The long-awaited encounter between St Kiernans and Parnells took place on Saturday last at Greenford. The prize on this occasion was the coveted London League title with Parnells being the holders and seeking to complete the ‘four in a row’ in this competition.
The going was soft but the day was good as referee Liam Barry launched the throw-in. A decent sized crowd were in attendance and anticipation of a good contest was evident.
It is fair to say that St. Kiernans started the better and looked extremely dangerous in the first quarter. Indeed with a bit more composure in front of goal the contest could have been over long before half time. The hero for Parnells during this period was Ricardo Estevez in goal who made a couple of fine stops from the excellent Matthew Joyce and Conleth Gallaher. A brilliant diving block from full back Eoghan Riley also prevented a certain goal and ensured Parnells stayed in the contest. At this point Parnells were ‘on the ropes’. These lads in blue though are made of stern stuff and showed great resilience and indeed footballing skills and with a number of piercing breaks were able to rack up a total of four points to St Kiernans five by half time. St Kiernans would have been disappointed I’m sure to have had so much of the play and only have the slightest of leads at the break.
Parnells scorers in the first half were Niall Twomey, Lewis Dickinson and two points for the lively Conal White.
The second half was a much more even contest with both teams contesting every ball with tigerish intent. St Kiernans pound for pound are a bigger unit physically so it was a real battle for Parnells but a challenge that the team relished none the less.
St Kiernans though held the initiative going into the last quarter and looked well placed for victory holding a four point lead. It was at this point Niall Bradshaw was re-introduced to the half forward line after being withdrawn due to a blood injury in the first half. Niall Twomey was relocated to full forward and Parnells really burst into life. Suddenly the Blue Team were ‘rampant’. All of the forwards who had been somewhat subdued were suddenly on fire. Michael Walsh and Liam Bakery at midfield started to hit the heights and momentum gradually shifted to Parnells. During this period goals from the excellent Sam Langan and Niall Bradshaw and points from captain Ciaran Griffin and Niall Bradshaw helped to seal a fantastic win for Parnells and secure the fabulous ‘four in a row’.
This was a victory based on a refusal to lie down and accept defeat. It is not an exaggeration to say that all of the eighteen boys involved were heroic in their actions on the day. The three man management team of Parnells all agreed that the ‘guts’ the lads exhibited was the key factor in giving us the opportunity to play the good football in the latter stages.
Make no mistake, this victory was an outstanding achievement for the club and made all the more impressive as it came against an excellent St Kiernans team. St Kiernans had star performers in Michael English, Caolin Doyle and Matthew Joyce. Whilst Conleth Gallaher was a revelation at half forward.
Parnells: Heroes All
Final Score Parnells 2-8 St Kiernans 1-10.
Man of the Match – Lewis Dickinson, Lewis was the epitome of stubbornness and refused to be second all day long. Congratulations lads and as special mention to the two 13 year olds who played a massive part in the victory-Darragh Griffin and Patrick Murphy.
Team: Ricardo Estevez, Jack Curd, Eoghan Riley, Cormac O’Brien, Eamon Kane, Jojo Thabu, Luke McHugh, Liam Bakery, Michael Walsh, Niall Twomey (0-1), Lewis Dickinson (0-2), Niall Bradshaw (1-2), Conal White (0-2), Ciaran Griffin (0-1) (Captain), Patrick Peach, Sam Langan 1-0, Patrick Murphy and Darragh Griffin.