Mallow beat St Nick’s in exciting U12 Final

Mallow U12 footballers, Premier 2 Champions 2018.

St Nick’s……………….…3-8
(after extra time)
Carrigoon played host to a thrilling U12 Premier 2 Final last Sunday which saw Mallow prevailing in extra time over the visiting St Nick’s.  This was expected to be a tight final with very little to seperate the teams, based on their year to date. St Nick’s were undefeated all year coming into the final, having overcome Eire Og with relative ease in the semi final. Mallow’s only defeat all year was by very narrow margin away to St Nick’s during the league phase following a very tough game in the Glen in September. That defeat meant that Mallow faced the tougher semi final where they overcame a fine Midleton side to book their place in the decider. The stage was thus set for another tough encounter between these teams.
Mallow started the brighter in the first half, settling well with a couple of well-taken points before rattling the net for a fine goal to drive home their early dominance. Mallow continued to dominate, but couldn’t convert their fine play to keep the scoreboard ticking over. St Nick’s kept themselves in touch, mainly through frees, and despite their dominance Mallow led by only 4 points at half time.
The second half was a much more even affair, as St Nick’s began to make their presence felt. The visitors were converting their chances better than Mallow, and closed the gap. However, Mallow dug in and, coming into the last few minute, looked like they had established a lead that might be enough to see them home. St Nick’s weren’t done yet and hit the net to bring the game back into the melting pot. The last few minutes were frenetic as both teams tried to get a winning score, however the referree’s whistle brought an end to normal time with the scores level.
This thrilling final then extended into two ten-minute periods of additional time, and with it down came the rain. Mallow drove on hard at this stage, but again were struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Late in the first period, a speculative St Nick’s ball bounced around the square, and in the ensuing mayhem the ball bobbled into the Mallow net. This left the visitors two points up at the end of the first period, and Mallow with a hill to climb for the last 10 minutes of the year.
Once more these brave Mallow boys took the pitch and drove at St Nick’s. Their persistence paid off, and the break came with a few minutes to go, when a fine, well-taken point reduced the St Nick’s lead to the bare minimum. These boys never know when to give up and once more worked the ball up the pitch. A superb example of fielding in front of the St Nick’s goal and an even better lay-off brought about the decisive moment. The ball was despatched with aplomb to the back of the St Nick’s net to leave Mallow two points ahead with time almost up. The final whistle came shortly afterwards, sparking great scenes of joy on the pitch as players, their families and the many supporters celebrated a well deserved victory.
These boys have become great friends ever since  their first days training in Carrigoon a number of years back. They have great resilience and belief in themselves, and never know when to give up. They worked incredibly hard all year, and it is great to see them being rewarded with honours at the end of a long year. The coaching team hopes that the boys are as proud of their efforts as we are. A special word of thanks as well to the boys’ families who, as ever, are unfailing in their support. A major thank you to the Juvenile Club as well for their support on the day, and for putting on a fabulous reception for the team and their supporters in the clubhouse after the game.
Squad; Aaron Owens, Adam Roche, Ben McPhil-lips, Cathal Mullins, Charlie Cunningham, Daire Lynch,  David Ahern, Donagh Merritt, Eoin Howell,  Eoghan Murphy , Eddy Walsh, Gearóid Daly, Harry Kingston, Jack Roche, John Downey, Kieran O’Callaghan,  Luke Buckley, Padraig Britton, Richard McAulliffe,  Rory O’Mahony, Shane O’Neill. Captain for the day was Jack Roche.