Round 1 of the Leinster GAA Br Bosco Cup kicked off today with Knockbeg College and Patrician Newbridge locking horns in a sunny Crettyard. Knockbeg come out on top after a thrilling encounter saw momentum swinging both ways throughout the entirety of the game. A two point margin separated the sides but it could just as easily have been a different story.
By Ben O’Keeffe
Knockbeg College 3-12
Patrician Newbridge 2-13
The Kildare side started much the brighter racing into an early three point lead thanks to two great scores from Ryan Behan O’Shea and one from Kevin Crowley. The tide slowly began to turn as Knockbeg started to gain a foothold pinning Patrician back into their own half. Cathal Moore in the Newbridge goal was called into action on a couple of occasions proving more than able for the task. However, the decisive moment of the first half came in the 9th minute when Knockbeg won a penalty which was calmly slotted home by Jack Byrne. This gave the Carlow men even more confidence and the ever accurate Colin Dunne followed with two consecutive scores before O’Shea fired one off in reply.
Things could have been worse for the Kildare side but for more heroics of Moore in the goals as he once again came to the rescue. The sides then traded scores with Dunne and O’Shea showcasing their accuracy to leave it 1-06 to 0-05 at the break.
The opening jaunt of the second half took on a familiar appearance with Newbridge once again racing from the traps. O’Shea fired another two frees to drag them back to within a solitary score. From here however it was again Knockbeg who grabbed the upper hand. Byrne was again the key man stepping up to fire his second major of the game and stretch their lead out to five points. Things would go from bad to worse for Newbridge as a Kevin Crowley point was quickly followed by another Knockbeg goal this time with Ben Slattery providing the finish.
Newbridge then looked to their bench to try and stem the tide, and stem the tide it did. Substitute Evan Nash making an immediate impact by wining and scoring a free. This was then added to by Joseph Dunne who calmly claimed two marks to keep the momentum moving their way. Things then began to ramp up, a continued period of pressure saw Knockbeg net minder Oisin Ramsbottom called into action for the first time. Ramsbottom pulled off two spectacular saves in quick succession only to see the ensuing goal mouth scramble result in a goal for Patrician. This brought them right back into the game, two more points in quick succession meant that once again there was only a solitary score between the sides. Nash then stepped up again to slot over the equaliser and complete a most unlikely comeback. Another of their substitutes Cian Byrne popped over what looked all set to be a winning score.
Knockbeg however, had not read this script. They claimed a foothold around midfield once again with Aodhán Lowry and Conall Bergin pulling the strings. This ensuing pressure resulted in Jack Byrne picking the ball up on the wing inside the 14 yard line. From here Byrne launched the equaliser with the outside of the boot for a breath taking score. Knockbeg won the resulting kick out and found the ever dangerous Oisin Hooney who fired them into the lead once more. Colin Dunnne then finished the day as he started, calmly slotting over a placed ball to give the Carlow side a two point victory.
There were many stand out performers on both sides with Hooney, Byrne and the classy Dunne proving difficult for Newbridge to handle throughout. On the Kildare side Kevin Crowley was towering at midfield and Ryan Behan O’Shea looked a talent that you could build a team around. This surely won’t be the last say they have in this years competition. If the first game of Round 1 is anything to go by we are sure to be in for an exciting Br Bosco Cup.
KNOCKBEG: Oisin Ramsbottom (Timahoe); Michael Wall (Arles-Killeen), Adam Delaney (St Joseph’s), Fergus Langton (Barrowhouse); Jesse McEvoy (Ballylinan), Tomas Byrne (St Joseph’s), Oisin Nolan (Castledermot), Kyle Nolan (Eire Og), Aodhan Lowry (Arles-Kilcruise); Conan Bergin (Grange), Oisin Hooney (St Joseph’s), Jack Byrne (Graiguecullen), Ben Slattery (Arles-Kilcruise), Colin Dunne (Arles-Killeen), Cillian Maher (Stradbally) Subs: Jamie Conway (Arles-Kilcruise) for Langton (35), Oran O’Callaghan (Coolkenno) for Wall (45)
NEWBRIDGE: Cathal Moore (Sarsfields); Tom Stapleton (Miltown), Mark O’Connor (Sarsfields), Kody Pringle (Moorefield); Sean Browne (Suncroft), Padraig Daly (Round Towers), Mikey Troy (Suncroft); Kevin Crowley (Suncroft), Aaron Walker (Miltown); Graham Cregoe (Sarsfields), Niall Costigan (Sarsfields), Ryan Kearney (Sarsfields); Ryan Behan-O’Shea (Suncroft), Joseph Dunne (Milltown), Jack Mahon (Sarsfields). Subs: James Loughman (Sarsfields) for Stapleton (35), Sam Ryan (Moorefield) for Mahon (40), Cian Byrne (Sarsfields) for Costogan (50)
Referee: Darren Bracken (Portarlington)