St Brendan’s Park 3 Galbally Utd 2
Scorers for Park Cianan Cooney 2, Seán O’Connor
A beautiful morning in Tralee turned into a really blustery, difficult afternoon for good football. However, Park started this SFAI Regional semifinal on the front foot and playing a wonderful passing game. Josh Connolly, Cianan Cooney and Sean O’Connell were combining superbly down the left flank and David Feeley was linking up well with his front three to keep the pressure on Galbally.
Early half-chances were spurned by Park before a ninth minute corner from Colin Doody was cleared back to him and his fine delivery went deep into the Galbally box where midfielder Seán O’Connor expertly placed his header into the bottom corner of the net.
Park were playing the better football but a mixup in midfield five minutes later led to Galbally equalising against the run of play. The ball was driven over the top for centre forward Owen O’Sullivan to run onto and smash a fine shot past Liam Carmody in the Park goals. O’Sullivan proved to be a handful for the Park lads all day and his battle with a determined Luke O’Connell from Park was engaging throughout.
Two minutes after conceding Park produced a superb passage of play from back to front and when Messiah Chirwa put Colin Doody through his effort was agonisingly just millimeters wide.
Doody was involved again ten minutes later when he took a pass from the excellent Seán O’Connor in midfield and linked with David Feeley. Feeley could have taken the shot himself but instead played an inch perfect pass to Cianan Cooney and the young winger slotted home brilliantly to give Park a deserved lead at the break.
The conditions were tough for players and spectators alike but the Galbally lads seemed to grow stronger after the break, just like the wind. They equalised in the tenth minute of the second half in fortuitous enough circumstances. A debatable free was awarded to Galbally twenty yards out when it seemed it could easily have gone the other way. The young Park boys in the wall will be hoping there was no video evidence of the goal. A gaping hole appeared in the wall and John English gratefully planted his shot to the keepers right to level matters.
Galbally could have gone ahead five minutes later. It seemed that the ball was kicked out of the Park keeper’s hands but as the referee waved play on, Luke O’Connell was the most alert and brilliantly cleared the ball just as O’Sullivan was about to score for Galbally.
Samuel Aladesanusi shot over the top soon after to relieve some of the pressure on the Tralee lads while Messiah Chirwa was working his socks off in midfield alongside Conor Kerins and Cillian Murphy had come on up front to make a nuisance of himself. It was Murphy who latched onto a huge clearance by Liam Carmody with fifteen minutes to go and his expert flick put Cianan Cooney through with a one v one on the Galbally keeper. Cooney, with typical coolness made no mistake and calmly rolled the ball into the Galbally net to put Park back in front.
The game ebbed and flowed until the final whistle. Chirwa forced himself into some good positions as did O’Sullivan at the other end. Luke Casey entered the fray for the Park for the final ten minutes and acquitted himself well, having stepped up from the U-13s. Neither defense yielded over those final minutes and Park just about deserved their place in the Regional final. They will now meet either Killorglin or Listowel Celtic in the final making it an all Kerry affair.
There was a big traveling support for Galbally as well a a great turn out, as usual, of Park supporters. Thank you to everyone for a superb atmosphere in very poor weather conditions. A big thank you also to the Park parents for providing refreshments for the traveling Galbally contingent.
Liam Carmody, Samuel Aladesanusi, Seán O’Connell, Seán Hill, Kieran O’Connor, Conor Kerins, Colin Doody, Josh Connolly, Messiah Chirwa, Seán O’Connor, Cianan Cooney, Luke O’Connell, Cillian Murphy, David Feeley, Cian O’Neill and Luke Casey.