August 18th, 2020

HEAVY downpours didn’t dampen the spirits of Loughinisland’s U11.5 side after they turned in a battling display in atrocious conditions against Liatroim Fontenoys at Macartan Park on Sunday.

A mid-morning deluge prior to throw-in didn’t halt the enthusiasm of the boys in blue, nor did it impact on the quality of football played by two evenly matched teams.

The opening quarter was an exciting affair where the teams exchanged early points. Eoin Kelly’s super run and point was quickly cancelled out by Liatroim.

Both sides missed some chances to increase their tally with Caolan Valentine making a super point blank save to deny Liatroim a certain goal before Reilly McKibben added a great score off his right foot following a lovely dummy to break free from his marker.

Throughout the opening half Noah O’Toole’s ability to win and carry the ball at speed into the heart of the Liatroim defence caused the visitors problems time and again.

It was from one of these strong runs that Noah set up Eoin Kelly for a second sublime point.

The Blues’ back line worked tirelessly during the opening quarter, tackling and jostling their opponents over and over again. Ryan Owens and Torrin Donnelly excelled in defence, winning break balls and making many interceptions.

The duo were ably assisted by Ryan Dornan, who was a rock in the defence. He competed heroically from start to finish, driving the Loughinisland side forward at every available opportunity.

The second quarter was just as exciting as the first with the home side’s midfield dominance starting to show. Eoin Keenan and Richard McKeown proved to be an exciting and effective midfield pairing with Eoin’s strength and work rate complimenting Richard’s ability to catch clean ball from kickouts and move the ball quickly into our forward line.

Were we looking at a potential midfield paring for the senior team in years to come??

The introduction of the robust defensive attributes of Matthew O’Hare and the mobility of Jake Kennedy in attack added an extra dimension to the home team’s play and this was evident on the scoreboard.

Super goals from impressive Eoin Kelly and a wonder strike from Ryan Dornan along with a point from Richard McKeown ensured the Blues kept the score increasing.

The third quarter was a close affair. Liatroim’s forwards managed to find some extra space at times which they capitalised on fully, despite the best efforts of Nathen Killen, Sean Mason and Owen Trainor, fresh from a trip to the Tayto Park.

The trio worked their socks off to ensure the Liatroim forwards were constantly under pressure and battled hard for their scores.

In attack, Noah O’Toole continued to be a thorn in the visitors’ defence’s as he rifled in a super goal after the ball had rebounded off the upright.

There was very little between the teams in the last 10 minutes. Conan Mulholland battled hard to win possession in the Loughinisland forward line with Ronan Hodge equally as impressive in defence. As the game ebbed and flowed from end-to-end, the skill level on display of this young Loughinisland team was a joy watch.

Team manager Conor O’Toole was delighted with his side’s display in challenging conditions.

He said: “The effort and commitment of all members of the panel was fantastic on Sunday morning. The players were a credit to themselves and wore the blue of Loughinisland with distinction once again – keep up the great work boys.

“Well done to each and every member of this squad, superb effort by all.”

Loughinisland: Conan Mulholland, Caolan Valentine, Ronan Hodge, Ryan Dornan, Ryan Owens, Torrin Donnelly, Eoin Keenan, Richard McKeown, Noah O’Toole, Eoin Kelly, Reilly McKibben, Conan Mulholland, Nathen Killen, Sean Mason, Matthew O’Hare, Jake Kennedy.

  • Training on Thursday at Macartan Park at 5.45pm with health checks are to be submitted no later than 5pm.

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