St Colmcilles retain the Fr. O’Hanlon Cup

Yesterday, in the fantastic weather and the fine setting of Horspath, Oxford, the Hertfordshire Blitz took place where four teams battled it out for the first trophy of the year, the Fr. O’Hanlon cup.

 

St. Colmcilles were joined by St. Dympnas, St. Vincents and hosts Eire Og, Oxford in competing for first Hertfordshire title of 2017. Tommy McAndrew managed the Saints who looked the part as they were all kitted out in their new jerseys supplied by sponsor ECS Group.

 

The competition was a league format with all teams playing each other before the top two teams competed in the final.

The league results were as follows:

Éire Óg 0-7 – 0-4 St. Vincents

St. Colmcilles 2-3 – 0-3 St. Dympnas

St. Colmcilles 1-5 – 1-2 Éire Óg

St. Vincents 1-4 – 0-5 St. Dympnas

St. Dympnas 0-4 – 0-3 Éire Óg

St. Colmcilles 5-6 – 0-1 St. Vincents

 

St. Colmcilles got off to a bit of a slow start in their first match against St. Dympnas as the strong winds saw a number of shots fall wide but some tough defending and good possession meant that they were only a point down in the first half. St. Dympnas kept the pressure on in the second half but the Saints started to get into their stride and goals from Doug Galbraith and Joe Deacy saw them take the lead. A couple of points saw that the result was secure and the St Albans team was off to a good start. 2-3 to 0-3

Next up was Éire Óg and this time the Saints started the stronger of the two teams and a point from Jason Donnelly and a goal from Connor Taggart saw them into an early lead. They scored another couple of points and looked comfortable for the win until mid-way through the second half when Oxford broke free and scored a well taken goal. This left a nervy final few minutes but St. Colmcilles saw the match out and virtually secured their final spot. 1-5 to 1-2

Finally, St. Colmcilles faced St. Vincents knowing that a win or draw for the Luton side would see them into the final. However the Saints were hitting their stride and early goals from Jason Donnelly and Doug Galbraith  meant that this was going to be a one way contest. St. Vincents kept going and scored a fantastic point after a brilliant run from their young midfielder. The second half was all about possession and the Saints held on to the ball, controlling the game well and working their scores brilliantly. Neil Gallagher even popped up with a goal to finish out the game. 5-6 to 0-1

 

This left the league table as follows:

Played Won Draw Lost Points For Points Against Difference Points
St. Colmcilles 3 3 0 0 38 9 29 6
Éire Óg 3 1 0 2 15 16 -1 2
St. Dympnas 3 1 0 2 12 19 -7 2
St. Vincents 3 1 0 2 12 33 -21 2

 

That meant that St. Colmcilles would face the hosts, Éire Óg in the final as they finished with the best points difference over the two Luton teams.

With the sun beating down and the scorching heat, the final was always going to be about who had the legs to kick on and keep going until the final whistle. The St Albans side started strongly and but for a few fantastic saves from the Oxford keeper the match could have been over in the first half. Michael Logue and Doug Galbraith were fantastic engines in the half-back line and constantly caused a threat as they came through the midfield going forward. Credit to Éire Óg as they battled back and got a few points to keep within touch. However, some resilient defending and great work from keeper Aaron O’Byrne meant that they didn’t get anything easy.

The second half however was all one way traffic as the Oxford side ran out of steam. Odhrán Gallagher and Chris Griffin in midfield won everything that came their way and gave the team a great platform to build from. The Saints made their possession count as they kept the ball well and worked some fine scores. Conor Lutrell, Shane Gill, Gavin Walsh and Thomas Maloney all worked hard, up and down the field, to give options to those around them. St. Colmcilles ran away with it and were deserving winners by a scoreline of 8-5 to 0-4.

Everyone gave everything they had from start to finish under the scorching sun and all have the sunburn to prove it. A few notable mentions have to go to Neil Gallagher for being solid at the back and for his two goals, Michael Logue, Doug Galbraith, Odhrán Gallagher and Chris Griffin for their constant work around the middle of the park and some very fine scores and Conor Carney and captain for the day, Jason Donnelly for continually keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

St Colmcilles: Aaron O’Byrne, James Thompson, Shane Gill, Thomas Maloney, Michael Logue(0-2), Conor Luttrell(0-2), Doug Galbraith(3-0), Odhrán Gallagher(1-0), Neil Gallagher(2-0), Conor Carney(3-2), Jason Donnelly(4-8), Joe Deacy(1-4), Chris Griffin(1-1), Gavin Walsh, Connor Taggart(1-0).

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