IT has been something of a roller coaster season for Naas senior footballers to date, winning their opening five SFL games before causing a major upset in the SFC defeating Sarsfields, writes Tommy Callaghan.
Senior Football League Division 1
However since that championship victory things have turned rather sour for Mark Millham’s team chalking up seven league defeats on the trot and plunging down the table with just three game left including this one on Sunday against Athy.
Unlucky not to get anything out of their mid-week game against Celbridge, Naas were showing signs of returning to their best form and boy did they hit a peak when steam rolling Athy in Round 13 of the league at Naas on Sunday.
On a heavy and very greasy pitch after some torrential rain over the past week or so, Naas went about their business with purpose, with intent and they duly got their reward.
Having said that it was Athy who opened the scoring with Liam McGovern splitting the posts inside a minute.
Naas responded through Michael McDonald and went on to hit another four points in a row between the 2nd and 19th minute with white flags from Fiachra Piggott, Conor Mellett Ronan Joyce and Mellett again. The fifth a beauty with Stephen Piggott and Ronan Joyce heavily involved seting up Mellett who made no mistake.
Athy had plenty of possession during this period but they were finding the posts hard to find and the Naas defence sticky and difficult to break down.
Two magnificent blocks inside a minute by Brian Kane epitimosed the Naas approach and a break away from that second block saw Joey Cocoman stretch the lead to 0-6 to 0-1 after 28 minutes.
Ken Brophy finally got Athy’s second score some 31 minutes after getting their first to leave the half time score reading Naas 0-6 Athy 0-2.
Naas were in a strong position as the second half commenced and the county town boys got off to a brilliant start with two quick fire points from Joey Cocoman, the second coming after Neill Higgins made a brilliant block as Athy were attacking.
Conor Mellett stretched the lead to seven with a free minutes before Ronan Joyce got a heavy ‘knock’ which required attention.
Almost immediately Conor Mellett gained possession some 65m out, spotted Ronan Joyce in behind the Athy defence and with a delightful flick pass found his man who made no mistake from close in to leave it Naas 1-9 Athy 0-2.
Mellett increased th lead with a free before Liam McGovern got his side’s third point from a free after 40 minutes..
The same player added another free but there was no let up by the Naas lads who added three more Mellett points and while Athy’s no. 2, Sean Ronan got forward for a point it came after some stout defending saw Naas ensure the green flag would remain firmly in position at the bottom of the post.
Both sides added two points before the end, McGovern getting two for Athy while Ronan Joyce and Neil Farragher did the honours for a rampant Naas side who won on a score line of Naas 1-15 Athy 0-7.
Honours went where they belong and the only mystery remains is how Naas had gone seven games without a win.
They had some fine displays especially from Paul Sullivan, Brochan Cocoman, Neill Higgins and Conor Ferguson did well in the middle while up front Joey Cocoman, Ronan Joyce and mercurial Conor Mellett punished Athy time and time again.
Athy had decent displays from Tony Gibbons, Liam McGovern, Sean Ronan and while Sean Bradley did not get on the score sheet nevertheless he was prominent throughout.
Naas, Conor Mellett 0-7 (5 frees), ROnan Joyce 1-2, Joey Cocoman 0-3, Michael McDonald 0-1, Fiachra Piggott 0-1, Neil Farragher 0-1.
Athy, Liam McGovern 0-5 (4 frees), Ken Brophy 0-1, Sean Ronan 0-1.
Sean Whitson; Paul Sullivan, Richard Ormsby, Steven Pigott; Brochan Cocoman, Kevin Curtis, Brian Kane; Neil Higgins, Conor Fergeson; Michael McDonald, Joey Cocoman, Fiachra Pigott; Neil Farragher, Conor Mellett, Ronan Joyce. Sub: Ross Bergin for Michael McDonald (56 minute).
James Roycroft; Sean Ronan, David McGovern, Luke Thomas; Shane O’Brien, Tony Gibbons, Ross Bell; Danny O’Keffe, Declan Kinahan; Hugh Mahon, Ken Brophy, Liam McGovern; John Mahon, James Eaton, Sean Bradley. Subs: David O’Toole forHugh Mahon (47 minute); Stephen Doyle for John Mahon (57 minute>