Under 21 Football Championship Quarter-Final
It was a repeat of the Final from a year ago but this time the result was different as Naas defeated Clane in the Under 21 Football Championship.
It was also a renewing of aquatainces from the Minor Football Final at this subsequent age in 2016 and like that day Naas had too much in their armoury.
The winners had firepower all over the field and while Sean Cullen, Darragh Merriman and Shane Ryan got the goals the likes of Darragh Kirwan, Alex Beirne and Ciaran Doyle were hugely influential.
Like three years ago Clane were without their talisman in Brian McLoughlin but even if he was available it would be a stretch to suggest the result would have been different as the scoreline flatters Clane somewhat.
It’s just another in a long line of extremely strong Naas underage teams and they will be favourites to land another trophy at the end of the campaign to their roll of honour.
Both teams had a couple of players from last week’s Minor Final on show and while they are the two dominant sides at underage currently the conveyor belt coming through the Naas Club is something to behold.
Clane did start well and were quickly into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with Ciaran Kelly looking sharp up front as he kicked all of Clane’s early points.
After opening the scoring it was the only time that Clane led though as after Sean Cullen netted in the 7th minute for Naas they raced clear.
The likes of Darragh Merriman, Darragh Kirwan, Dallan Gallagher and Alex Beirne then all added on points as Naas went into cruise control
Merriman got a second goal before half-time as Naas went into a ten point lead at the change of ends with only Kelly, Tadhg Montgomery and Shane O’Sullivan getting on the scoreboard for Clane.
The second half was going along similar lines when Beirne, James Burke and Ciaran Doyle pointed to leave Naas in a 2-15 to 0-10 lead but Clane did get some momentum going after Kelly kicked a couple more frees and Eoghan Maguire notched a quickfire 1-1.
Clane got within six points at one stage but just when they thought they had a chance Shane Ryan netted down the other end to essentially end the game as a contest.
Sam McCormack got a goal for Clane in the dying minutes but it arrived much too late in the day as Naas cruised home to win out on a 3-18 to 2-14 scoreline.
Naas: Luke Mullins 0-1 (0-1f); Cathal Daly, Adam Cronin, Conor McCarthy, Paddy McDermott, Brian Stynes, Darragh Merriman 1-1, James Burke 0-1, Alex Beirne 0-3, Sean Cullen 1-0, Darragh Kirwan 0-5, David Shaw, Dallan Gallagher 0-2, Luke Griffin 0-1 (0-1f), Ciaran Doyle 0-4 (0-3fs).
Subs used: Jack Cleary for Merriman 40 mins, Shane Ryan 1-0 for Gallagher 42 mins, Drew Costello for Beirne 55 mins, Simon Leacy for McDermott 58 mins.
Clane: Cian Burke; John Lynch, Brian Corbett, Danny Vaughan, Tadhg Montgomery 0-1, Danny Reilly, Colm O’Sullivan, Caolan Smith, Shane McCormack, James Behan, Shane O’Sullivan 0-3 (0-2fs), Sam McCormack 1-1, Eoghan Maguire 1-1, Ciaran Kelly 0-8 (0-7fs), Mark Kelly.
Subs used: Conor Wash for Vaughan 58 mins, Conor Ward for C.O’Sullivan 58 mins, Sam Reilly for M.Kelly 60 mins.
Ref: Matty Redmond
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