The final of the Dublin U.18 D football championship was played in Parnell’s GAA, Coolock, Thursday 28th. Ardscoil Raheny and Coláiste Dhulaigh were the teams involved. The astro pitch meant the recent inclement weather did not prevent the game going ahead. Ardscoil played against a strong wind in the first half and got on the scoreboard first. With points from Ryan Murphy (2 frees). Dhulaigh settled and got 2 points of their own to close the gap to the bare minimum. Ardscoil were struggling at this stage as Dhulaigh got on top in midfield despite great work by Jason Moriarty, Lee Conroy and Matthew Carter.
Ardscoil were to be dealt another blow as Dhulaigh got in for a well taken goal. This was quickly followed by a point to leave 3 points between the teams (1-3 to 0-3) with halftime approaching. However, a major intervention by Brian Dennis (one of many) saw him solo in towards the Dhulaigh goal, beating three players on his way, and lay the ball of to Ryan Murphy who fisted the ball into an empty net for a crucial goal. Halftime followed shortly, with the two teams deadlocked at 1-3 apiece.
The second half saw Ardscoil play with a wind and Ardscoil added two points early on from Ryan Murphy to stretch this lead their lead to 1-5 to 1-3. Ardscoil were getting to grips in the midfield battle with Jason Moriarty and getting through an amount of work. Dhulaigh had withdrawn their corner forward to play as an extra defender. Which was making it difficult for the Ardscoil forwards.
With about 15 minutes played of the second half, Ardscoil were reduced to 14 men for a second yellow card offense. But stepped up Brian Dennis, who had been moved into fullforward to score the first of his goals. This put the score at 2-5 to 1-3 for Ardscoil. Dhulaigh tried hard to get another goal themselves but defending by Karl Hatton, Ryan Kiernan, Johnny Daly and Noel Hatton thwarted their efforts. While all this was going Ardscoil’s goalkeeper Ciaran O’Sullivan was having his usual brilliant game between the posts. His fearlessness, bravery and agility mark him down as one for the future.
As the game was entering it's final 10 minutes another well placed pass by Jason Moriarty into Brian was duly dispatched to the net by Dennis who rounded his man expertly before finishing to the net. The score was now 3-5 to 1-3. Dhulaigh hit back with 2 points reducing the arrears to 6 points, 3-5 to 1-5. Keith Conroy chipped in with a well taken point, which appeared to be be goal bound but hit the crossbar and went over instead of under! Dhulaigh were trying everything to get a goal to give them some hope but our backs stood firm and with Graham Reilly back helping out, several attacks were broken up due to his interventions.Brian Dennis wasn't finished however, and with minutes remaining he completed his hat-trick of goals in typical fashion. An accurate pass in from Ryan Murphy to Dennis who finished to the net.
The score was now 4-6 to 1-5 and that's how it finished. Brian Dennis top scored with 3-0, but Ryan Murphy contributed an equally impressive 1-5 and his linkup play, especially in the second half when Ardscoil were reduced to 14 men was crucial. Lee Conroy and Jason Moriarty ran all day and made a huge contribution to this victory. Captain Johnny Daly drove the team on all day and goalkeeper Ciaran O'Sullivan had an outstanding game, Dan Loftus was going well until his second rather harsh yellow card. Noel Hatton when he came on as a second half sub , had a very strong game and used the ball very cleverly. Dean Byrne, Roy Jones, Aaron Gifford-Murphy and Robbie Cumiskey all made big contributions to the team effort.
Team : Ciaran O'Sullivan, D.Byrne, K.Hatton, R.Kiernan, M.Carter,J. Daly, A.Murphy, J.Moriarty, L.Conroy, R.Cumiskey, B.Dennis, D.Loftis, G.Reilly, R.Murphy, R.Jones,
Subs : N.Hatton,for A.Murphy (25 minutes), K.Conroy for R.Jones (halftime), E.Byrne for R.Cumiskey (52 minutes).
Subs: Wayne Dennis, James Cumiskey, Sean Cumiskey, Mark Barry, Craig Ryan, Gino Starace.
Ardscoil 2-5 Col. Dhulaigh 1-9
Ardscoil 2-4 St. Joseph's CBS 1-1
Ardscoil 2-7 Coláiste Mhuire 0-9
Ardscoil 3-7 Tallaght C.S. 0-8
Ardscoil 4-6 Col. Dhulaigh 1-5