End of the line for Galant Juniors.

Kilcullen Juniors 2015 Kilcullen Juniors 2015

Monday 17th August heralded the end of the line for Kilcullen’s juniors after an exit from the Senior C championship at quarter final stage to a well drilled Kildangan side.

In a game played in beautiful conditions in Nurney it was Kildangan who got off to the best start getting four quick points on the board before Kilcullen registered their opening score thanks to emerging minor Thomas Hennessy. That was as good as it got for the Rags in the opening half as Kildangan dominated to lead 1-07 to Kilcullen solitary point at half time.

Some second half tactical changes with the introduction of Dylan Kennedy & Sheas Lambe and the Kilcullen Juniors never say die attitude proved to be pivotal and the Rags clawed their way back into the game in the second half.

Thomas Hennessy latched on another 3 points and Dylan Kennedy got his first of the match as Kilcullen brought the fight the Kildangan. But as the old saying goes, Goals Win Games and Kildangan dealt Kilcullen a killer blow just as the rags were getting on top will a well taken goal orchestrated by a very classy full forward line.

Kilcullen did continue to push for a game changing goal of their own as the second half wore on but Kildangan soaked up the pressure and scored on the counter attack after 2 more points from Kennedy. Aaron Melinn, Luke Dowling and Wayne Condron came off the bench and made an instant impact with Condron making a vital interception to prevent another certain Kildangan goal.

In the end Kildangan ran out worthy winners 2-13 to 0-08 with the score line not really reflective of the overall competiveness of the match which was a real test for Kilcullen’s second team against the first team of Kildangan.

Afterwards the Kilcullen management had this to say about their players.

“It was a very up and down season for the lads but one thing they did was stick together even through the toughest times. At the beginning of the year we had a lot of boys starting out on this team as emerging minors and by the end of the summer they had grown into pivotal players across the whole pitch. Credit must go to the seniors lads on the team who embraced the youthful look to the team as without them these young guys would have never really had the opportunity to develop, they protected them when needed but allowed them express themselves when the opportunity arose. I think we can sleep soundly knowing that this junior team has laid a good foundation for the young lads to break into the senior team and we hope that we did our job in a fair and open manner rewarding those who dedicated themselves to training and the team as a whole.”

Kilcullen: 1. Paddy Maher, 2. Jack Dooley, 3. Colm O Brian, 4. Stephen Willis, 5. David McMahon (Luke Dowling 50 mins), 6. Kev O Brien, 7. Ben Phelan, 8. Dwayne O Connor, 9. Adam Noone (Wayne Condron 45 mins), 10. Joe Carey (Aaron Melinn 40 mins), 11. Martin Murphy (Capt) (Sheas Lambe 30 mins) , 12. Tom Hennessy, 13. Colm Sheehan (Dylan Kennedy 26 mins), 14. Tom Dixon, 15. Tim Carey. Niall McCormack.

Juniors in Championship QF despite second round loss to Castledermot.

Kilcullen Juniors 2015 Kilcullen Juniors 2015

It has certainly been a roller coaster ride this past week for Kilcullen’s juniors. Just 7 days ago a well-executed win over Ardclough had all but guaranteed the reserves their place in the quarter final of the championship. One week later a match in Athy against Castledermot was on the menu to ultimately decide the final group positions and the corresponding quarter final matches.

On the run up to the Castledermot game the rags had lost 6 of the 15 that started against Ardclough due to holidays and other commitments with most of the defence needing a transplant as a result. The ‘bat signal’ was put out during the week and in typical Kilcullen fashion the call was answered and a healthy panel of 19 made the short trip down the old R418 to Athy.

On the wide expanses of the beautifully manicured Athy pitch it was Castledermot who got off to the perfect start. 1-6 without reply left the rags shell-shocked. At such an early juncture in the game Castledermot looked like a team that could comfortably slot into the Senior A championship as full forward Patrick Whelan and midfielder Oisin

1 plays 8, 2 plays 7 etc. Bottom 2 eliminated. 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7 etc. Bottom 2 eliminated.

Doherty ran riot.

At half time the game was effectively beyond the rags trailing 2-12 to just 0-02 but those who have followed this team throughout the year knew that this bunch of lads were never going to roll over and concede defeat without a real fight.

The forwards starting to make their mark with Joe Carey and Dylan Kennedy steadily growing into the game. Even after having two men sent off the Rags continued to flow and began to match Castledermot all over the pitch.

Paddy Maher in goal made some fine says which typified the mentality of the whole team in the second half and the introduction of Chris Howard, Niall McCormack, Chris McGlinchy and Luke Dowling off the bench brought a new impetus to the Kilcullen game.

Kennedy’s second half goal was probably one of the scores of the match as his football brain kicked into overdrive from a free kick. Goal was the only thing on his mind as he casually walked to the spot indicated by the referee about 20 metres out from goal. As soon as the referee blew the whistle, and camouflaged by two Castledermot players, the Kilcullen man had only goal on his mind and he rattled the top corner with a scorching shot.

Mid Week Bat Signal was Required Mid Week Bat Signal was Required

The rest of the team responded and with just 13 men brought the fight to Castledermot. Further points from Kennedy and Tom Dixon before the final whistle brought the final score to 2-19 to 1-08 with Kilcullen winning the second half 1-06 to 0-07.

