Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Leinster Post-Primary Schools “A” championship

St. Mel’s College, Longford  2-20     Athlone Community College 1-10

Athlone Community College, with a panel drawn almost entirely from clubs all across South Roscommon, fell victim to a fourth-quarter surge from St. Mel’s of Longford in their knockout championship clash played at the home field of the Athlone school this afternoon.

13 out of 15 starters and all four substitutes used were drawn from the five southernmost clubs in the county (St. Brigid’s, Clann na nGael, Pádraig Pearses, St. Aidan’s and St. Dominic’s), under the guidance of Tomás Gilleran (St. Dominic’s) and Niall Carty (Pádraig Pearses) and they were far more competitive than the final score suggested, only falling away in the final quarter when St. Mel’s built on their goal in the 49th minute to add ten of the last eleven points of the match.

Longford minor county stars Matthew Carey and Paddy Moran ran riot in that final quarter with a string of wonderful points, bringing their final tallies up to 0-10 (0-3f, 0-2m) and 0-5 respectively.

Good scores from Daniel Keenan, Shane Gavin and Tomás O’Neill gave the wind-assisted Athlone side an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead, but that was cancelled out when Andrew Flynn’s high shot was spilled on the goal line and Conor Clancy was on hand to slap the ball over the line for an equalising goal.

Unperturbed, Athlone Community College continued to apply plenty of pressure in the first half of the game and they took a narrow 0-8 to 1-4 lead into the break, with Cormac Mulry and Keenan firing over excellent points to give them something to defend after the interval.

Playing with the wind increased the scoring range for Carey and Moran however and they quickly put St. Mel’s on the front foot after half time, stretching the lead out to four points – 1-10 to 1-9 – before a slick move involving Keenan and Oisín Canny set up substitute Jack Nevin for a simple tap in goal.

Crucially, St. Mel’s reply was immediate, and decisive. On a slick breakaway move, a sublime pass from Moran into the chest of Carey left the Clonguish attacker clean through on goal and once he forced Darren Quinn to come off his line, a simple handpass left Andrew Flynn with a tap in.

A black card for Jason Mulvey increased the pressure on the home side and the last 15 minutes was one way traffic, with St. Mel’s tacking on ten points in succession, interrupted only by a close range free from Roscommon minor county midfielder Oisín Ó Flaharta that was blasted at goal, but parried over the bar.

St. Mel’s now advance to meet Scoil Mhuire of Clane in the quarter-final round, which was disappointing news for the vast majority of the Roscommon contingent at the game, with one notable exception – Damien Rooney of St. Faithleach’s, who is part of the St. Mel’s coaching team.

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