Ulster U16 Championship 2010
Killeavy 5-8 St Johns Belfast 4-3
On an absolutely glorious sunny October day in Dromore Co Tyrone, Killeavy faced Belfast side St Johns in the Ulster U16 quarter final. The facilities in Dromore were in first class condition, so all supporters were expecting a high quality encounter. No-one will have been disappointed by what they saw, and as early as the 2nd minute, a goal was on the board. Unfortunately for Killeavy Gaels, it was St Johns deadly corner forward Conor Johnson, who sent the ball to the Killeavy top corner after an impressive run.
St Johns were good early on, but a fine point from Gary Donaghy helped settle Killeavy down. Killeavy followed up with a great goal, Niall Cromie doing excellently up the right wing to place Naill Hannaway, whose shot was superbly saved. Cromie followed in to lash home to the roof of the net from close range.
Two further St Johns goals were about to rock Killeavy, as Johnson saw a rebounded shot off the base of the post finished off by another forward, before he struck a beauty to the roof of the net, displaying fantastic finishing quality and speed.
A shell shocked Killeavy moved Jamie Cosgrove to full back to curtail his influence. Killeavy set about playing themselves back into contention, and, as always, to the fore was Ciaran O’Hanlon. If Johnson was uncontainable for St Johns, O’Hanlon was simply magnificent in all facets of his display for Killeavy. He hit a glorious score from forty yards following a good interchange with Michael Murphy, then followed up with two great goals, the first finishing some super interplay between Boyle and Murphy. His second was a solo effort as he put Killeavy back in the lead. Another point shortly afterwards from O’Hanlon had Killeavy well in front again. Points from Gary Donaghy and an impressive score from excellent centre back Donal O’Neill looked to have Killeavy in the driving seat. The livewire Johnson had other things on his mind, and a fourth St Johns goal from him had saw only two points between the sides, after a half of football that contained seven quality goals.
HT:Killeavy 3-5 St Johns Belfast 4-0
With the game in the balance, St Johns started the second half with ten minutes of pressure. The fact that they did not register a point in the opening period was to be compounded by three bad wides early in the half.
For all the pressure, two points eventually arrived to level the scores after 10 minutes, and St Johns were looking the better team.
An exquisite piece of centre back play from Donal O’Neill, winning a great ball and orchestrating a fine move, led to Niall Hannaway firing home low to the net to respond for Killeavy. From this point on, Killeavy completely dominated the game, with all players stepping up their level of play. From Paddy Byrne to Niall King to Mickey Boyle, all the Killeavy players showed a great determination and hunger to win ball and drive on. Boyle kicked a dream point from way out after shipping a heavy shoulder challenge. O’Hanlon chimed in with a point before the killer goal from Michael Murphy with a driving run and great strike. The final score came from O’Hanlon, a perfect strike with the outside of the boot that curled between the posts and push Killeavy into the semi-final.
This was a well contested game, and Killeavy’s management will have been very pleased with the heart and application applied all over the field, particularly in the last 20 minutes. Some of the fist-passing on display was a little sloppy and lacked purpose, and the concession of four first half goals means the defence could tighten up a bit, so there will be plenty to work on before the challenge of another big opponent in two weeks time.
Full-time: Killeavy 5-8 St Johns Belfast 4-3
Team:Cathal Fearon,Patrick Byrne, Tiernan Connolly, Cathal McNamee, Niall King, Donal O Neill(0-1) ,Jamie Cosgrove, Ciaran O Hanlon(2-4), Michael Murphy(1-0), Gary Donaghy(0-2), Michael Boyle(0-1), Niall Hollywood, Niall Cromie(1-0), Niall Hannaway(1-0), Thomas Hannaway.