U-12s crowned division one champions
The U-12 boys are DIVISION 1 SOUTH DUBLIN CHAMPIONS after a resounding 1-11 to 0-7 win over Ballyboden St Endas in Ballycullen on Saturday. The result is a fantastic achievement for the boys, their mentors, parents and the Clanna Gael Fontenoy club itself.
The result was a fitting reward for the work the boys have put in after a devastating one-point loss against the same opposition in last year’s decider. After that the boys set about going one better. They trained hard all year and were level pegging with Ballyboden at the top of the table going into this final league fixture. The squad is only 20 strong but everyone contributed by their effort in training and through all the matches leading up to Saturday.
Squad: Louis Clarke, Christopher Cosgrove, Odhran Darcy, Ruairi Darcy, Jack Guinan, Colm Kirby O’ Briain, Ross Hanley, Conor Hennessy, Michael Hennessy, Aaron Lynch, Jim Meaney, Karl Morgan, Niall Madill, Seamus McCann, Oisin O’ Leary Deane, Senan O’ Shea, Alexis Sokora, Theo Scollard, Rory Tobin, Jeffrey Woods – with mentors Maurice Hennessy, Colm O’Briain, Stephen McCann and Ross Morgan.
The sun shone as the boys and their supporters descended on Ballycullen. Ballyboden had chosen to play on a tight pitch to try cramp Clanns’ style. The game started with the hosts playing down a slope with the wind and sun behind them. They were quickly out of the traps while our lads started a little nervously. The defence was soon put to work with Ruairi Darcy and Senan O’ Shea dogged in their marking, while Karl Morgan played loose as a sweeper to great effect. Nonetheless, Ballyboden broke through for two points before Conor Hennessy (1-5, 3f) scored one on the break. Clanns were having difficulty working the ball up the pitch against the wind and not all passes went to hand. Jeffrey Woods and Theo Scollard were full of running up front but the final ball didn’t always arrive. Rory Tobin and Seamus McCann worked tirelessly to tie down the opposition. Ballyboden scored again before Christopher Cosgrove (0-3) replied with a fine point after a quick break.
The boys’ effort was enormous but their opponents seemed to have most of the ball. As the game entered a crucial phase, Alexis Sokora (0-1) deflected a goal-bound shot over the bar with a superb save. Ballyboden pointed again before Jack Guinan (0-1) and Chris Cosgrove scored two quick points. The Clanns defence was hard pressed but working well together. Odhran Darcy and Oisin O’ Leary Deane hounded their men. Colm Kirby O’ Briain plucked a goal-bound effort from under the crossbar. At the other end a goal effort from Christopher Cosgrove brought a great save from the keeper. The Ballyboden pressure led to two further points but the defensive effort also forced a number of wides from kickable positions. And so the first half ended with the hosts 0-7 to 0-4 to the good.
At half time the Clanns lads knew that they hadn’t played their best by any means but, given the elements, a three-point difference was not a bad return. So they set out to focus on their discipline, teamwork and point taking. Alexis Sokora was unleashed from goal into midfield with Theo Scollard taking his place and Seamus McCann pushing up to the full forward line. Within minutes it was apparent the game had changed. The movement of all the Clanns boys improved massively, the passes went to hand and the wind and slope ensured they were playing the game in the opposition’s half.
The pressure on Ballyboden led to constant fouls. Conor Hennessy appeared to have two men on his back most of the time but, undaunted, he pointed early in the half. Alexis Sokora then scored the point of the match, bouncing a ball over the bar from a line ball inside his own half. All the momentum was now with Clanns who were just one point behind.
The interplay between the half forwards and full forwards was exceptional with Jeffrey Woods, Jack Guinan, Seamus McCann and Christopher Cosgrove all hungry for the ball and moving well – orchestrated by Conor Hennessy. In addition, the forwards were tackling back to great effect, with Christopher Cosgrove doing so particularly well. At midfield Rory Tobin (playing through injury) and Alexis Sokora were completely dominant, launching attack after attack. In defence Odhran Darcy, Oisin O’ Leary Deane, Senan O’ Shea and Colm Kirby O’ Briain were in full control, barely letting their markers have sight of the posts. In a sweeper role Karl Morgan scooped up every free ball before finding his teammates to launch another attack. Theo Scollard was solid as a rock in goal, making a fantastic save from play. But, for all the dominance, the boys suddenly seemed aware of what they were about to achieve; and a nerve-wracking five minutes saw them kick four wides from good positions before Conor Hennessy equalised with a well-taken free before adding another to take the lead.
After that Clanns relaxed and opened up to play their best football. Michael Hennessy came on and caused havoc at wing forward, drawing a number of frees. Three more points followed from Conor Hennessy, Christopher Cosgrove and Michael Hennessy (0-1) to take a four-point lead. With one final sally Ballyboden were awarded a free on the 21-yard line. Any remaining nerves were settled by a superb save in the top corner by Theo Scollard. With a minute remaining Christopher Cosgrove set Conor Hennessy free with a fantastic cross field ball which he planted in the back of the net. When the whistle blew Clanns had won by seven points – and had actually kept their opponents scoreless in the second half!
A special word of thanks is certainly due to the boys who did not get a run out on the day: Niall Madill, Ross Hanley, Louis Clarke, Aaron Lynch and Jim Meaney. They all trained hard, played in the earlier matches and were an integral part of the team. The victory reflected the best characters of all the boys. They had the resilience to stick together when the going was
tough and the confidence in their skills, ability and teammates to play their own game. The core of the team has been together in the club since the age of six and their achievement is a great reflection on the club’s juvenile system.
