Under 15 Soccer Report

A TRADITIONAL and hugely influential Gaelic football nursery, St Brendan’s College, Killarney added another major string to its sporting bow when the school clinched the All-Ireland colleges’ under 15 soccer championship crown in dramatic fashion.

The Sem registered a fabulous 2-1 victory against fancied Dublin kingpins Templeogue in a monumental encounter held in the magnificent Waterford Regional Sports Centre.

The last time the Sem won this particular competition was way back in 2003 and the current team and their mentors were determined to write their names into the sporting history books.

Thankfully, this outstanding group was more than capable of emulating their predecessors with a splendid display of attractive, attacking football.

The first half was a cagey affair with both teams holding their cards close to their chests. Chances were few and far between with the best opportunity of a breakthrough falling to Templeogue’s central midfielder, Darragh O’Shea, who really should have made it 1-0 with a rasping shot from 12 yards that was just off target.

The Sem soon created chances of their own after retaining good possession in the early stages. Spanish star Marcos released ThandoDube with a slick through ball,Dube beat his man for pace and fizzed the ball across the box for the Sem’s best chance of the half. But the normally lethal striker Michael Potts was unable to provide the desired finish.

As the first half wore on Templeogue were always looking dangerous and following some nice, intricate passing inand around midfield, their striker was played into space behind the defence and he would have scored only for the ever-reliable Niall Donohue whose fantastic challenge kept Templeogue at bay.

The half-time whistle blew after a few chances were created in the final third and, overall, both teams had to be happy to go in with it all to play for in the second half.

It began at a snail’s pace with neither side showing superiority and the first real sniff of opportunity came from a venomous strike from the Sem’s central midfielder LorcanMacMonagle whose snapshot stung the hands of the Dublin keeper but was parried to safety.

The pace of the game escalated significantly after that as Killarney’s full backs Jack Griffin and Chris O’Donoghue bombed forward at every opportunity and were beginning to cause real problems for the Dublin defence. Winger Cian Casey was replaced by Darren Mulcahy who slotted into the midfield with LorcanMacMonagle moving out wide.

The pressure finally told when a teasing cross from MacMonagle found Michael Potts whose header was parried by the keeper but CianGammell was on hand to power home the rebound, with the aid of a deflection, to give the Sem a deserved lead.

Templeogue pushed for an equaliser but to no avail as they were hit with a sweeping counter attack as the Sem powered upfield and Spanish wonder kid Marcos slid it through to Potts who slotted the ball calmly past the hapless keeper to make it 2-0.

With the time ticking away, the instructions from the Killarney line was to get the ball into the corner and keep the ever-threatening Templeogue attack at bay.

All credit is due to the Sem management team of JP Mullins and Trevor Nagle who guided this already gifted bunch players in the right direction.

It was a fantastic campaign by St Brendan’s College and they now have the prospect of visiting England for an international event where they will represent their country proudly.

  • David Naughten, Jack O’Connor and Aidan Kelly are Transition Year students in St Brendan’s College
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