U18 Championship Result 26.04.2018
Kinvara United 3 (Travis, Own Goal, Mulligan) Corrib Rangers 0
The situation was clear to the Kinvara players and supporters who gathered at Killina on Thursday evening: a win would make us Champions, a draw would lead to a play-off match with Ramblers, and a defeat would mean second place behind Ramblers. There was an air of nervousness in the changing room, but once the lads began their warm up routine confidence began to grow, so that by kick off everyone knew it would have to be a very good team to stop the Championship coming to Kinvara.
The first 15 minutes was played mostly around the Rangers penalty box, but they had a good goalkeeper, and from their commitment in the tackle it was clear that Kinvara would have to play well if we were to prevail. The pace of Luke Connors, Oisin Casasin, and Carraigh Murphy was troubling the physically imposing Rangers defence, but the breakthrough would not come, and the tension rose on the touchline.
On 16 minutes, Danny Travis broke from midfield, played a 1-2 with Rory Moran and smashed a shot from outside of the box into the corner of the net giving the keeper no chance. Now Kinvara began to relax, and carve out a number of chances for strikers Connors and Casasin, resulting in good saves, goal-line clearances and near misses. Rory Moran went close from the edge of the box, Tom Brennan tried his luck from long range, and Travis went close with a header from one of Eoghan Hanley’s brilliant set pieces.
However, the vital second goal would not come, and gradually Rangers weathered the storm, and began to threaten the Kinvara goal. The defence of Daire Murphy, Colm Moran, and Eoghan Hanley, superbly led by team captain Darren Kilkelly was totally committed. In goal, Donal Keely was his usual confident self, determined to maintain his long run of clean-sheets.
The half time discussion was of relaxing, keep passing the ball, and not to get drawn into a physical battle. Rangers came out determined to spoil the party, and the tackles in midfield from both teams were very hard but fair. Substitutes Dean Ivers and Donal Mulligan came on to add fresh impetus to the attack, and both went close to scoring the precious second goal. Eventually on 62 minutes, Hanley sent over another dangerous cross, and the strength of Ivers was enough to force the keeper to punch the ball into his own net. 2-0 with less than 30 minutes remaining!
Then, one of the many crucial moments in this pulsating contest. A clever Rangers passing move released their striker in front of goal. Keely raced bravely off his line to make a fantastic point blank save. Kinvara, roared on by the massive crowd, realised that the game was not yet won. Rory Moran played a through ball for Ivers who rounded the keeper but the angle was too tight for him to score, so he unselfishly crossed for Donal Mulligan to tap in from close range.
Kinvara could now relax, and further chances came and went. Casasin had one shot blocked on the line, Connors, Ivers, Travis, Carraigh Murphy and Brennan all went close. To their great credit, Rangers kept going until the final whistle, and were a credit to themselves, their coaches, and their club.
At the final whistle, the Kinvara players were totally exhausted from the physical effort and the excitement of the occasion. The Championship trophy was presented to Darren Kilkelly by Mr. Pat Minogue of Galway FA, who congratulated both teams on such an exciting match. Darren then thanked his teammates, coaches, and especially parents for their support over several seasons. Dave Travis (Manager) thanked the team and parents for their commitment over the last 10 years. Dave also thanked those ex players who had come along to support their friends tonight, including Mikey McArdle, Patrick Byrne, Joseph Madison, and Conail Larrissey, and particularly Ronnie Graham who originally brought this group together. He also thanked Corrib Rangers, the superb referee Tommy Murphy, and Jamie Warrick and Ger Ryan of KUFC, and the many members of KUFC present tonight, including a large number from the adult team.
The party then resumed in Keogh’s for the presentation of medals, and food and drink (Miwadi for the lads, and definitely not Miwadi for the parents!)
More photos to follow in the coming days.
Good luck to the Junior team in their Cup Final at Eamonn Deacy Park on Thursday 3 May 7 pm, including Danny Travis. All support would, I am certain, be welcome.
1. Donal Keely
2. Daire Murphy
3. Eoghan Hanley
4. Darren Kilkelly (Captain)
5. Colm Moran
6. Tom Brennan
7. Carraigh Murphy
8. Rory Moran
9. Oisin Casasin
10. Danny Travis
11. Luke Connors
12. Donal Mulligan
13. Dean Ivers