Mullingar Shamrocks were on the road for the opening game of the Jim McHugh Memorial U12 Tournament, hosted by Garrycastle GAA. Against a tough Garrycastle side, a Shamrocks team drawn from our under 11s and under 12s put up a great performance ultimately losing out by 2 goals.
The final score was certainly not indicative of how our lads played. On top for the first half the lads stormed into an early lead. You would not have guessed that this was the first time these lads lined out together, as some great team play involving 8 outfield players lead up to 1st pt, which Pau Dooley put over the bar. Eoin Reddin made it a 2 point lead and after 10pm of lovely football Shamrocks were 3 to the good. James Casey, Conor Glynn and John Burke played some great stuff to set up Pau Dooley for his second of the game. On 13m Conor Glynn scored a sweet point after some great tough work from Eddie Leavy. With Shamrocks well on top Garrycastle scored a goal totally against run of play followed by a few points. Jamie Byrne, one of 4 goalkeepers used throughout the game, made a great save to deny a certain goal and a long range Karl Keane point put Shamrocks into the half time break feeling good, if a little deflated with the goal.
There were many standout moments from this half, defence wise Evan Plamer and Sean Dooley assisted by a number of others, in midfield, there was some good play from Carl Keane and Eoin Reddin and up front a Eddie Leavy, Pau Dooley, Dylan Hanly among others.
An Eoin Reddin point was a great way to start the second half, followed as it was by a long range special from the foot of Conor Glynn. However, a free kick for Garrycastle and a run of play which saw them bag their second goal saw the hosts edge ahead. Despite strong resilience from Shamrocks, who still held together very well as a team (remember, for most this was their first time playing together competitively) Garrycastle slotted over 3 points. Despite being denied a certain penalty Shamrocks fought on and slotted over 2 points to take the edge off a narrow 2 goal defeat. A goal would have been a just reward for the lads, but there was some tired legs out there, not least because 8 of the Shamrock’s lads had earlier lined out for Oliver Plunketts against Ballymore in the hurling an hour earlier! There’s some mighty men in the making in our underage set up!
The rewards of Shamróigí initiative of recent years are certainly being felt with these two age groups, and tournaments like this are a great way for players to come together in the green and do themselves and their team proud.
Final score after 50 tough minutes: Garrycastle 2:08 Mullingar Shamrocks 0:08
Aaron Smith, Cian McNamee, Sean Dooley, Evan Palmer, Kian Newcombe, Conor Glynn, Jamie Byrne, Eoin Reddin, Carl Keane, James Casey Dylan Conlon, Eddie Leavy, Josh Burke, Pau Dooley,Dylan Hanly, Dylan Cooney, Conor Peyton, Paul Donlon, Matthew Leavy, Liam Reddin
In the second match of the Jim McHugh Memorial U12 Tournament Mullingar Shamrocks hosted Lilliput Gaels at the Harbour Field for an exhilarating game of football. Shamrocks emerged winners with a healthy score line with a superb team display. Picking a player of the match would be an impossible ask given some of the great play on show.
Early doors there was some tough opening exchanges. Dylan Conlon and Eddie Leavy had chances and Shamrocks took gradual control with Jamie Byrne, Karl Keane, Cian Newcome and Dylan Conlon impressing.
However, it took 15m for the first score to sail through the Harbour pitch and over the bar. It was a really well worked point, Conor Glynn found Aaron Smith who in turn pushed it forward to Eddie Leavy and the. It went to Pau Dooley who unselfishly, and from a tough angle too, set up Dylan Conlon for a well hammered point.
Eoin Reddin made it 2 points to the good with a long range free that any senior player would be impressed with.
Aaron Smith set up a scramble in the Lilliput box that saw their keeper made a double save from a certain goal and free. Paul Donlon unlucky with one of them.
A minute later Eddie Leavy added the first of two points from distance, the first thanks to a sweet pass from Eoin Reddin.
On 24m one of the scores the game went over the bar after some brilliant play by Jamie Byrne out wide found Caolan Murphy who dummied and shimmied passed his marker before sending it high over the bar from a great distance.
In a move started from defence by Evan Palmer who combined with Caolan Murphy, Eddie Leavy and finally Eoin Reddin came a point that had it all, not least bravery of the scorer, Reddin, who took a hard knock before he got straight up and sent it over the bar.
Paul Donlon had a great goal chance only for some stout defending before Eddie Leavy added a point that clattered the crossbar before going over.
Not to be outdone by his older brother, Matthew Leavy scored a brilliant long point to end a sensational first half with Shamrocks 8 points to the good.
In the second half Karl Keane, Paul Donlon and Conor Glynn all had early chances before Pau Dooley got his second point of the match after some fine play that started in a defence marshalled by Cian Newcome, Evan Palmer and Pau’s brother Sean.
The first goal of the game was a joy to watch. Blocking is one of the fine arts of bravery in any game, and Karl Keane turned the play with a fine block that eventually found its way over to Caolan Murphy on the wing. From a hard angle and long way away he scored a really fine goal.
Very soon after good diverting runs from James Casey, Josh Burke and Dylan Hanley came a certain goal chance with the Lilliput keeper palmed out. After a melee which saw a determined Conor Peyton battle for the ball it fell out eventually to Caolan Murphy who scored from another tight angle with skill, including a trademark dummy to put Shamrocks well in front.
The second goal was a low range piledriver from Dylan Conlon from a good distance. Again, great team play set it up, but it involved far too many players to mention
Aaron Smith, playing from defence, got a well worked, well deserved point after great play by Dylan Hanley.
With a minute to go, Lilliput got a goal and could have had another only for some goalkeeping heroics from the safe hands of John Cleary.
With seconds to go, the youngest man on the pitch, 9 year old Liam Reddin made a lovely turn, and with a drop the shoulder and a deft finish got Shamrocks final score in a well deserved victory.
Mullingar Shamrocks Panel: John Cleary, Caolan Murphy, Aaron Smith, Cian McNamee, Sean Dooley, Evan Palmer, Kian Newcombe, Conor Glynn, Jamie Byrne, Eoin Reddin, Carl Keane, James Casey Dylan Conlon, Eddie Leavy, Josh Burke, Pau Dooley,Dylan Hanly, Dylan Cooney, Conor Peyton, Paul Donlon, Matthew Leavy, Liam Reddin