Congratulations to the Under 14 players and management team on winning the 2012 Derry Feile na nOg today beating Kilrea 1-4 to 1-3.
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Dungiven Claim First Feile Title With Last Gasp Goal
(Report by Seamus Mullan)
Dungiven staged the’ smash and grab’ raid to equally any in the history of Feile final encounters when, with the stopwatch showing fifteen minutes, they mounted a last sortie into Kilrea territory from a kick out.
Moments later Feargal Higgins must have had a momentary vision of Kilrea keeper Shea McTaggart dashing Dungiven’s hopes of a winning goal as the ball headed towards the keeper on the goal line.
Then full forward Niall Johnston, obviously believing that the ball was destined for the net, came flying across the face of the goal, with outstretched hand seeking the ball, as it arrowed goalwards, almost in slow motion!
Hand and ball collided, keeper McTaggart and Johnston on the ground, ball now resting snugly and dramatically in the back of the net.
The Kilrea players, particularly the latter two, were understandably distraught, at the unexpected turn of events, Dungiven ecstatic at the goal.
But there was still time to defend and attack, the Feile title not yet destined for Dungiven or beyond the reach of Kilrea.
However just when cool heads and focussed minds were needed, Dungiven saw out the last couple of minutes with composure and steely defence.
Unfortunately for Kilrea there was panic when cool heads were needed and some lost their composure when it was most needed.
There may not have been a lot of scores to cheer the partisan fans, or the neutrals who came along to Celtic Park on Monday afternoon, but the quality of outfield play and the closeness of the exchanges made for an absorbing clash that was in extreme doubt until the referee signalled the final whistle as tensions rose and tempers frayed.
It was a game full of drama, with the final moments of each half bringing the two goals. Kilrea got the first to break the deadlock of an enthralling game at 1-02 to 0-02.
The after ten minutes of end to end football, but without a single score, there began five minutes, of mayhem at times, of costly indiscipline and in the final minute a freakish goal that gave Dungiven their first ever Feile football title.
The game was still in the opening sixty seconds when Fergal Higgins collected the ball from a Pauric McNicholl free and popped over the first point.
In the 5th minute Kilrea had the first of two goal chances that were spurned. Paddy Quigg put Niall Johnston through on goal but Dungiven keeper Eamon McLaughlin made a superb close range save to turn the goal bound shot away.
A minute later Johnston raced clear but this time his blistering shot went the wrong side of the post for another wasted goal chance.
Dungiven did have the ball in the net twice in the next few minutes but both were correctly ruled out, for a side ine free to be retaken, and a pick off the ground before the goal was scored.
After eleven minutes Paddy Quigg levelled the score, Oran McAteer putting the Pearses ahead two minutes later.
Fergal Higgins tied the scores in the 15th minute from a free when Cormac McCartney was fouled but added time brought the only major of the first half.
Conor Gillen made a great catch on a kick out, Ruairi McCamphill then playing the ball down the right to Eoin McGuigan who delivered a pinpoint cross to the goalmouth. Sean McAleese fielded cleanly and turned quickly to blast the ball to the roof of the net for q 1-02 to 0-02 interval lead.
Early in the second half Odhran McKeever made a timely block to divert the ball for a ‘45’ from a close range Gillen shot.
For ten minutes play ebbed and flowed, with thrust and counterthrust the order of play as the respective defence played magnificently. In one Kilrea attacking sequence Johnston and Gillen had close-range shots blocked before Quigg was pressurised into shooting wide.
Fearghal Higgins pointed a free to close the gap to two points but Paddy Quigg responded for 1-03 to 0-03 with thre minutes of normal time remaining.
Odhran McKeever was fouled and Feargal Higgins landed the free with play now in the final minute.
Then came the final act that had the drama of a Greek tragedy mixed with twist of a Hitchcock film!
Ronan Mullan won possession from the kick out, Kevin Quinn joining him as the ball was relayed forward to Seamus Higgins on the right.
Niall Smith then cut through the middle and found Feargal Higgins in a crowded goalmouth. The centre forward got off his shot and for a moment keeper Shea McTaggart looked to have the head high effort covered.
Out of nowhere came Niall Johnston within an upward dive to try and stop the ball going towards the net.
Unfortunately he only succeeded in diverting the ball away from the keeper and high up into the roof of the net.
The final couple of minutes saw Dungiven defend resolutely as Kilrea tried to get an equalising score in vain.
Dungiven captain Pauric McNicholl accepted the ‘A’ Feile Cup from Cloane Construction representative Conleth Moran.
The Dungiven scorers were Feargal Higgins 1-04, 0-03 frees
The Kilrea scorers were Sean McAleese 1-00, Paddy Quigg 0-02 and Oran McAteer
Eamon McLaughlin; Kevin Quinn, Conor Kelly, Sean McKeever; Ronan Mullan, Odhran McKeever, Niall Smith; Steven Tracey, Pauric McNicholl, Seamus Higgins, Feargal Higgins, Conan Feeny; Seamus McCloskey, John Mullan, Cormac McCartney
Shea McTaggart; Jack O’Connell, Gearoid McLaughlin, Tiaranan Quigg; Peadar McLaughlin, Ruairi McCamphill; Niall McFerran; Sean McAleese, Dara Rocks; Larry Kielt, Conor Gillen, Oran McAteer; Paddy Quigg, Niall Johnston, Eoin McGuigan
Photos Provided by Tony Connolly
Under 14 Panel 2012