Mágh Cuilinn 4-13
Michael Cusack's 3-11
A good crowd of parents, player colleagues and club supporters turned up to support of 2015 Minor B team as they tried to secure a Minor Shield title to the U16 championship won in 2013. If the pitch was understandably thin on grass (fair play to Kinvarra for releasing it), the conditions were otherwise perfect.
Michael Cusack's seemed to have the better of the early exchanges in general play but Mágh Cuilinn between ability to take scores and frees led by the narrowest of margins toward the end of the half. A goal from Anraoi Whyte cancelled out an earlier strike from Cusack's while Shane Clancy also added a point from play to his unerring tally from frees. As halftime neared, Cusack's upped the ante, puting pressure on short passing out the field and 1-02 to a single point in reply saw them go in 2-07 to 1-07 ahead at the break. Any moaners about Micheál Bohan's performance on the goal were silenced by two excellent stops from point blank range.
After a period in midfield and in defence, in the second half Anraoi Whyte was restored to the full forward line and was initially starved of possession as the ball was slow coming although a free by Shane Clancy cut the deficit to two. Dara Davoren lined a free from 80m and dropped high on top of Anraoi, who rose, caught, moved out and pointed over his shoulder. The next ball, was superbly caught running toward goal while falling, the handpass was doubled on but wide. The next saw a change of tactic, an overhead pull, with the clash breaking to Evan Kenny who finished the bouncing sliothar to the net. Sean Barrett then gave Shane Clancy a ball to chase down the left wing which he collected and scored from a tight angle to stretch the lead to three. Cusack's did respond with a point before route one for the fourth time was Anraoi caught, who powered away from the defender and struck the stanchion in the net so hard that Ciaran Scully felt obliged to collect and finish the rebound from the 13m line. No need the umpire was already on his way! Michael Cusack's to their credit did respond and pulled back another point. The leaders were guilty of falling back too far and as predicted on the ditch, the massed defence cleared to an absent half forward-line. The return evaded three Mágh Cuilinn defenders before a ball broke inside to their free left corner forward who guided it deftly past Micheál Bohan. The game was back to one point and Mágh Cuilinn were rocking a little. Micheál Bohan was forced to reprise his point blank stop of earlier. Mágh Cuilinn needed a score to steady the ship and Shane Clancy dug the ball out of a ruck found a few yards of space and duly obliged. Some shape and order was returned, and once again the high ball provided reward as once again, he caught, he moved and he struck; this time content to place it in the corner. The five point margin was restored. Anraoi was on hand to catch again and this time was content to repeat his opening score of the half. Cusack's still would not give up and responded with a point. Again Anraoi rose high but he was not going anywhere although referee, Paschal Sheehan, saw fit to award a 20m free and not a penalty. Shane Clancy obliged. Almost immediately, the ball broke through the Magh Cuilinn rearguard as earlier, but although Micheál Bohan looked to have the situation under control he missed his ground stroke and in the resultant meleé, a penalty was awarded. It might be a tight finish after all. After some delay sorting out the position and trying to enforce the D, the Cusack's striker chose top right corner, he chose unwisely, although well struck, Micheál Bohan swatted it away and Paul Wynne threw himself full stretch to deny any chance the shot from a tight angle on the rebound would score. Squeaky bum time was avoided then as full time approached. Cusack's continued to press for a goal but their final effort was deflected high and over the bar. Mágh Cuilinn were good value for their five points in the end.
Mágh Cuilinn: Micheál Bohan, Tim McDonagh, James Dempsey, Aaron Connell, Paul Wynne, Caleb McGuinness, Gareth Kenny, Joseph Lydon, Dara Davoren, Ryan Fox, Ciarán Scully, Sean Barrett, Anraoi Whyte, Walter McDonagh, Shane Clancy,
Subs: Evan Kenny, Jamie Cox, Micheál Joyce, Alan Carr, Tom O'Connor, Andrew McDonagh, Owen Hester, Fionn McDonagh, Dylan Curran, Ceillan Leonard, Ger McDonagh, Neil Mulcahy, Kian McLochlann.
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