A big thank you also for the support from within the club and the interest taken by senior footballers and coaches; in particular, Declan Darcy who took the boys for their session last Wednesday and gave them the confidence and self belief to go out and play their game to the best of their ability. In addition, thanks to Steve McGurr who took a number of sessions during the year and to whom the boys responded magnificently. A bit of Northern back bone to match the Dublin sparkle!
The team responded hugely to the challenge this year. There is still much to learn and much to improve. Next year the League will be on an all county basis, a challenge of a different order. With the same hard work, dedication and team spirit who knows what will be possible!
Ballyboden St Endas 0-7 Clanna Gael Fontenoy 1-11
A great start for the U-12 girls
The U-12 girls have got off to a great start for the new “season” with two good wins over Naomh Mearnog and Trinity Gaels.
While the girls were a little rusty after the summer break for their first match against Naomh Mearnog at home, they got off to a great start with an early goal which settled them down. The extra school training kicked in and they quickly stretched into a strong lead which they refused to relinquish. Last season they fell down in a number of matches in not taking their scoring chances against teams that seemed that bit cuter. This time round the team let very little slip from their grasp on the scoring front while the backs fought hard to prevent any soft goals. This focused team effort was rewarded with a strong finish and win.
Clanna Gael Fontenoy 8-5 Naomh Barrog 3-3
The Trinity Gaels match was played away from home in howling wind and rain and the girls put in a very strong performance from beginning to end to run out comfortable winners – the focus in training on the basic skills is clearly beginning to pay off. In the second half the team mentors were able to move players around into different and sometimes unfamiliar positions and it was great to see them all enjoying the challenge. A welcome return was also provided to some of the U-13 ‘exiles’ who contributed hugely to the effort. It was then back to the Club for the Club Fun Day and Flightfest.
Trinity Gaels 1-0 Clanna Gael Fontenoy 7-11
Playing the U-10 style
In the last couple of weeks the U-10 girls have played matches against O’Tooles, St Judes and Beann Eadair. Against O Tooles they won three games and lost one in what was a fine away display. As squad numbers have increased to 30 on match day, the next two games were all about giving everybody a run – difficult considering the opposition had 13 and 19 players respectively, but managed nonetheless. In both matches Clanns won two games and lost two while playing really good team football. With this style of football and ever-increasing numbers it’s all
Winning form continues for U-14 girls
A good win away to Parnells represents the fourth competitive win in a row for the U-14 girls. Amy Brannigan’s warm up worked well and early goals from Clodagh, Aisling and Niamh created a great start. This was a good team effort – every player worked hard in the warm conditions and each gave their all. Special mention must be made of the ground covered by Shona, Ella, Laoise, Shanna and Amy Carroll. The defensive battling of Amy O Hora and the consistently classy goal keeping of Claire Byrne were crucial. The hope is for a home semi final when the draw is made.
Parnells 1-5 Clanna Gael Fontenoy 3-7
Skills aplenty among the U-9 boys
On a sunny October Saturday one half of this U-9 squad did great battle with a tall Good Counsel side. Adam opened the scoring from a 35 but Clanns were soon on the back foot from three quick Good Counsel overs from long range. Soon however the hard marking and good fielding paid off as Matthew popped another over the bar and then Emmett broke through to score a goal. In his first football outing with the team Luke played well in goal, while Thomas did sterling work in the back line gaining two skills points. Hugh cleared the back line well and sent a good ball to Finlay who took a fine point. While the opposing no. 10 found space to score two more overs, an over from Emmett and another few skill points from Adam and Emmett saw the sides level at half time.
The lads opened the second half tenaciously with Matthew and Thomas scoring early blocks. Then Adam found Matthew who scored an over. Working tirelessly in attack, Finn seized an opportunity to find the back of the net. Clanns pulled ahead as Emmett and Adam took another two overs and Matthew got a goal. Still in the dying minutes overs from the opposition kept it tight. Dylan got onto some crucial balls and his strong kicks kept the pressure off. A final over from Finlay sealed the game and the lads ran out narrow victors by 39 to 38 points.
The other half of the squad put in a good team performance which ended in a high scoring draw. Clanns started well with a very solid outing in defence from Mark and Alec which kept Good Counsel restricted to a couple of long-range efforts early in the first half. Good passing from Ethan, Aidan and Senan H led to a couple of fine scores for Francis. Making his football debut for the club, Jack made a great catch and score to increase the lead. Good Counsel came back with two quick fire points of their own before Ethan and Senan H added two points from play to leave Clanns with the lead at half time. The second half was just as tight, Jonathan defended and passed the ball well, while Rian and Senan T both worked hard up front to win ball for the forwards. Two more points from Francis gave the lads the lead but a late point and some stout defending from Good Counsel netted them two skill points and a draw.
Week’s featured ‘clubber’: Maurice Hennessy, who coached our U-12 footballers to Division 1 success – with the help of his fellow mentors
Congratulations to Clanns senior player, Serena Hannon, who has been chosen as the Tesco Home Grown Player of the Month for September. Apart from her many achievements with the club – including the Intermediate Championship in 2010 – Serena’s inter-county achievements include a senior B all-Ireland medal in 2012 along with U-16 and U-18 Leinster title medals in 2007 and 2008. And she has the distinction of being the first Dublin player to win back-to-back All-Ireland kick fada titles.
The Senior Ladies footballers are selling specially-designed, colourful Clanns4Life wrist bands for just €2 each to raise funds for their activities. Contact any of the girls or see the Clanna Gael Fontenoy Facebook page for further details.