Senior C’ship v The Neale match report
The Neale 2-10 Davitts 0-16 (AET) The Neale won 3-2 after a penalty shootout.
Davitts lost their Senior Championship status in the most heart breaking of circumstances in Hollymount on Sunday. There was little to separate the sides throughout and while Davitts looked likely winners as the game entered injury time, leading by four points, a very dramatic goal scored in the seventh minute of the time added on by referee Shane Corcoran, got The Neale out of jail as the game went to extra time. The teams couldn’t be separated after the twenty minutes of extra time was played but it was The Neale that saved their senior status winning 3-2 after the absolute lottery that is the penalty shootout.
Davitts had Colm Boyle back, playing through the pain barrier and leading by example as usual with players like Charlie Phillips, Tomas Ronane, Kieran Fahy, Cathal Corless, Evan Ronane, Niall Treacy and Dmitry Trench in top form.
The first half was a very nervy affair with The Neale settling better and they shot the first two points through Sean Cosgrove in the opening three minute. The evergreen Ronan McNamara, who had a great game throughout, fired over a 5th minute point but this was cancelled out by a Sean Cosgrove free a minute later. Davitts had some uncharacteristic misses before Cathal Corless and Fenton Kelly pointed in the 15th and 19th minutes to level the game. James Luskin for The Neale and Davitts Evan Ronane swapped points before a Niall Treacy point gave Davitts the lead for the first time in the 25th minute. Two minutes later Stephen Conroy got the last score of the half when he pointed to leave the teams tied at 0-5 apiece at the break.
Fenton Kelly opened the second half scoring with a fine point in the 33rd minute but The Neale hit back with with points from Ronan Hughes and James Luskin in the next three minutes to regain the lead. Davitts, with Ronan McNamara now operating at midfield alongside the very impressive Fenton Kelly, began to gain the upperhand and they shot five unanswered points between the 45th and 60th minutes through Ronan McNamara (2), Cathal Corless (2) and Shane Treacy, as they looked to be coasting to victory. The Neale pointed three minutes into injury time but Davitts had a gilt edged goal chance to completely wrap it up but failed to capitalise and this appeared to give the never say die Neale lads renewed hope. While everyone was expecting the full time whistle, the ref allowed play to continue. The Neale were throwing everything at Davitts and were providing anxious moments and they appeared to have one last chance when they were awarded a twenty metre free kick six and a half minutes into injury time. Sean Cosgrove’s thunderbolt of a goal effort cannoned off the crossbar but there was still time for Cosgrove to collect the rebound and have another shot which was blocked but Micheal Varley collected the loose ball and his kick found the Davitts net in a welter of excitement. The ref blew for fulltime then so the teams had to ready themselves for another twenty minutes extra time in the very testing conditions.
Fenton Kelly gave Davitts the lead with a 3rd minute point but Sean Cosgrove fired home a great goal in the 6th minute to give The Neale a two point lead. Davitts rallied and Cathal Corless and Evan Ronayne pointed before halftime to leave the sides level again.
Ronan Hughes put The Neale in front in the 11th minute with a fine point but Ronan McNamara levelled it again with five minutes remaining. Cathal Corless converted a free in the 17th minute but Sean Cosgrove held his nerve to convert a 35 metre free kick with seconds remaining to send the game to a penalty shootout. Everyone present knew that in the event of the sides being level after extra time that the outcome would be decided in this manner but surely a replay would be a fairer way to decide such an important game (and I’m not saying that because we lost). Jack Melvin and Fenton Kelly converted penalties for Davitts as The Neale won the shootout 3-2. Fair play to all five players that stepped up to the spot, all young lads that have years ahead of them in the Davitts jersey and all are top quality players.
On Sunday every Davitts player played their hearts out for the team who like most other teams have been hit hard with injuries. Over this championship the Davitts management have given Championship debuts to nine players. On the whole, this is a very young squad with a few older heads providing leadership. They won promotion in the league, winning the Division 2 title in the process. Playing Division 1 football next year should help enormously towards a successful Intermediate championship campaign. Keep the heads held high lads!
Davitts: Keith Prendergast, Tomas Ronayne, Charlie Phillips, Kieran Fahy, Colm Boyle, Cathal Higgins, Jack Trench, Fenton Kelly (0-3), Cathal Corless (0-5), Jack Melvin, Evan Ronane (0-2), Shane Treacy (0-1), Darragh McGale, Ronan McNamara (0-4), Niall Treacy (0-1). Subs used: Dmitri Trench, Liam Kearns, Mark Ronayne, Johnno Clarke, Micheal Hett.