Battle of Saints won by Galway side as Second Half Spot kick see St. Cuan’s Triumph over St. Joes in evenly fought encounter in glorious Colemanstown Sunshine

St. Cuan’s…………….2   St. Joseph’s ………………0

St. Joseph’s took the long and winding road to Colemanstown, just outside Monivea, on Thursday for their first u17 fixture of the season where they took on St. Cuan’s of Castleblakeney.The Galway side put in a great performance in the u15 competition last year and if today’s game is anything to go by they are carrying this good form with them at u17 level this year. Both schools would have met in the past in Gaelic Football and games were always keenly contested. This was their first soccer encounter.

First of all, a huge credit must go to the local community outside Monivea who have a pitch and clubhouse to be proud of. Considering the wet weather, we have had this autumn the pitch was in wonderful condition. Community effort certainly works in this corner of our neighbouring county.

This was a very good, evenly fought encounter with both sides having players that were full of skill and endeavour. The first half was a stalemate with both teams having chances but both defences were well on top.

The Charlestown boys had great performers in Niall Drudy at right back, ably assisted by Ciarán Honeyman and Jack Brennan who was a colossus in the air. Eoin Goldrick did not put a foot wrong all day and even had a shot that the Cuans ‘keeper parried for a corner. Talisman Jack Mahon did his best to create openings for David Doherty who put in a great shift up front. Dillon Curry worked really hard in midfield and along with Ben Conway did their utmost to try and link play from back to front. With 20 minutes on the clock Luke O’Donohue forced an opening which Mahon just couldn’t squeeze home. Brennan was always a threat at corners and late in the half his powerful effort was blocked while Ben Crean got the rebound, but it was also stopped.

The second half was only second old when Sean Dunleavy was called on to make two good successive save from an eager home side. The game was now taking a very similar pattern to the first half with both sides just falling short of finding the breakthrough in the great Galway sunshine. Ruairi Cullen and Marty McCormack joined the fray and put in performances that suggest they will want a starting position the next day. Cullen was a thorn in the side all second half while on many occasions McCormack was his feeder in chief. Mahon, as captain was leading by example, teasing and tormenting. There were a few chances where better finishing was required and just did not happen. Sometimes there are days like this!

Midway through the half the breakthrough finally arrived and it was an unfortunate one from a Charlestown point of view. The merest touch by Honeyman, who had a fine game, on a St. Cuan’s forward saw the referee point to the penalty spot for a trip. The resultant spot kick was hammered to the back of the net. Mind you, Dunleavy was not far away from grasping it. Whoever scored first would really be in the driving seat and, so it turned out here.St. Joes plied on the pressure and came close a few times, but the best efforts flew over the crossbar, via Cullen, and another Mahon effort was stopped on the goal line. The home side scored a late second goal when their tricky forward broke away and turned an angled shot beyond the away goalkeeper. St. Joseph’s can be proud of their display and will hope to get off the mark in the next u17 encounter.