ST SYLVESTER’S junior footballers were left disappointed after a positive season last weekend when they lost out in the AFL 6 promotion play-off semi-final against Cuala at Broomfield.
Targeting their second promotion on the trot, St Sylvester’s had already won the Division 6 Stacey Cup, but finishing second in the league to St Vincent’s, who had beaten them by two points in late September, put them into the play-offs.
Their misfortune was to come up against a strong Cuala side who had won the Junior A championship, defeating St Monica’s, a side three divisions ahead of them, in the process.
Cuala got off to a good start, moving the ball quickly and scoring at ease from play, moving the ball and winning breaking ball around midfield. Sylvester’s, however, took time to get to grips with the game and went in 12-6 down at half time.
In second half, they confined Cuala to only one point from play in the half, retaining a good deal of the possession, but too many wides in the end were the difference between the sides, while the goal chances that came Sylvester’s way were cleared off the line.
Speaking to Gazette Sport last week, manager of the Junior side Declan McGrath said there were a lot of positives to draw from the season.
“Other than Keith Galvin, who won an All-Ireland for Dublin in 1995, and goalkeeper Kieran Murray, the oldest guy in the team is 27, and all the rest have come from minor level last year.
“ It is a very young team with a long way to go yet.
“The club has a huge focus on juvenile level and bringing kids through, but it is hard to maintain the interest from 16 to adult levels. We worked hard in transitioning lads coming out of minor and into the senior grades, the minor manager made sure his guys were placed with the correct team at the right level.
“We have a focus and that is coming to fruition this weekend with the Under-21s playing in the championship semi-final, proof that the policy is working.”