In one of the best Shield finals ever in International Minor Football Championship, Kilkenny managed a hard-earned 1-8 to 1-6 victory over New York at Cooley Kickhams Grounds in County Louth last week.
The scores were even six times in this thriller and as New York edged ahead by two points in the waning minutes of the game only to see Kilkenny score a goal to cement the victory.
In its first game, New York topped Scotland, 1-6 to 0-6. At halftime the teams were all square at 3 points apiece, thanks to Tommy Williams’s 0-2, and Eugene Gillespie’s 0-1. Captain and goalkeeper Niall Duggan made several good saves and there was some excellent defensive work by Jason Clarke, Kieran Dwyer, Gerry Gillespie and Jamie Lally.
In the second half, Ruairi O’Neill and Ray Lennon controlled centerfield. A great four-man passing movement, started by lion-hearted Dermot O’Sullivan, went to Ray Lennon, Gary Cullinan and O’Neill, who spotted Gillespie, who planted it in the net for a goal, O’Neill scored a beauty from long range, Darren Meaney got two points to close out the scoring.
Round 2’s opponents Lancashire were on the receiving end of a 1-12 to 0-3 drubbing. New York, who had a greater appetite for the game, contested every ball, harried and hassled their opponents in every sector, flair, cohesion, confidence marked this display. Outstanding for New York were Ruairi O’Neill 0-1, Gerry Gillespie 0-1, Ray Lennon 0-2, Dermot O’Sullivan 0-4, Eugene Gillespie 1-1, Tommy Williams 0-1, Tom Meaney 0-1, Darren Meaney 0-1, Kieran Dwyer and Jason Clarke. Also prominent Adrian Clarke, Jamie Lally, Kevin Coughlan, Niall Duggan, Gary Cullinan, Kevin Scully, Donal Gillespie and Brendan Egan.
In Round 3 on Friday morning New York fell by 3-5 to 2-4 to Warwickshire, and in Round 4 Kilkenny edged New York 2-8 to 1-10 in a tremendous game that had the large crowd on their feet. It was Particularly noteworthy for New York were Dermot O’Sullivan 0-3, Tommy Williams 0-2, Gary Cullinan 1-2, the goal coming after some marvelous work by Sean Carbin, Jamie Lally, Ray Lennon, Gerry Gillespie 0-1, Darren Meaney 0-1, Kieran Dwyer.
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In round 5 London edged New York 1-8 to 1-6. These results meant New York were through to the Shield final on score aggregate on Saturday.
Over the six games New York were best served by Dermot O’Sullivan 1-3, Jason Clarke had a blinder 0-1, Gerry Gillespie, Ruairi O’Neill, Ray Lennon 0-2, Kieran Dwyer outstanding, Tommy Williams, Niall Duggan, Kevin Coughlan, Eugene Gillespie, Jamie Lally were excellent, Brendan Egan, Sean Carbin, Adrian Clarke, Donal Gillespie, Gary Cullinan, Thomas Meaney, Darren Meaney, Kevin Scully and Jimmy Woods made huge contributions.