Elphin/Ballinameen U16s claim League title

An Excellent display from Elphin/Ballinameen U16s on Sunday evening against Roscommon Gaels in the Division 2 league final, which was held in Enfield, yielded a well deserved League title.

Played in excellent conditions Elphin/Ballinameen got the first score of the game within the first two minutes of play. Corner forward John Finnerty was fouled and Diarmaid McCaffery duly kicked his side into the lead. Roscommon Gaels responded on four Minutes with a well taken score from play. Elphin/Ballinameen created the first meaningful goal opportunity of the game as Dara Casserly-Beirne poured forward and fed Gavan Murray who beat his man and unleashed a powerful shot which took a defection up and on to the crossbar and somehow Roscommon Gaels managed to survive. Some great defending by Ben Gleeson and in particular Dara Casserly-Beirne, who on one occasion cleared a ball of his own line to deny Roscommon Gaels a goal. Elphin/Ballinameen moved the ball forward before Diarmaid McCaffery kicked his first point from play to put his side up by a point with 12 minutes of play gone., Elphin/Ballinameen were creating opportunities and some good build up play involving Rossa Brennan Kelly, Gavan Murray and Ronan Garvin who in turn found Diarmaid McCaffery free on the edge of the square. His shot was well smothered by the Gaels Goalkeeper and Elphin-Ballinameen were denied. With 20 minutes on the clock Elphin/Ballinameen finally made the break through as Ronan Garvin picked up possession on the 45 meter line and scorched through the Roscommon Gaels defence and launched a thunderous shot into the Roscommon Gaels net.

Elphin-Ballinameen led 1-2 to 0-01. Ronan Garvin was looking threatening throughout as he kicked another good score on 25mins after good build up play from Dara casserly beirne, Rossa Brennan Kelly and Gavan Murray. Roscommon Gaels responded with a well taking goal. Powerful Midfielder Mark Purcell drove through the heart of the Elphin/Ballinameen defence and found a support runner of the shoulder who duly blasted the ball into the roof of the Elphin/Ballinameen net. Ronan Garvin kicked the final score of the half to leave the score line at Elphin/Ballinameen 1-4 – Roscommon Gaels 1-1 at half time. Roscommon Gaels flew out of the traps early in the second half and immediately set about reeling Elphin/Ballinameen in. A well struck free in the 34th minute followed by a good score from Gaels Midfielder Mark Dwyer narrowed the gap back to 1 point with 38 minutes of play gone. Roscommon Gaels were level at 1-4 a piece following another attacking move before Mark Dwyer pointed for his side.

The momentum seemed to be changing but credit to the Elphin/Balinameen players they never panicked and set about upping the ante. Elphin/Ballinameen needed a response and Diarmaid McCaffery kicked a nice score on the 41 min mark to put Elphin/Ballinameen ahead again .Ronan Garvin and Gavan Murray combined before the ball fell to wing forward Evan Gunn who put the ball over the bar to put his side ahead by 2 Points. Declan main broke through the Gaels defence before finding McCaffery who coolly slotted the ball over the bar and pushed the margin out to 3 points. The score of the game arrived on the 46th minute mark as the energetic Gavan Murray done brilliantly to turn over possession deep in his own half He carried the ball up the field before finding centre forward Ronan Garvin with an inch perfect pass he turned and drove the ball over the black spot pushing Elphin/Ballinameen 4 Points clear with 15 minutes of play left. Roscommon Gaels responded with a well struck free of the ground from Mark Purcell to bring it back to a 3 point game entering the home straight. Another booming Purcell kick reduced the lead to 2 points with 10 minutes left on the clock. Elphin/Ballinameen then took control of the game from the kick out Ronan Garvin won clean possession and a neat play involving the hard working Declan Main, he bisected the posts to put 3 between the sides. An inspirational Gavan Murray point soon followed as he raced up the sideline before finding the target. Elphin/Balinameen kicked for home as Garvin again sliced through the defence before passing the ball to John Finnerty on the edge of the square and he fired over a great score to put Elphin/Ballinameen 5 clear with 6 minutes remaining, Elphin/Ballinameen now had all the momentum and energy as each player worked tirelessly to kill of the Gaels challenge. Rossa Brennan Kelly won the resulting kick out and he fed McCaffery who popped over his 5th of the game. McCaffery added another free before Rossa Brennan Kelly kicked a super score from distance after a strong run up the field to put the icing on the cake and Elphin/Ballinameen on the brink of lifting the cup. McCaffery pushed a free wide late on. Roscommon Gaels pushed for a goal but strong defending from Ben Gleeson, Dara casserly beirne and Gavan Murray denied them any meaningful opportunities. They did manage a consolation point late on as Elphin/Ballinameen keeper Alex Rossiter Obrien did well to push over a dipping shot. Referee Jimmy Donohue blew the full time whistle to jubilation as Elphin/Ballinameen had won the cup and secured Division 1 football for the remainder of the year.
Elphin/Ballinameen joint captain Gavan Murray and Ronan Garvin lifted the cup to the delight of the on looking supporters.

On a day where everyone played well and can be happy with their contributions best for Elphin/Ballinameen on the day were Gavan Murray who was a real driving force behind everything his team done well. Ronan Garvin was a thorn in the Gaels defence all day long as he punished them time and time again with his pace and skill. Dara casserly beirne defended excellently for his team breaking up lots of attacks and starting attacks. Rossa Brennan Kelly held his own in midfield kicking a great score while catching the eye with some aerial fetches. Diarmaid McCaffery played well up front and kicked some important scores for his team

Team and Scorers

1.Alex Rossiter Obrien 2.Cian Beirne 3.Ben Gleeson 4.Charlie Brady 5.Robbie Lee 6.Gavan Murray 7.Thomas McGrath 8.Rossa Brennan Kelly 9.Conor Durkin 10.Evan Gunn 11.Ronan Garvin 12.Declan Main 13.John Finnerty 14.Diarmaid McCaffery 15.Dara Casserly Beirne.
Subs 17.Luke Gunn 18.Alan Gormaly 19.Danny Traynor 20. Emmet Keane 22.Ewan Clarke 23.Sean Brady 24.Kyle Casey 25.Jack Durr 26.James McNamara 27.James Brenan 28.Christopher Sabinda 29. Adam Dwyer
Scorers: Ronan Garvin {1-4} Diarmaid McCaffery {0-6 2 frees} Evan Gunn {0-1} John Finnerty {0-01} Gavan Murray {0-01} Rossa Brennan Kelly {0-01}