Never Say Die Aisling Win in Cork


Aisling Annacotty under 12s travelled to Rockmount for their annual under 12 tournament. Given that seven of the league winning squad from last season was unavailable there was a degree of trepidation as we travelled south. We had an early start against Douglas Hall in the quarter final and took the lead when Oisin Williams seized on a rebound to strike home. Our Cork premier opponents were passing neatly and equalised from a free kick into the box coming up to half time. We took the lead again early in the second half when John Ryan won a kick out and dribbled past the defence before unleashing a shot to the roof of the net. It was backs to the wall stuff towards the end as our opponents pushed hard for an equaliser. We held firm thanks to superb defending from Sean O hAodha, Raid Mouras and Kingsley Unachukwu and some hard running from Evan Lacey. Joseph Fitzgerald reigned supreme at the base of our midfield throughout and he even found time to guide his younger brother Matthew through the closing stages.  There was one notable goalmouth incident that needed the intervention of four Aisling players before being cleared to safety.

The semi final saw us up against a confident Castleview side that was unbeaten in two years and fresh from an All Ireland Community Games triumph. Our opponents were fresh after a comfortable 3-0 victory in the previous round. We took the lead when John Ryan finished well after running onto a Stephen Kiely clearance. However we fell behind to excellent strikes from the edge of the box before Muiris O Dalaigh, who alternated goalkeeping duties with Stephen Kiely, arrowed a volley low into the far corner from a set piece clearance. It was 2-2 at half time after a pulsating first half. Little did we know what was to come ... The second half was a ding dong affair and Castleview looked like winners when they retook the lead in following a goalmouth scramble. However Aisling showed great resolve to push for a leveller and were rewarded when assured defender Darren Nwankwo rose highest to head home a well delivered corner. It finished 3-3 so penalties were needed to find a winner. Both teams took ten kick and we won a nailbiting shootout 8-7.

We faced another Cork premier team in the final in Ringmahon Rangers who enjoyed a good 6-2 victory over the hosts in the other semi final. We started well and went close with a Darragh Murray header and Stephen Kiely run and shot before Ringmahon scored twice in five minutes from sweeping moves to leave us reeling at half time. The lads summoned up the energy to chase the game after two and a half hours play and took over in possession term as Ringmahon looked to slow things down and close out for a win. We actually showed our best passing spells in this half which is a huge testament to the skill and spirit within the squad. In particular the energy in the centre of midfield was notable with Raid Mouras and Paul Moloney helping to drive us forward. We gained momentum when Stephen Kiely scored from a free kick that was hoisted into the box. This is surely a football first to see both goalkeepers in a squad featuring on the score sheet as well in a single day. Ringmahon still posed a threat on the break and we were relieved when Finn Durack intercepted and dribbled clear of two attackers to save our day. This developed into an attack up the right flank that saw Mark Kinsella deliver an inch perfect cross into the box to Darragh Murray. The latter looped a brilliant header over the keeper to bring us back from the brink and break our opponents’ hearts. Ailsing were now in the driving seat and pushed for a winner that seemed unlikely half an hour earlier. It was not to come so we headed for our second shootout of the day. The determination within the group of players indicated that we would not be denied. And so it turned out as all of our takers converted to leave us 3-1 winners. Stephen Kiely was confident in saving two spot kicks while Finn Durack was coolness personified in converting our final kick.

Darrgh Murray accepted the cup as captain after a day spent leading by example and Joseph Fitzgerald who ruled the roost at centre back and midfield throughout was named Player of the Tournament. A long but enjoyable day’s play leaves the squad in good heart for the season ahead.

The winning squad was: Stephen Kiely, Muiris O Dalaigh, Kingsley Unachukwu, Raid Mouras, Sean O hAodha, Matthew Fitzgerald, Joseph Fitzgerald, Finn Durack, Darren Nwankwo, John Ryan, Darragh Murray (captain), Oisin Williams, Evan Lacey, Mark Kinsella and Paul Moloney.


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Name: Under 12A Team win Rockmount Tournament (News Articles)
Date: 27/08/15 00:00 to 27/08/15 00:00
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