Raheens made it 2 wins from 2 in this years’ U21 A’ Championship with a marginal home win over near neighbours Clane in icy conditions last Saturday afternoon at Tom Lawlor Park, writes Eoin Beatty.
Under 21 A Football Championship Quarter Final
Having emerged triumphant with relative ease against Sarsfields the week previous, the men in yellow and blue were determined to do the same against Clane but in fact didn’t have it all their own way.
With only 1-6 out of 1-20 between the two sides scored from play and the rest from frees, it wasn’t the most entertaining game to say the least. However the blustery wind and bitter cold conditions didn’t help.
Clane’s Conor Murphy and Raheens’ Alan Igoe had a considerable amount of pressure and responsibility on their backs as they were the designated free-takers and it turned out to be a day for the placed ball. The two experienced players duly obliged to their role and racked up an impressive 15 points between them.
Murphy, who did all the scoring for Clane up until the 40th minute pointed with just 2 minutes on the clock but that was soon to be cancelled out by a John Jennings goal and Darren Early point for Raheens.
With just 5 minutes of the game gone, Clane would never edge their way back into the lead despite their best efforts and determination.
Nine of this Raheens team were on the Intermediate panel that reached the Championship final to be beaten by Monasterevan a couple of weeks back. One such player was midfielder Alan Igoe, arguably their best player against Clane, opened his account with 2 free kicks in a row before half time, followed by David Ivers splitting the posts under pressure from Craig Gartland.
Conor Murphy, a former Kildare minor player had the final say before the interval with an excellent point from a sideline ball. It wasn’t enough however to restore parity and Raheens lead at the break on a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-5.
The second half saw only two points from play but did exhibit some good football at times and certainly improved on the opening period’s display.
Murphy picked up from where he left off before the break, with a point, knocking over a difficult 21 yard free, off the ground against the wind.
Alan Igoe did all the scoring for his side in the second half and registered his first after 5 minutes, once again coming from a free.
Clane had a golden opportunity to throw this game wide open with just 10 minutes left. Bernard Deay launched a high ball into full-forward Conor Murphy who broke the ball for the on-rushing Eoin O’Neill who had the chance to blast the ball into the back of the net on the half volley but instead smashed the ball over the bar.
Raheens in many ways saw this to be a slight let off and gained momentum. They went down to rack up a further 3 points on the trot, all coming from Alan Igoe free kicks.
Clane had one final throw of the dice before the full time whistle, Jack Kelly broke through on goal with only seconds of the game left to unleash a shot, but a crowd of Raheens defenders threw their bodies on the line to avert danger.
Overall, Raheens were the better team and their experience proved pivotal.
Liam Power, Dean Campbell, Paddy O’Brien, Gary Woodgate, Cian Conlon, Graham Waters, Niall Connolly, David Fitzpatrick, Alan Igoe (0-7f), David Ivers (0-1), Gareth Malone, John Jennings (1-0), Barry Winder, Darren Earley (0-1), David Malone.
Paddy McKenna, Cathal Fitzpatrick, Tom Cribben, Barry Egan, Craig Gartland, Eoin Kelly, Cian O’Donoghue (0-1), Jack Kelly, Sean Christanseen, Bernard Deay, Ryan McGrath, Eoin O’Neill, Cathal Egan, Conor Murphy (0-8 2f), Cian Kilkenny. Sub: Sean O’Rourke (0-1) for Cathal Egan.