Tomnafinnog comes through a tough fight with St. Nicholas

tomnafinnoge 0-13

T. Nichols 1-5

Tinaheli last Sunday morning had perfect football conditions for this Under-19 ‘A’ semi-final match between Tomnafinoghe and St. Nicholas. While little nipple for spectators in the stands, the game of football that was served by the young men on the field was more than enough to warm them up.

There was a lot of talent on display with both sides in the game, but a notable absence for Tomnafinnog was Matthew Ging who was not toggled due to suspension: a heavy loss to the Southern team from the start before an already interesting fight.

It was St. Nicholas who gave the teams a quick start as they progressed from a throw through Tom Moran to Jack Reed, who was fouled within 30 seconds of the start. Reed gave the slot for free and off we went. This was followed by a drifting team score by the West men. It was Matt Miley who ended a move that saw the ball pass through the hands of Tom Moran, Oisin O’Frail and Shane Daly.

At this point, Tomnafinnoge managed to keep his hand on the ball and began running into the St. Nicholas defence. In the process, they managed to win themselves two freebies through the efforts of Rory O’Dare and O’Dran O’Callaghan. Talisman Cillian McDonald later popped two frees over the bar before adding a monster to the score from seconds of play. The roar grew, and the game was catching on fire.

Three minutes later, St Nicholas’ corner-forward Sean Doyle planted his trusty left boot and delivered a delightful dummy single before scoring a fine on the bar. Both sides were agitating the crowd and the crowd was reacting.

Just before the water break, St. Nicholas had a long walk with Jack Reed standing over it. Reid went for it, only to find the ball painfully short. It was put back in the box for play, but it was Doyle who was quickest to react and fist the net. A Major just before the water broke.

Interestingly, Tomnafinnoge started with a kick out and left Adam Haden back as sweeper for the first quarter. This was allowing Tom Moran, Mickey O’Rourke and Jack Grace to set the stage for the attack, especially for St. Tomnafinoghe, on the other hand, was allowing the attackers to the west for 45 before retaliates with pressure and speed. An interesting battle of wits unfolds.

After the water break, it was Tomnafinnog who were the fastest from the blocks and, in a true attacking sense, the only team that came out after the water break. He adjusted the strategy and insisted on a St. Knicks kick out and forced some important scores.

Diarmuid Lambert scored when a goal looked only to be blocked. Rory O’Dwyer added a free before O’Dran O’Callaghan finished a brilliant move that included an early low ball to McDonald’s Daniel Hederman, Hederman handed O’Callaghan in a stride, who took his Moved the man forward and floated the score.

St Nick was struggling for a kick-out and could not touch the ball at this point. Ciaran Lambert lay down on a stray kick-out and fed Rory O’Dwyer who ended up over the bar.

With Tomnafinoghe really into the climb, he scored a goal chance at the stroke of half-time that would have certainly ended the game. McDonald took the ball from the headerman like a train bearing the goal, only to blaze as wide as the half-time whistle.

West’s men went down three points, but they need to find answers to the second half if they want to come out on top here. Half-time scores: Tomnafinoghe 0-9, St. Nicholas 1-3.

To be fair to St Nicholas’ men, they got plenty of answers from Tomnafinoghe in the opening exchanges of the second half. He played some teak tough, strong-willed and brave football, and he seemed to be taking the lead. He made a notable change to advance the Tomnafinog players at half-time and made a strong move to make it 15 on 15 football.

A key moment in the game came three minutes into the half, when Jack Grace plucked the ball and walked down the field. After giving and going, the ball eventually ended up with Jack Reed, who bound it on goal, only to miss a slight right of goals. What difference could it have made?

Tomnafinoghe eventually matched up and began to overtake the Western men. Cillian McDonald received a ball he had no right on before feeding it to Liam O’Neill, who kicked a score to his left. Seven minutes later, McDonald’s, with the help of a post, kicked an unprecedented score from a free near the side-line at Tinaheli. Next, substitute Oisin Gorman scored a classy looking left foot to extend the lead. Three big moments in a game that was taking off from St. Nicholas at the moment.

They weren’t one to lay down, however, as the excellent Sean Doyle caught a fine score on the loop around the storm run by Jack Grace.

Tomnafinnoge responded almost immediately, as Patrick Murphy raided the ground to get the score from the wing back. He immediately had a chance to score a goal that would have ended the game early in the 53rd minute. Liam O’Neill went on a maze run in the middle of the defence, handed O’Dharan O’Callaghan, who exploded towards goal, hitting the post and back into play. A gilt-edge chance.

The final seven or so minutes were heatedly contested as St. Nicholas’ attack came to an end, and Tomnafinoghe set out to rebut the attack. Men in either team were shown red cards for other bookable offences, who were simply down for the drive, with one side to bridge the gap and the other to maintain that gap.

St. Nicholas secured the final score of the game for free via Jack Reed. They were papering the Tomnafinnoge 21-yard line with ball after ball, only to get away with an excellent reading of the game and defensive noose.

He had one last chance in the final minutes of the game when Reid patted one of those balls to Jack Grace. He let it fly, and Kaomhin Rossen was on hand to put it out. The final whistle blew, and it was Tomnafinoge who reached the final.

It was a cracking game to capture what we all love about the game of football. There was long kick passing, counter attacking, high fielding and tough tackle. A very high standard of football with some fantastic young talent on show. Cillian McDonald, Liam O’Neill, Bradley Hickey and O’Dharan O’Callaghan impressed for Tomnafinoge, while Tom Moran, Jack Grace, Oisin O’Frill and Sean Doyle led the lead for Nick.

Tomnafinoghe: Kaomhin Rawson; Odran Doyle, Thomas Hayden, Maurice Hederman; Patrick Murphy (0-1), Ciaran Lambert, Larry Kinsella; Cillian McDonald (0-6, 5f), Liam O’Neill (0-1); O’Dharan O’Callaghan (0-1), Bradley Hickey, Diarmuid Lambert (0-1); Rory O’Dare (0-2, 1f), Daniel Hederman, Adam Hayden. Members: Oisin Gorman (0-1) for Diramuid Lambert, Darragh Rawson for Rory O’Dwyer, Owen Hederman for Odran Doyle, James McDonald for Larry Kinsella.

St. Nicholas: Brian Keogh; Ciaran Geoghegan, Liam Metcalf, Jack Grace; Mickey O’Rourke, Tom Moran, Ronan Kelly; Eoin Sheridan, Oisin O’Frill; Matt Miley (0-1), Shane Daly, Connor Manifold; Sean Doyle (1-2, 1f), Jack Reed (0-2, 2f), Joe Mills. Membership: Adam Byrne for Joe Mills.

Referee: Jason Smith (Stratford-Grangecon)