U.16 A Shield Final
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Report from U.16 A Shield final as appeared in The Sligo Champion

 Eastern Harps 8.08    Coolera/Strandhill 4.11                      

The final of the Division 1 Shield took place in Ransboro Park on Sunday July 23rd at 12 noon between the home team Coolera/Strandhill and the visitors from the East Division Eastern Harps.

Played on a beautiful summers day, the large contingent of supporters were treated to a spectacular goal-fest as no fewer than 12 green flags were raised during the sixty minutes of play. Eastern Harps were quick to settle and despite playing into a fresh breeze they were 1.02 to no score in the ascendency after five minutes, the goal coming from Michael Kielty Mc Manemy (his first of 3) and the points courtesy of team captain Kyle Cosgrove.

Coolera eventually got off the mark with a pointed free from Keelan Harte. His old school free taking style of kicking the ball directly off the ground proved to be very accurate throughout the game. Harps replied with another goal before Josh Gilligan  hit a monster of a point from 40 metres just inside the right hand side line, and when the same player scored his sides first goal the gap was whittled down to three points. The East Division outfit were under intense pressure but Oskar Grezenda was a tower of strength in the defence and with the tenacity of Eoghan Higgin’s the seasider’s were kept at bay.  Daragh Cogans the Harps netminder was called upon on more than one occasion  and he thrived under pressure. Harps steadied the ship with a point from Caelan Hunt followed by another goal from Matt Henry to leave the half time score 3.06 to 1.04 in favour of the winners.

It was a very determined Coolera/Strandhill team that took to the field for the second half. In the opening ten minutes  they kicked five unanswered points, three from the aforementioned Harte plus one each from wing back Tristan Gilligan and Ben Cawley as they totally dominated from the re start. Oran Mc Donagh became very influential and along with the speed  of Jack Cawley they began to prize holes in the Harps rearguard.  Harps cause was not helped by the loss through injury of Robin Richardson who excelled at wing back. Coolera were dealt a hammer blow when in the first  meaningful attack of the second half for Eastern Harps they goaled, and within a minute Cormac Kielty beat Cian Connell the Coolera/Strandhill keeper again to put nine points between the teams.

Credit to the home team they refused to lie down and a minute later Donagh Flynn had the umpire reaching for the green flag after he finished a flowing move to the net. That was as good as it got for Coolera/Strandhill as Donnacha Byrne imposed his physicality in midfield and with intelligent play from Luke Hogge Eastern Harps weathered the onslaught. The energetic Kieran Breheny swept up anything in defence and  Diarmuid Higgins caught the eye with a very assured display from corner back. . The goals were not finished however as both teams  scored 2 more each with James Kiernan finishing a fine move orchestrated by Cillian Burns  in injury time and with time almost up Liam Gilligan hit the final score of the game for Coolera/Strandhill.

After the game Bill O Kelly Lynch from Coiste Na Nog was loud in his praise for the host club for hosting the game and having the pitch in pristine condition. He presented the A Shield to Kyle Cosgrove captain of the victorious team.

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