1995 U21 County Championship Winners.
first success at under 21 level came in 1995. This report was
taken from "The Topic" of April 4th 1996.
Ballycomoyle’s long wait for
success in the under 21 grade finally came to an end at
Castletown-geoghegan on Saturday last when a whirlwind finish from the
North Westmeath club overpowered Tubberclair in what was an excellent 1995
under 21 “B” Football Championship (13 a side) decider.
As this was Ballycomoyle’s
first outright success in Under 21 football the victory, not surprisingly,
was one of immense significance for a club which rarely claims a place in
the limelight. Scenes of overflowing joy greeted Ballycomoyle’s historic
win after what was a tremendous final, thus ending a wait of five years
since the club last reaped honours in the Junior grade.
winning margin may suggest that this was a slightly one sided final but
the victors will be the first to admit that they had to call on all their
resources to pull through. As the game entered the last quarter, both
teams were deadlocked, ensuring spectators of a nail-biting finale. It was
noticeable though that Tubberclair, who had opened up a four point lead
five minutes after the interval, were struggling at this stage to come to
terms with a magnificent Ballycomoyle rally and almost inevitably, this
pressure was to pay dividends.
With 12 minutes remaining the
North county team gained the decisive breakthrough when forcing their way
in front for the first time in nearly 40 minutes. Once that happened there
was simply no stopping Ballycomoyle as they completed a memorable
second-half performance with a storming finish; the last action being a
cracking insurance goal from corner forward, Joey Williams.
The first half of this game was
relatively evenly contested, a half in which Tubberclair retired at the
interval leading by 1-5 to 0-5. David Gorman opened the scoring for
Ballycomoyle after two minutes but seconds later Damien Burke had
equalised for Tubberclair. John Gavigan restored Ballycomoyle’s
advantage after nine minutes but for the remainder of the half, the
Glasson based club would come out on top in the scoring stakes.
Two unanswered points per Keith
Henry and David O’Brien sent Tuberclair into the lead for the first
time. After 13 minutes Ballycomoyle were presented with a glorious
opportunity to open their goal scoring account when Joey Williams was
grounded by Tubberclair netminder, Gary Connaughton for a penalty.
However, from the resultant spot-kick, Seán McEoin crashed a powerful
drive against the crossbar and the ball rebounded into the safe arms of a
Attacking wing-back, Henry
English, came forward soon afterwards to tie matters up at 0-3 apiece
before on 18 minutes, Tubberclair manufactured the game’s first goal.
The goal came about when a high centre from Paul Fagan was broken by
Padraig Connell into the path of David O’Brien who blasted home from
about 10 metres. Now in the driving seat, Tubberclair took a grip on
proceedings around mid-field and in doing so, held onto their three point
lead at half time, the interval scoreline reading 1-5 to 0-5 in their
Barry Kennedy 0-4, Joey Williams 1-0, David Gorman, John Gavigan, Barry
Smyth and Seán McEoin 0-2 each, Henry English and Christo Murtagh 0-1
O’Brien 1-3, Keith Henry and John Reid 0-2 each, Damien Burke 0-1.
Paddy McCabe, Ciaran Williams, Seamus Farrelly, Paul Williams, Fergal
Fagan, Henry English, Barry Smyth, John Gavigan, Seán McEoin, Christo
Murtagh, David Gorman, Barry Gorman, Joey Williams.
Gary Connaughton, Andrew Coghill, Carthage Conlon, Oliver Martin, Brendan
O’Neill, Ger Gallagher, John Reid, Paul Fagan, David O’Brien, David
Fagan, Padraig Connell, Keith Henry, Damien Burke. Subs: Alan Keeegan for
D. Fagan, Bernard Cassells for Burke.
Referee – Liam McDaniels (Kilbeggan
The action was tentative in the early
stage of the second half and when John Reid shot over to put Tubberclair four
points clear, the signs didn’t seem encouraging for Ballycomoyle. However,
Ballycomoyle’s decision to switch centre forward, Christo Murtagh, to midfield
proved a masterstroke and it wasn’t long before the results proved most
rewarding. The sheer strength, size and power of Murtagh was simply too much for
Tubberclair as Ballycomoyle’s territorial dominance became more and more
noticeable the longer the game progressed.
It wasn’t just Murtagh who was
beginning to make a major impact in the Ballycomoyle colours. Barry Smyth, John
Gavigan, Seán McEoin and Barry Kennedy spearheaded an awesome spell of
Ballycomoyle pressure which was to be maintained for the game’s remainder. Six
points without reply -some of which were fabulous scores- between the sixth and
nineteenth minutes helped the inspired Ballycomoyle lads into a two point lead
while a shell-shocked Tubberclair had literally no answer. To their credit
Tubberclair lifted themselves enough to penetrate the barriers Ballycomoyle had
erected on the half-way line and as a result, two points were yielded, keeping
the game very much in the balance. Ballycomoyle, who had responded with a great
score from their rising star, Seán McEoin, were persistent though, and had
opened up a three point lead with the game entering injury time. One minute of
injury time had elapsed when Ballycomoyle put the icing on the cake courtesy of
an unstoppable shot from Joey Williams, by which time their success starved fans
had broken into wild delirium.
The victors had a host of exceptional
performers in their fully deserved success. Seamus Farrelly was rock solid in
the full back line while in front of him Fergal Fagan and Henry English were
particularly impressive. Christo Murtagh was the most prominent figure on the
field when stationed in Midfield, receiving good assistance from John Gavigan
and Barry Smyth. In attack Barry Kennedy was masterful, scoring some outrageous
points in the process while others in this department also worthy of note were
Seán McEoin, David Gorman and Joey Williams.
For the losers, goalkeeper Gary
Connaughton further enhanced his ever growing reputation and his claims for the
number one jersey on the county minor team with a fine display; his mammoth
kick-outs were quite amazing for such a young netminder. Oliver Martin and
Brendan O’Neill fared well in defence while John Reid and Paul Fagan worked
hard in midfield before fading somewhat in the second period. Of the attack,
David O’Brien and a quieter than usual Keith Henry were the pick.