Under-10 Joe Matthews Memorial Tournament, St. Lomans

posted 5 May 2016, 03:04 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 5 May 2016, 03:04 ]
The Garrycastle Under-10 group travelled to St. Loman's on bank holiday Monday to take part in the "Joe Matthews Memorial" football tournament. This tournament gathers 16 teams from across the county, divided into 4 groups of 4, with semi-finals and finals at Cup, Trophy, Shield and Plate level. Due to the bank holiday, and other sports finals, it was a much reduced panel of only 11 players available on the day. 
Garrycastle were drawn in a group with Mullingar Shamrocks, St. Marys Rochfortbridge and Kilbeggan/St.Josephs. 
Our first game was against Kilbeggan/St. Josephs, and playing on the astroturf pitch, with the aid of a strong wind in the first half, the Garrycastle lads started strongly and soon had a number of scores on the board. The strong wind made conditions difficult, but the lads kept at their task, and had a good lead at the break. Turning to play into the wind, they continued to pile on the pressure, and ran out convincing winners in the end.
Our second match against St. Marys Rochfortbridge was a tougher affair, and even though the Garrycastle lads had the majority of possession, some wayward shooting saw them trail at the half-time break. They were a much improved team in the second half, and though they came very close in the end, St. Marys held on to win by two points. 
The third pool match against Mullingar Shamrocks was the decider then to see what semi-final level we would play at. The Shamrocks team were very strong, but some great tackling and passing from the Garrycastle lads saw them lead at the half-time break. As the second half started, the rain teemed down, but both teams to their credit kept trying for the win, and this time it was Garrycastle who were more clinical to win out by a single point. 
In the draw after the pool games, Garrycastle were placed in the Cup semi-final, where we faced The Downs. This was our first game of the day on a grass pitch, and after a few minutes to get acclimatised with the bounce on grass, the Garrycastle lads powered forward to take a well deserved lead at half-time. Driving on in the second half, they gave The Downs no opportunity to get back into the game, and ran out strong winners in the end. 
This result teed up a Cup final game against near neighbours Moate All-Whites. This was a real end-to-end game. Garrycastle opened the scoring with a point from Andrew Henson, before Moate levelled a couple of minutes later. Garrycastle took the lead again with a score from James McHugh, but back came Moate again to level the game at the half-time break. Moate struck first in the second half but their lead was short lived as Jack Allen stepped up with a fine point from play, Again both teams traded score (Garrycastle's from Aaron Keegan and James), and the teams could not be separated. As the game entered its last few seconds, it was heartbreak for the Garrycastle lads as Moate scored with literally the last kick of the game. 
Overall, this was an excellent run-out for the Garrycastle lads. Although disappointing to lose by a single score in the final, they all deserve great credit for their enthusiasm, effort and skill as dislayed in all five matches.
There will be other days most definitely for this talented group of players. 
Many thanks also to the great support from the sidelines - as good and better than any other team on the morning. It makes a huge difference to these young players to get such great support. 
Anthony Mannion, Killian Keegan, Jack Allen, Dean Grehan, Sean O'Donoghue, Dylan Frawley, Rian Gaynor, Aaron Keegan, Andrew Henson, Niadh Shine, James McHugh.