The Clongowes Senior team enjoyed their most successful season to date winning four of the five competitions they entered. They suffered just one defeat in twenty-two games, winning nineteen and drawing two. They scored a remarkable eighty-one goals, twenty-eight from the boot of top goalscorer John Garty. Manager, coach and master tactician, NOEL MASON takes up the tale…
The high tempo and pressing game employed by Clongowes was complemented by a miserly defence that only conceded twenty-four goals in the season. A solid central defensive partnership of Eimhin Ryan and Matthew Odlum backed up by goalkeeper Michael Collins allowed the full backs Morgan Callaghan, Darren Cormican and Michael Broe to play a more attacking role. This was superbly executed by at right full with alternating the left full position.
Fiachra Lynch and Joe Gilmartin provided the central midfield partnership for the majority of the season and also chipped in with eight goals between them with Fiachra arguably scoring the goal of the season in an early fixture against Sallins Celtic. On the right side of midfield captain Jack McCreevy made the position his own with great competition for the other place from Michael O’Hara Conroy, Finn Colfer and Daniel Keaveney. Our 4-4-1-1 formation had John Garty as the lone striker and vice-captain Mark Reynolds playing in a free role at number ten.
Having being on a terrific winning streak, confidence was high coming back after the Easter break and the first piece of silverware secured by the team was the KDUL Under 18 Major League title, wrapped up in style when defeating BBC United 4-0 away from home. It ended a hugely successful league campaign in which the boys remained undefeated having won eight and drawn two of their ten fixtures. We reached the final of two Shield competitions defeating Suncroft to win the Youths Shield, but luck ran out in the Under 18 shield final, our seventh game in two weeks, when a clearly tired Clongowes lost 3-2 to Clane United.
Extra time winners
Clongowes had a tough route to the final of the Under 18 Cup defeating Kill Celtic and Newbridge Town. The final saw a rematch with Clane, who had just won the Under 18 Premier league. An entertaining game was scoreless going into the last ten minutes, when a terrific strike from Jack McCreevy was promptly cancelled by a Clane goal. However the lads kept their cool and dug deep to earn a fantastic victory, with John Garty netting the winner in extra time.
We also reached the final of the league’s main cup competition, the Youths’ Cup, defeating Kildare and Clane, both of whom compete in the division above us. The semi-final was especially exciting with Clongowes leading 2-0 with five minutes remaining, before Clane agonisingly equalised in injury time. Despite it being their third game in five days the Clongowes boys showed great determination to keep out a Clane side that now had the momentum and so it went to a penalty shootout and then to sudden death. Clongowes began with a miss but goalkeeper Michael Collins saved the next two and we were through.
In an exciting and hard fought final, Clongowes faced Suncroft FC and led 1-0 at the interval thanks to a strike from Morgan Callaghan. The second half proved to be a more one sided encounter as Clongowes superior fitness began to show. A goal by John Garty and a brace apiece from Jack McCreevy and Mark Reynolds (including a free kick from just inside the halfway line which flew into the top left corner) ensured Clongowes ran out comfortable winners.
A fantastic season was complete and the boys sang joyously (if not quite in tune) in the dressing room and on the bus home. Having secured the league title, a Shield and two Cups the boys were duly rewarded for their efforts and I congratulate them all and thank them for a most enjoyable and fulfilling season.