2008 Westmeath Under 14 Division1 County Final

Heartache for spirited Caulry Side

Mullingar Shamrocks 4-11
Caulry 2-6
 
Mullingar Shamrock’s ability to continue to turn out championship winning sides at juvenile level was evidenced once again on Saturday last when the latest crop of young guns came good in the Under 14 Division 1 final, played in Kilbeggan. 

On this occasion it was Caulry who were to feel the brunt of the Shamrocks endeavour as they went down to an eleven point defeat. Mechanical difficulties encountered by the appointed match referee, Mr. Derek Heffernan meant the game was delayed by half an hour and the Killucan official came in for some unwarranted attention at the game’s end as a number of Caulry players and officials vented their frustration. 
the game started off at a frantic pace but sadly lacked in the scoring stakes until the 12th minute - Neil Harrisons’s opener for Mullingar preceded by some poor shooting that saw Caulry register three wides and Mullingar one. Dean Scally put Mullingar’s second on the board after a flowing move before a Ben Kenny free on 14 minutes finally got Caulry off the mark. And a minute later Caulry were level when a pass from Andrew O’Sullivan, Caulry’s top performer on the day, sent Evan Rourke on his way to equalising.

The game’s first goal arrived on 18 minutes when the skilful Ricky Donoghue received the ball on the 21 and sent a shot flying toward the top corner giving Conor Tumulty no chance in the Caulry goal.
Dylan Cannon stretched the lead to four a minute later with an opportunistic score and although Caulry pulled one back through Andrew O’Sullivan, the second Mullingar goal wasn’t far away.
This time the goal was somewhat fortunate as midfielder Ricky McCarthy sent a looping shot from out on the right wing. And somehow the ball managed to find it’s way to the top corner of the net to give Shamrocks a six point advantage.
And as if that wasn’t a harsh enough blow for Caulry to recover from, just three minutes later Mullingar found their third goal.
And this one was certainly the pick of the bunch. A high ball was sent into the full-forward line where Neil Harrison was ready and waiting. Harrison skilfully flicked the ball to his full-forward line companion Ricky Donoghue and he rifled the ball low to the corner of the net.
The goal was a picture of beauty and skill. The flick by Harrison was characteristic of his entire performance in this final. He may not have ended up with as high a scoring tally as Donoghue but his vision, passing, skill and all-round team-play were a joy to behold.
A second Ricky Donoghue point soon after that goal stretched the Mullingar’s lead to 10 points and although Andrew O’Sullivan pulled one back just before the break it looked as though, just as in the first game of this double-header, first-half goals were to prove the difference.
By the 8th minute of the second half, Mullingar’s lead had been stretched to 11 points after points from Patrick Fagan, Ricky Donoghue and Conor O’Brien while an Andrew O’Sullivan free provided Caulry’s only response.
And when Mullingar were awarded a 38th minute penalty for a push on Ricky McCarthy things were looking very ominous for Caulry. But in a strange turn of events, Caulry full-back Michael McMahon stepped between the posts for the penalty and pulled off a fantastic diving save to his left.
This seemed to give Caulry a renewed sense of belief and 4 minutes later they had a goal of their own when a shot by Evan Rourke was blocked by the ‘keeper. 
Harry Hughes flicked the ball goalward but instead the ball fell to David Brookes who rattled the net to give his team some hope.
But cold water was soon poured on top of that optimism when, with the very next Mullingar attack, Conor O’Brien’s shot rebounded back off the bar and into the waiting arms of Patrick Fagan. And he had the simple task of rolling the ball to the net. A hammer blow but still Caulry refused to die. 
The game’s first major controversy arrived on the 45-minute mark when Andrew O’Sullivan received the ball on the 21, turned his man and, despite being dragged back, managed to get away and send a low shot to the net in off the post. But referee Derek Heffernan pulled the ball back for the earlier free prompting furious Caulry protests.

The team manager seemed intent on calling his players from the field but thankfully sense prevailed and so they had to make do with the converted free that followed.
On 49 minutes Caulry did manage to raise a green flag when full back Michael McMahon, now given a free role, barged his was past five or six Mullingar defenders and sent the ball flying into the top corner to leave 8 between them.
There was still time but Mullingar were able to kill of the game. And three quick points from Fagan, Harrison and Killian Daly did just that.
There was no way back for Caulry but the story didn’t end there. In stoppage-time it was brought to the referee’s attention that Mullingar had introduced six substitutes – one more than is legal. The referee checked his book but by then the Mullingar officials had called the 6th sub, back from the field of play. And in the midst of all the commotion Caulry actually snuck on substitute Conor Muldoon but neglected to take anyone off thus finishing the game with 16 men on the field. Whether this was intentional or not is arguable.
Not that it mattered. Mullingar were worthy winners and not even the most staunch Caulry supporter could truthfully say that they did not deserve their victory.

Scorers: Mullingar Shamrocks: Ricky Donoghue (2-4), Patrick Fagan (1-2), Ricky McCarthy (1-0), Neil Harrison (0-2 1f), Conor O’Brien (0-2 3f), Dean Scally (0-1), Dylan Cannon (0-1), Killian Daly (0-1). Caulry: Andrew O’Sullivan (0-4 3f), David Brookes (1-0), Michael McMahon (1-0), Evan Rourke (0-1), Ben Kenny (0-1 1f).

Mullingar Shamrocks: Adam Smith, Neil Hannigan, James Ledwith, Jack Quinn, David Coyne, Dylan McDermott, Darren Keena, Killian Daly, Ricky McCarthy, Dean Scally, Patrick Fagan, Conor O’Brien, Dylan Cannon, Neil Harrison, Ricky Donoghue. 
Subs: Nathan Smith for Dylan Cannon (58 mins), Ryan Blundell for Neil Hannigan (60 mins), Michael Joyce for Conor O’Brien (60 mins), Mark Hegarty for David Coyne (60 mins), Ciaran Mullen for Neil Harrison (60 mins).

Caulry: Conor Tumulty, Conor Dolan, Michael McMahon, Darren O’Connor, James Pettit, Eoin Donoghue, Evin Byrne, Evan Rourke, Shane Parker, Harry Hughes, Andrew O’Sullivan, Stephen Woods, Ben Kenny, David Brookes, Robert Hickey. 
Subs: Niall Killane for Conor Dolan (21 mins), Alan Nugent for Harry Hughes (60 mins), Sean Doyle for Robert Hickey (60 mins), Gavin Shorthall for David Brookes (60 mins).

Extracted from the Westmeath Examiner Archives, 9th November 2008.
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