Senior Championship Final Match Report
The club contested its 4th senior championship final in a row yesterday, our 17th in all. Played in a gale force wind against a St Kiernan's side contesting its first senior championship final a tough match was expected.
St Kiernan's started with the winds at their backs and took full advantage by pressurising the Gaels coming out of defence and were rewarded for their work rate by forcing the Gaels to concede a free and pointing to take the lead. The Gaels were made to work hard to get the ball out of defence but once they did they found themselves in acres of space in the Kiernan's defence. The Gaels opened their scoring when Mark Gottsche scored a monster of a 45 against the wind.
The Gaels started to find their rhythm and took the lead when Adrian Hanlon pointed a free after Brian Duddy was fouled. Mark Gottshce and Hanlon started to get to grips with the game and after a strong run out of defence from Gottsche, Niall Boyle did well to set up Hanlon who lobbed the keeper to raise the green flag.
The Gaels dominance was ended when Hanlon got a black card for a pull on a St Kiernan's player on 15 minutes which was to prove a big blow for the Gaels. From the resulting play the ball was pumped into the Gaels square and the ball found its way into Declan Traynor's net. The crowd on the bank hardly drew their breath when Cathal Magee found himself cantering through the Kiernan's defence and layed the ball square for Seamie Friel to drive the ball below the stretched Kiernans keeper to swing the game back in favour of the Gaels. John McGrath tagged on another point to keep the pressure on the Kiernan's.
That was the last the Gaels were to trouble the umpires and with the strong wind hampering the shooting the Kiernan's registered 4 points on the trot to take a 1 point lead into the break.
The Gaels were dealt another blow when Liam Gavigan was black carded 5 minutes into the 2nd for dragging, he was causing the Kiernan's all sorts of problems running through midfield. Seamie Friel levelled the game swinging over a point from near the sideline. The Kiernan's wing backs were doing some damage probing the gales defence and were almost rewarded with a goal when big Lyons made his way past two Gaels defenders to blast over the bar via the crossbar. St Kiernan's piled on the pressure with a free courtesy of a free.
The next 10 minutes belonged to the Gaels and their scoring spree was were the game was won. Firstly John McGrath was on hand to stroke over a free, then on winning the kick out, Niall Boyle in little space scored a cracker of a point from distance. Again winning the kick out Cathal Magee was able to raise the white flag again. St Kiernan's relieved the pressure with a point against the run of play but when a goal mouth in the Kiernan's box resulted in Brian Duddy poking home to give the Gaels their 3rd goal St Kiernans were chasing the game against a strong breeze.
The last ten minutes of the game edged out with Seamie Friel and the outstanding Cathal Magee points cancelled replies from the Kiernans who were chasing a goal. As injury time neared the Gaels were 4 points up with the Kiernans desperate for the goals. After a short free in and 45 for the Kiernans, they were unable to break the Gales defence and the ref blew full time to confirm this group of player credentials as the best team in London over the past 4 years. This game was a battle from start to finish and giving the conditions it was a very enjoyable game of football. Cathal Magee was rewarded with man of the match, Mark Gottsche, Seamie Friel and Marty McCoy also stood out. Congratulations to Barney, Lloyd and JP for delivering a 2nd title on the trot, a 3rd in 4 years and 16th overall. The players also deserve a huge credit with most of this team on the go since 2012.