Match Report, North London Shamrocks V. St Kiernans
The City Jet London Senior Championship Semi Final, 9th of October 2016
North London Shamrocks 0-9 v ST Kiernans 3-4
Last Sunday on a nippy October afternoon in Greenford the North London Shamrocks bowed out of the City Jet Senior championship, with St Kiernans progressing to the London County Senior Football Final with a 3-4 to 0-9 victory.
The game started in a cat and mouse fashion with the Kiernans having the majority of the ball but this was not shown on the scoreboard as they missed an easy free after a foul on Mark Mulholland, followed by a wide from Thomas Waters. Shamrocks were struggling to get out of their own half but when they did were immediately punished when Mark Mulholland was left in acres of space after being let run through from his wing-back position and he took full advantage as he smashed the ball into the net passed NLS keeper Rory Kelly.
Shamrocks responded quickly with a free from Dualtach Molloy after some good interplay between himself and Aidan Campbell. However, the men from Mill Hill were still dominating around the middle and after another wide they slotted over a sublime point from out near the sideline. However, the Shamrocks responded quickly again with a great score from Daryl Roberts who slotted over even though he was being dragged down by his arm. Enda Mc Hugh followed with lovely curled point with the citeog. With Ciaran Hughes popping up all over the field offering support the Shamrocks were not gaining a foothold in the possession stakes but a blow came after 20 mins when Peter McNellis went down with a Hamstring injury – to be replaced by Declan Byrne. This was followed by a controversial moment where a twice taken 45 (seemingly for clapping as the first was being taken – never seen that before!!) ended with the ball being punched to the net by St Kiernans. This was followed by a quick point to suddenly leave 5 between the sides.
Being 5 down and really struggling for possession, the Shamrocks dug in and after a wide from Declan Byrne, a driving run by Denis O’Regan was cynically ended and punished by Dualtach Molloy. Ciaran Hughes then got a deserved score after a great ball from Daryl Roberts. Shamrocks now had the upper hand but after a free on half way was sliced straight to the opposition St Kiernans went straight up the field to add a point to leave it 2-3 to 5 points at the half.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with a lot of back and forth passing, Kiernans on top but not showing it on the board. However, men like Thomas Waters and Mark Mulholland were getting more and more influential and their first point of the half was as a result of a great catch by the former. Fair play to the Shamrocks they again responded straight away with a free from Molloy and then came another pivotal moment when Daryl Roberts drove a rasper of a shot against the post with the keeper rooted to the spot. It was such a great shot that the ball came straight back to Roberts who was fouled. Molloy with the free and we were back to 3 points in it. That effort drove the Shamrocks on and another free from Molloy after a powerful run by Aidan Campbell was cynically ended.
The Shamrocks were forced into another change as Enda McHugh suffered a head injury and was replaced by Brian Harris and St Kiernans took advantage of the re-shuffle as they scored their 3rd goal – a patient build up ended in another high ball into the square that was flicked into the net. This made it a 5-point game again and all seemed over. But the Shamrocks lads kept going and tapped over another free after good work by Hughes and Molloy. A wide from Niall Costello was followed by a great drive from Cormac Coyne that was brilliantly saved by the Kiernans keeper. Coyne went from one end of the field to the other where he made a terrific last ditch tackle to stop a 1 on 1. Another lung-bursting run ended with him up at the attacking end but unfortunately a ball driven in bounced wide.
At this point tensions were simmering all over the pitch as the Shamrocks threw everything and the kitchen sink at the Kiernans defence, the flash point arrived when St Kiernan’s management encroached on to the playing field and clashed with NLS players, thus resulting in an all-in melee. The ref seeing things were getting quickly out of control, blew the final whistle early. Once the dust settled and tempers cooled, hands were shaken and everything was left inside the white lines as this North London derby closed out the Shamrocks Championship run.
A disappointing end to the championship for the Shamrocks but they gave their all and died in their boots. Once again they improved from the season before. Fingers crossed next year will see that continue.