Whitehall Colmcille got off to a poor start as they hosted the Division Three football Feile, but held their nerve in an ‘every game’s a cup final’ scenario. That meant winning the next four games in a row to take the title.
They had been narrowly beaten by St Vincent’s in the opening game of their group, but went on to win the remaining two and top the group, before seeing off Naomh Barrog to make Sunday’s final.
“Barrog were really shattered by then,” Under-14 mentor Mick McGuinness said of the one-sided semi-final that must have come as a shock to Colmcille in what had been the tightest of tournaments.
“They’d had an arm break and some tough games, and we really just overwhelmed them.”
Having looked in trouble in the very first game, then, Colmcille won their semi-final with a glut of goals, by 8-8 to 0-7, and set up a final against Round Towers.
The final was a close encounter, with Colmcille scoring early through Harry Page, but being pegged back to 1-2 to 0-5 by half time. Round Towers went ahead just after the break, scoring the opening two points, before Cillian Chatham hit a goal for the hosts, and Tom Kearns frees pushed the home side to four points ahead with six minutes to go.
Whitehall were backs-to-the-wall for the final few minutes, though, with the last three almost literally seeing Colmcille camped on their own goal line as they hung on to take home the title by a 2-7 to 0-10 margin, with goalkeeper Cillian Cummins saving a penalty along the way.
McGuinness praised the team all around for their performance in a tense final, but as well as the boys scoring the key points, mentioned Sleidas Sabaliauskas and Jamie Rafferty, who were particularly consistent performers for the side throughout their run over the course of the weekend.
“Our second team in division eight made a semi-final as well,” McGuinness said of the feile.
“They missed the final because of a last minute goal against Kilmacud Crokes.
“We have 40 kids coming down regularly now, and that’s really good for the club. It’s gone up by another ten because of the quality of the current Dublin side, this stuff really rubs off.
“For these kids, the Feile is huge. The division three team get to go to the All Ireland in Roscommon in June.
“That’s something to really look forward to for the whole team.
“The girls side are booming, too, which is great as when I started getting involved twelve years ago there wasn’t a girls team.
“We’ve also just opened new facilities at the club. Things are going really nicely.”