelly and Dan Hickey, the final pass fell to Adam Campion who delicately flicked the ball into the roof of the net.
It was celebration time now for the champions. Dylan Doyle and Michael Keogh swung over points at ease but to their credit Sarsfields never gave up. Substitute Jason Maher, Jimmy Hilliard and James Moore all kicked late points but it only made the scoreboard look a little better.
There were several contenders for player of the match. Defenders seldom get the recognition but Barrowhouse man, Andrew Baldwin, one of the four twins to finish the game, was a popular choice. Team captain Aiden Brennan accepted the Delaney Cup from Peter O’Neill and paid tribute to everyone involved in retaining the trophy for the first time ever by this club.

ST JOSEPH’S/BARROWHOUSE: Aaron Cooney; Cian Maher, James Kelly, Andrew Baldwin (0-1); Lir McDonald (0-1), Aiden Brennan (0-1), Noel Leech; Brian Daly (0-4), Adam Campion (1-0); Danny Hickey, Dylan Doyle (0-3), James Baldwin (0-1); Michael Keogh (0-4), James Smith (0-1), Ciaran Ramsbottom.
Subs: Kevin Higgins (1-0) for Ramsbottom (25m), Jack Higgins for Leech (42m), Conor Kealy for Doyle (52m), Paddy Knowles for Baldwin (55m)

SARSFIELDS: Shane Dempsey; Ethan Lawlor, Oisin Morris, Barry Conroy; Jimmy Hilliard (0-2), Gareth Dunphy, Darragh Connolly; Max Connolly, Ger Reilly; Evan Hunt (0-1), David Connolly, Cathal Cleary; Jason Caffrey, Sean Moore (0-6), Gary Hoffmeister.
Subs: Jason Maher (0-1) for Hoffmeister (20m), Conor Comiskey for Conroy (h/t), Stephen Conroy for Cleary (52m), Conor Mangan for Caffrey (52m), Peter Dunne for Hilliard (54m), Michael Hyland for Darragh Connolly (54m)

Referee: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)

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