Ardee Community School got their Top Oil North Leinster Post Primary Juvenile Championship campaign off to a flyer on Tuesday afternoon in Ardee, as the Under 16s racked up a 5-24 to 4-06 win over Francisan College of Gormanstown.
Drawn in a group alongside holders O’Carolan College Nobber, Ardee got off to the best possible start on home soil, racking up a big score in a 21 point victory. Mark Gilsenan will now have to get his players ready for a trip to Cooley to face Bush PP in a week’s time. His young players will at least make that journey in confident mood after this opening round win.
Tuesday’s win over Gormanstown was an exhibition in efficiency in front of the posts. Wides were few and far between – with Ardee St Marys duo Carl Gillespie (pictured above) and Jonathan Commins, both minors at club level – racking up 0-09 and 0-08 respectively.
Firts half goals from Luke Matthews and Tiarnan Corrigan were added to by Michael Szostakowska, Bobby Butterly and Shane Carpenter after the interval as St Cillian’s never looked in danger against the side from County Meath. The net would have bulged more had it not been for some excellent goalkeeping from the Franciscan custodian between the sticks.
After an even enough opening ten minutes in which the visitors forged a narrow early lead, Ardee began to turn up the heat under the afternoon November sunshine. Commins started a move in midfield and finished it off by slotting over while Conor O’Brien and the impressive Luke Matthews also pointed.
Gillespie was unerringly accurate with his left foot throughout and he scored his third point before Commins scored three without responsive, the last from a free.
Luke Dunne had work to do at the other end and he saw a Gormanstown effort fly wide of his post before the away team did net. Dunne was unfortunate to see a short point attempt squirm away from him. It was finished at close range.
Having seen their advantage reduced to six, that stirred something in the Ardee teenagers. Commins and Gillespie linked well with the former slotting over and then Jody Donoghue pointed after fine work from midfielder Jamie Ward.
Matthews’ notched the first of five Ardee CS goals soon after and on the cusp of half time, Matthews did well to pick out Corrigan who found the net. That left things at 2-13 to 1-04 at the break.
It took just eight seconds for Commins to extend that lead upon the resumption and even a raft of substitutions throughout the second half did little to halt the Ardee charge. Gillespie, one of just four players to play the full 60 minutes, added four more to his personal tally in the opening stages of the second half.
They were either side of two goals in the space of 60 seconds at Pairc Muire. A swift counter attacking move started by Ward was finishing by the rampaging half back Butterly and straight from the kickout Szostakowski collected the ball, advanced an jinked between a number of Gormanstown backs before he found the top corner.
There was still time for points from Commins, Gillespie, Carpenter and substitute Cillian Keenan, while Ardee’s final goal of the afternoon came courtesy of the pacy Carpenter. He finished the day with 1-02.
To be fair to Gormanstown, it looked like heads might be dropping as Ardee plundered score after score early in the second period. They rallied however. In the last fifteen minutes, they hit 3-03 for themselves and it could have been more were it not for some timely blocks by the youngsters in Blue.
Regarded as one of the favourites for this competition, tests away in Cooley and back in Ardee against Nobber to come in the next two weeks will provide a different type of test for St Cillians.
ARDEE COMMUNITY SCHOOL: Luke Dunne, Andrew Rogers, DJ McKeever, Gavin Short, Michael Szostakowska (1-00), Bobby Butterly (1-00), Padraig McKenny, Tiarnan Corrigan (1-00), Jamie Ward, Shane Carpenter (1-02), Jonathan Commins (0-09), Carl Gillespie (0-08), Conor S O’Brien (0-01), Luke Matthews (1-02), Jody Donoghue (0-01).
Subs: Evan Courtney (GK), Callum Markey, Dylan Kearney, Finn Duffy, Keith McCloskey, Evan McSwiney, Conor M O’Brien, Richard Rogers, Cathal Reynolds, Aaron McManus, Cillian Keenan (0-01).