Abbey V.S. are celebrating this morning for the first time in a number of years following their Dr. McDevitt Cup football final (U-14) success over PCC, Falcarragh, at a bitterly cold Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair’s Grounds.
Abbey Vocational School 8-6
PCC, Falcarragh 4-7
In a 12 goal encounter, that could hardly be described as a thriller, but given the conditions was enjoyable and for most of the 60 minutes well contested.
Eoin Slevin (3), Jack Keaney (2), Shaun Meehan (2) and Thomas Gallagher were the goalscorers for the winners, who laid the foundation for their victory in the first half, despite playing into a stiff breeze that blew in over Mount Errigal.
Keaney struck for the opening goal - the game’s opening score - inside two minutes with Slevin, who mesmerised the PCC defence every time he touched leather, posted goals number three and four on 14 and 22 minutes. His first on 14 minutes after being sent clear by Shaun Meehan, brought Abbey back into the contest after a period of PCC pressure and a goal from Dylan Doherty - directly from a 45 - and points from Daniel Devlin, Kyran Glennon, James McGee and Shane Langan.
Slevin’s goal reduced the margin to the minimum and while Dylan Doherty almost instantly made it a two point game, points from Meehan and Keaney tied up the game 2-3 to 1-6 on 17 minutes.
Slevin’s second strike on 22 minutes after good approach play from Keaney, edged Abbey three ahead and when Thomas Gallagher drove home number four one minute later, with once again Keaney the provider, Abbey were five in front.
But two quick fire goals from Kyran Glennon and Lee McColgan from a ‘45’ in the space of a minute on the stroke of the half hour mark, saw PCC sensationally hit the front 3-7 to 4-3.
However, in injury time, and in one final twist to the half Shaun Meehan rounded of a brilliant move involving Keaney and Slevin to drill home goal number five for Abbey and send Pauric O’Donnell’s boy in two up, 5-3 to 3-7, at half-time.
Keaney posted two points at the start of the second half but the anticipated Abbey avalanche did not materialise. And it was PCC with Ciaran McFadden, Dylan Doherty and Lee McColgan leading the charge that upped their game and took the fight to the Abbey boys.
But despite dominating the most of the third quarter and well in to the final quarter, PCC had nothing to show for their efforts. In fact it was Abbey who were next to score when Keaney cracked home goal number six. That was on 49 minutes, and after a brilliant interception by Conor Gavigan.
It was game set and match three minutes later when the mercurial Slevin got on the end of a good move to hit goal number seven.
PCC did get a score a late goal when Lee McColgan converted from the penalty spot.
But with Meehan pouncing for goal number eight and Keaney converting a late free Abbey had the final say before captain Peadar Mogan collected the schools first piece of silverware in over a decade.
Abbey VS: Darren Meehan; Michael Carr, Aaron McCrea, Colm O’Donnell; Conor Gavigan, Peadar Mogan, Michael Breslin; Neil Ward, Tom O’Grady; Thomas Gallagher (1-0), Jack Keaney (2-4), Thomas McGowan; John Rehilan, Shaun Meehan (2-2), Eoin Slevin (3-0). Subs: Daniel Meehan for M. Carr (h/t); Gerard Byrne for T. McGowan (44); Jamie Burke for C. O’Donnell (56); Lee Armstrong for E. Slevin (61).
PCC: Dean McColgan; Pauric Sweeney, Michael Mulhern, Ultan Boyle; Noel Sweeney, Ciaran McFadden, Aidan Doohan; Dylan Doherty (1-1, 1-0, 45), Daniel Devlin (0-1); Jamie McGee (0-1), Lee McColgan (2-2, 1-0 pen), Colin McFadden; Shane Langan (0-1), Kyran Glennon (1-1), P.J. Doogan. Subs: Ciaran McGinley for J. McGee (43); Finian McGinley U. O’Boyle.
Referee: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair)
Man of the Match
Jack Keaney scored 2-4 from centre half-forward and played a leading role in at least three of the other Abbey green flags. His opening goal on two minutes got Abbey off to a flying while his second with just a little over ten minutes remaining restored his team seven point advantage after a sustained period of PCC pressure.
He just shades the man of the match award from Shaun Meehan who scored 2-2, Eoin Slevin 3-0 and his team captain and centre half back Peadar Mogan.
Shaun Meehan’s goal in injury time at the end of the first half was the perfect response to PCC goals from Kyran Glennon and Lee McColgan minutes earlier. It sent Abbey in two points in front at half-time having played against the wind in the opening half.
On a bitterly cold day Martin Coll let the game flow and only blew when he had to in what was a good and very sensible refereeing performance.
Abbey manager - Pauric O’Donnell
“It is a brilliant result and one that is long overdue at the school. We are after having a number of lean years and we haven’t won anthing in over ten years.
“We were last in the McDevitt final in 2005, but we lost on that occasion and this is our first piece of silverware in over ten years.
“They are a great group of lads and great to work with they have put in a big effort since we got them together for the first time 14 weeks ago.
“We have a panel of 26, and we’ve had 26 players at every training session since we started the campaign. They really are a talented and dedicated bunch.
“It was a strange game the way it worked out. Facing into the wind in the first half we would have been happy to stick with PCC and be still in touch at half-time. But that is not the way it worked out; we scored a few goals in the first half and were in front at half-time.
“But we did not kick on in the second half and allowed them back into the game and we did not pull away again until the last ten minutes or so when we scored those goals.
“It was a good performance and a good result in difficult conditions and we are just happy to win something again and looking forward to playing in Ulster again.”