Ardee St Marys beat Geraldines 2-15 to 3-05 to reach the Louth GAA Under 18 league final on Sunday afternoon – as Carl Gillespie hit 1-06 and Donal McKenny notched a goal in a victory that saw the Blues repeat the trick of their Minor Championship win of three weeks ago against the side from Haggardstown.
Double dreams remain on track after the Marys once again got the better of the Gers. While they had home advantage on their side at Pairc Muire, Tommy Kirk’s young team did have to do without Jonathan Commins however. He memorably hit 2-13 at the Gaelic Grounds.
They looked as if they might miss him judging on a first half display in which kicks wide and short were the order of the day. It took ten minutes for Conor Gillespie to hit the first score of the afternoon and the opening score from open play didn’t arrive until the midway mark in the first half. Ciaran Keenan obliged.
Jack Reid’s close range free was the sole Geraldines response in a half an hour of play that won’t last long in the memory. However, the Marys had a fine effort from Conor Gillespie and three – two frees – from his brother Carl to thank for opening up a gap over their visitors.
The second half, like the first, didn’t start in particularly high scoring fashion. After Reid missed a presentable chance free chance and 10 dragged a goal effort low and wide of Alan McGauley’s post, Feidhelm Joyce took over free duty and curled one inside the post from his hands. From a scoring perspective, the game would explode into life late on however.
The team from Haggardstown – featuring newly crowned Louth Minor Player of the Year Dan Corcoran – had started the second half brightly but their failure to take their chances came back to bit on a bitterly cold Sunday in Ardee. Two scores each from Carl Gillespie and sub James McDonald and one from Shane Matthews looked to put the Marys out of sight. Keenan added his second of the day too.
There was to be a comeback of sorts though as twice the side from Dundalk hit the net. First, Joyce danced his way through some weak Blues challenges in the middle and instead of heeding calls to point, he blasted a shot into the top corner. Three minutes later, they did it again to provide a glimmer of hope. Lorcan Dixon was put off the field too after a collision, which might have given the Gers more impetus.
When Joyce put over with ten to play, the game was at 1-13 to 2-04 – a six point game. But Keenan saw an effort tipped over the bar by stopper Ciaran Peelo and when half back Donal McKenny, excellent all day, got up from the back, he did all the work himself, firing into the net with his right foot. There was still time for Reid to dispatch a penalty with five minutes to play but it was nowhere near enough.
ARDEE ST MARYS: Alan McGauley, Cian Taaffe, Philip Trainor, Killian Scott, Lorcan Dixon, Donal McKenny (1-00), Gavin Kirk, Joe Mulholland, Tiernan Corrigan, Tristan Knowles, Ciaran Keenan (0-04), Carl Gillespie (1-06), Andrew Bingham, Conor Gillespie (0-02), Shane Matthews (0-01).
Subs: James McDonald (0-02) for Tristan Knowles, David Conlon for Andrew Bingham, Evan Malone for Shane Matthews.
Marys reach another final
Ardee St Marys will face Naomh Mairtin in the Under 18 Division 1 final after the Monasterboice side beat Cooley Kickhams 0-12 to 1-03 earlier today.