THE main pitch at the Hawkfield Centre of Excellence, looking absolutely splendid, was the venue for this year’s final of the Aldridge Cup between Sarsfields and Maynooth on Friday night last and it was the Newbridge side, under new boss, John Crofton, who lifted the trophy for the first time ever after an enjoyable game played before a decent attendance.
Warm favourites coming into this final, Sarsfields were very comfortable throughout and in winning, along with earlier displays in this opening competition of 2012, sent out a warning that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
Looking extremely fit and sharp so early in the season The Sash who have been putting in an amount of work even before the turn of the year, opened impressively with four quick points after just nine minutes. Dominant in the middle and at half back, Sarsfields knocked over points from Padraig Brennan (2), Declan McKenna and Ray Cahill before Maynooth hardly knew what hit them.
Maynooth got their first score of the game, a John McAndrew point, after twelve minutes but enjoying probably their spell of the half hit three wides on the trot before the boys in green tacked on another through their captain Padraig Brennan to make it 0-5 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.
Conor Canning then hit two in succession to reduce the deficit but it was the Newbridge boys who finished the half in a flourish with points from the impressive Caoimhin McDonnell, Ray Cahill (free), and Conor Tiernan who showed his blistering pace after a great run from McDonnell, to leave the half time score reading Sarsfields 0-8 Maynooth 0-3.
David Comerford raised Maynooth’s first point inside a minute of the resumption but Sarsfields replied instantly. Again it was Caoimhin McDonnell who made ground down the centre, picked out Declan McKenna who managed to squeeze the ball over the line for the opening goal of the game.
Half time substitute, Dermot Earley, with his first touch of the ball, fired over and while Maynooth replied with points from Sean McBride and a lovely move that ended with David Comerford pointing to leave it 1-9 to 0-6.
Caoimhin McDonnell was dictating the game from the middle, his fielding, running and foot passing had Maynooth at sixes and sevens throughout. Sarsfields added their second goal, Eoin O’Sullivan capitalising on a fine Conor Tiernan run to find the net.
Maynooth added a brace of points but it was Sarsfields who had the final say with Ray Cahill pointing a free to leave the final score reading Sarsfields 2-13 Maynooth 0-9.
A fully deserved win for The Sash who have certainly put down a marker early that they will be up there with the best of them this term.
They are moving well, have talent in depth, strong in defence with Sean Campbell, Conor Tiernan and Conor Duffy outstanding. They have a fine midfield pairing in Caoimhin McDonnell (my man of the match) and Ciaran Dempsey while up front they lots of options with Ray Cahill, Declan McKenna and team captain Padraig Brennan all doing well on the night.
Maynooth had their moments but a tendency to overplay the ball and some dreadful passing both from the hand and foot saw them constantly give away possession. They lined out without the influential Karl and Pierre Ennis and injury victim John Comerford and had decent displays from full back Colin O’Neill, Sean Kennedy at 6, Michael Bennett while Conor Canning and John McAndrew also did well.
If early indications are anything to go on, then keep an eye on Sarsfields throughout 2012.
Remember where you read it first!
Sarsfields, Declan McKenna 1-2, Padraig Brennan 0-4 (3 frees), Eoin O’Sulivan 1-0, Ray Cahill 0-3 (3 frees), Caoimhin McDonnell 0-2, Conor Tiernan 0-1, Dermot Earley 0-1.
Maynooth, David Comerford 0-2, Conor Canning 0-2, John McAndrew 0-2 Cillian Carr 0-1 Sean Higgins 0-1Seamus McBride 0-1.
Gavin Slicker; Shane Hurley, David Duggan,Conor Duffy; Ciaran Carey, Sean Campbell, Conor Tiernan; Caoimhin McDonnell, Ciaran Dempsey; Michael Browne, Ray Cahill, Pauric Buckley; Padraig Brennan cpt., Declan McKenna,Eoin O’Sullivan. Subs: Dermot Earley for Padraig Buckley (half time); Matt Byrne for Michael Browne (47 minute); Conor Walsh for Padraig Brennan (49 minute); Ciaran McInerney-Aspell for Sean Campbell (52 minute); Robbie Confrey for Caoimhin McDonnell; D. Hickey for Ray Cahill; Niall Callaghan for Eoin O’Sullivan.
Mark Donnellan; Joe Brennan, Colin O’Neill, Dean McAvinue, Alan McAndrew, Sean Kennedy, Cillian Carr; Michael Bennett, Conor Canning; Sean Higgins, Andrew O’Regan, David Comerford; Vincent Hanrahan, John McAndrew, Fergal Molloy. Subs: Seamus McBride for Fergal Molloy (half time); DJ Canning for Vincent Hanrahan (half time); Cian Egan for Sean Higgins (55 minute); Hugh Purcell for Michael Bennett (55 minute).