Headford U-21s through to North Board final   11/12/2017

U-21 North Board Semi-Final Replay:
Headford 2-11
Kilconly 1-6

Headford reached the u-21 B North Board Final last Friday night in impressive fashion in this semi-final replay against Kilconly. On a calm, crisp evening and with the temperature struggling to stay above freezing the home side warmed the hearts of a large home crowd in what was the second instalment of “Friday night football” in as many weeks under our new lights.

This unlike last Sunday weeks tie had not got the free flowing football which led to the sharing of 40points over 80 minutes over in Kilconly. This match was a grittier tighter affair and with defending to the fore throughout any chance taken would be a massive push towards the winning post.

The away team who started without their star man Paul Mannion opened the scoring with a free from Conor Marsden and a point from play from Niall Daly. Those scores came after good Headford pressure but a missed free, a wide from play and a goal shot saved by the Kilconly keeper had the home crowd worried that we would be as wasteful in front of goal as the first game.

We finally got on the scoreboard and a fine effort from Padraic Cunninghamsettled the nerves and when Padraic won good possession inside he threaded a pass to Conor O'Malley who levelled up the game with a forceful effort from 30m. A mix up in defence on our own 45 turned possession into a goal chance on the break and after a strong run from the steal by Conor Marsden, he set up Daly for a Kilconly goal. That score seemed to wake us up and it would be the last score we would concede until late in the first half.

A Niall Egan free following a foul on Padraic got us on our way again and when the hard working James O'Brien found himself with time and space he fed Padraic with a long direct pass and he drove the ball to the net from the 13m line. Three more points were to follow. The first was from Eoghan Halloran raiding from the wing and two fine efforts from long range from Padraic left us 1-6 to 1-2 up with 20 mins of the first half gone.

Kilconly then had their best spell of the game. Again, after losing possession cheaply in the middle third Kilconly broke at our defence and narrowly missed a goal chance to the left when it looked easier to get a shot on target. From the kickout the away team won possession again and worked the ball down the side and across the goal and were awarded a penalty. Luckily Marsden shot high and to the right and for a second time in as many minutes we got out of jail. All Kilconly had to show for their efforts was another Daly point from play.
Headford finished the half strong and a free from Niall which led to the score of the game. Good work down the left from Mike OBrien found Niall free inside the 21 and with a half chance of shooting himself he spotted James back outside the 45m line. Without hesitation he hit a cross field ball right in front of our big midfielder and with the outside of his boot landed the point leaving the half time score 1-8 to 1-3.

Kilconly made a bright start to the second half and from the throw in Niall Daly drove through and pointed to leave four between the sides, this was to be their only score from play in the second half. Kilconly were pushing hard, but stout, resolute defending and great pressure from our forwards kept most of the play out around the middle third of the field.
Niall then got a good score after good work from James which was cancelled out with a Marsden free and when Daniel Garvey broke from his full back role he found Padraic who made no mistake from long range. Good work from Conor O’Malley created a point chance for Niall and on his left foot made no mistake. Kilconly again replied with a Marsden free and the same player landed a dangerous high ball into the Headford fullback line which was securely gathered by keeper Rob Forde. This was the only time in the second half that Kilconly looked like getting a chance of a major.
To put a gloss on the scoreline Headford scored a goal at the death on the break. With Kilconly pressing, good work from Cathal Newell created the turnover and Alan Toher found Padraic in space on the 45. He turned and traded passes with Conor and rifled the ball to the net to leave the final score 2-11 to 1-6.

On the night we deserved the win and await the winners of Glenamaddy/Glinsk or Williamstown who play in the other semi final. Kilconly will rue those two missed chances before half time which on another day could have been the winning of the game. We also had chances to put a bigger score on the board and on another day could have been our downfall.

Best on the day were Colin O’Reilly and Dan Garvey in defence, Dylan Cunningham, James and Mike O’Brien in the middle third and Niall Egan and Padraic Cunningham up top would have to be happy with their scoring exploits.

Thanks to the large home support who helped us over the line on the night.

Team: Robert Forde, Sean Monaghan, Daniel Garvey, Colin O'Reilly, Alan Toher, Sean Moran, Geoffrey Corbett, James O'Brien, Dylan Cunningham, Mike O'Brien, Conor O'Malley, Eoghan Halloran, Cathal Newell, Padraic Cunningham, Niall Egan. Subs: Cian Doherty, Daire Doherty & Darra Moran.


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