It was a disappointing result none the less but once again the character of the Kilcullen juniors shone through especially in the second half. The Rags can now look forward to a quarter final match up against Kildangan in a repeat of the early season league clash in KIlcullen.

The Rags will hope to have most of their players back for that clash but will certainly need a better start to trouble Kildangan who are one of the favourites to lift the title. This bunch of lads will certainly be up for the challenge!

Kilcullen: 1. Paddy Maher 2.David McMahon 3. Niall Folan 4. Colm O Brien 5. Wayne Condron (Chris McGlinchy 58 mins) 6. Jason Lynch 7. Adam Noone 8. Colm Byrne 9. Dwayne O Connor 10. Joe Carey (Luke Dowling 50mins) 11. Martin Murphy (Capt) 12. Dylan Aulsberry (Niall McCormack 44mins) 13. Tom Dixon 14. Colm Sheehan (Chris Howard 45 mins) 15. Dylan Kennedy.

Juniors shine in bruising championship encounter.

Kilcullen Juniors 2015 Kilcullen Juniors 2015

The juniors made the short trip to Athgarvan last night in the first round of the senior reserve championship and came away with a well-deserved 3-8 to 1-10 win over Ardclough.

There was a lot at stake in the opening round of the junior championship for both teams last night in Athgarvan. Kilcullen had something to prove after an indifferent league campaign while Ardclough were out to gain some revenge from a replay loss to Kilcullen in the quarter final of the 2014 Championship.

Ardclough made the best start putting two quick points on the board but those who have followed this Kilcullen team this year know that a slow start was not uncommon in many of the league matches that had gone before. Some early tactical changes were needed and after just five minutes Jack Dooley was switched onto Ardclough’s number 13 Dylan Burke who had proved a thorn in the Kilcullen side from the outset.

Kilcullen started to find their feet in the game mid-way through the opening half and trailing 1-4 to 1-2 at half time ‘the rags’ were probably happiest of both teams during the half time team talk.

The Kilcullen mentors made one switch at the break bringing in Tom Dixon at full forward but similar to the opening of the first half the game looked to be getting away from Kilcullen as Ardclough latched on the first three points on the second half to lead 1-7 to 1-2.

Again the Kilcullen sideline called on their bench to shake things up and the introduction of Robert Byrne was to prove the turning point in the game. Byrne came on in place of Joe Carey at corner forward but moved out to the middle to ‘mix things up’ with Ardlcough and open some space up inside for Dixon and the outstanding Dylan Kennedy.

Kilcullen were dealt an early blow also loosing influential midfielder Colm Byrne as the ‘speed machine’ got severely winded by some crunching tackles from Adrclough. Ben Phelan switched to the middle from his half back position and the 17 year old proved his versatility once again by mixing it up with men twice his age.

Niall Folan came in for the injured Byrne and once again the strength in depth of the Kilcullen bench starting to reap reward.

Trailing by 5 points early in the second half the Kilcullen lads did what they had done so many times over the year, dug deep and won the second half. With Robert Byrne now ‘mixing it up’ in midfield Kilcullen starting to apply wave after wave of pressure with Dylan Kennedy and Tom Dixon causing all kinds of problems in the box for Ardclough.

Kennedy fisted in a beautiful goal mid-way through the half and the final substitution from Kilcullen, a like for like change with Tom Hennessy coming in for Dylan Aulsberry, with the young minor scoring 1-1 on his championship debut for Kilcullen.

Kennedy continued to blossom slotting over a series of frees off the ground and could have put the game beyond doubt as his run and shot grazed the post and flashed wide with a few minutes left on the clock.

The Rags were now leading 3-06 to 1-10 as Ardclough threw everything but the kitchen sink at Kilcullen but an outstanding performance from the defence held Ardclough scoreless for the remainder of the game and the delight was obvious for all to see when the final whistle was blown for a Kilcullen win.

There were some outstanding performances on the night with Jack Dooley, Stephen Willis and David McMahon showing the large crowd what they are capable of in defence. Ben Phelan put in some crunching tackles around the middle of the park while upfront both Tom Dixon and Dylan Kennedy proved too hot to handle for Ardclough.

The experience of players such as Paddy Maher, Keven O Brien, Niall Folan, Martin Murphy, Wayne Condron & Dwayne O Connor proved a great platform for the younger players to express themselves and in the end the strength of Kilcullen’s bench made all the difference as the Rags march forward in the championships.

A big credit must go to the large Kilcullen crowd who made the short trip to Athgarvan who cheered the lads on even when 5 points down.

Next match is Tuesday next 21st July in the second of the round robin championships matches. Castledermot are the opposition who handed the Rags a heavy defeat during the league campaign. Kilcullen will be without a few regulars in Athy but with a team spirit and depth of the squad who would bet against Kilcullen after their performance last night against Ardlcough.

Kilcullen: 1.Paddy Maher 2. Jack Dooley 3. Colm O Brien 4. Stephen Willis 5. David McMahon 6. Kevin O Brien 7. Ben Phelan 8. Colm Byrne (Niall Folan) 9. Dwayne O Connor 10. Dylan Aulsberry (Tom Hennessy) 11. Martin Murphy (Capt) 12. Wayne Condron 13. Joe Carey (Robert Byrne) 14. Colm Sheehan (Tom Dixon) 15 Dylan Kennedy. 19. Niall McCormack.