St. Colmcilles 2-11 Skryne 0-16

Despite a resurgent second half which saw Skryne turn a five-point half-time deficit into a two-point injury-time lead, a David Bell goal 4 minutes into injury time was to cruelly condemn Skryne to a second defeat in Group A. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Skryne as they had done enough in the two earlier rounds to ensure they progressed to the quarter-finals with a superior score difference as they finished level on points with both St.Colmcilles and Seneschalstown(who were beaten by Wolfe Tones in Navan) who all managed to win a game a piece in the group stages leaving all three teams with two points each. Skryne had a score difference of 0, while St. Colmcilles had a -11 score difference and Seneschalstown had a -13.

After a weekend of rain, the sun finally broke through this morning and the pitch in St’ Pats was dry underfoot. The wind was a factor in the game blowing straight down the pitch from the town end. Skryne played into the breeze in the first half and saw at least four pointed efforts dropping short as a result of the wind. Star corner forward David Bell opened the scoring for Colmcilles with 2 and half minutes on the clock.

Skryne despite the wind, were bossing the play and Harry Rooney, who had combined well with Darragh Campion and Eoin Smyth before finding space inside the Cilles penalty area, was unlucky to see his shot at goal blocked away in the 6th minute. Shaun Leonard added a second point for Cilles, when he won the ball on the right-hand side, turned and fired over. Skryne finally got a reward for their pressure in the 10th minute when that man Harry Rooney got forward again, received the pass from Eoin Smyth and tapped over. two pointed frees from Niall Finnerty after good work from Conor O’Brien and Darragh Campion, saw Skryne take the lead on the quarter-hour mark. David Bell levelled matters with a pointed free before Harry Rooney managed to break through on the Colmcilles goal again. His shot blazed over the bar much to the relief of the Cilles. James Conlon opened his account 22 minutes in with a fine point.

Harry Rooney who was causing all sorts of problems for Cilles, won a free a minute later, which was slotted over by Niall Finnerty to edge Skryne ahead again. Cilles hit three points on the bounce, two from David Bell(1 free) and one from James Conlon to move two points clear as half-time approached.

On the stroke of half-time, Skryne were caught flat-footed. Eoghan Greene had blocked a James Conlon pass superbly over on the right-hand sideline and the ball went out for a sideline ball to Cilles. They took the kick quickly finding Jeff Kavanagh in front of the Skryne goal. Kavanagh hit a powerful shot to the back of the Skryne net to give Colmcilles a five-point lead at half time St. Colmcilles 1-07, Skryne 0-05

Skryne brought in Mark Battersby at half-time to inject a bigger threat up front. His 4 points were to prove crucial as Skryne chased the game in the second half. Skryne came out in a much more determined mood in the second half and opened the scoring with a fine point from Paddy Fox. Ian Gillett who had an excellent game in the Skryne goals saved superbly from Jeff Kavanagh 2 minutes into the half. Kavanagh broke through on goals and fired low to the left of the goal but Gillet stuck out his right foot and deflected the ball away to safety.

Skryne pressed forward again and after two missed chances, they finally added their second point of the half a Niall Finnerty free with 5 minutes on the clock. Both sides were again guilty of missing chances and the scoreboard keeper wasn’t troubled again until the 13th minute when Mark Battersby opened his account with a pointed free.

Cilles immediately responded with David Bell hitting a lovely point with the outside of his boot. James Conlon added another to see Cilles move four points clear as the game entered the final quarter.

Skryne rallied in the final quarter and hit five points(Patrick Fox, Niall Finnerty, Oisín Keogh and Mark Battersby 2 pts(1 free)) without a reply to move into the lead with 5 minutes of normal time remaining. Graham Reilly levelled matters again in the exciting finale. Ian Gillett again came to Skryne’s rescue with another fine save to deny Cilles a goal. As the game moved into injury time, Mark Battersby pointed a monster free from the left-hand side to edge Skryne ahead. Skryne won the kick-out and sent the ball into Niall Finnerty in the right-hand corner. Finnerty moved inside and swung a curling effort over the bar from a tight angle giving Skryne a two-point lead 4 minutes into added time and what looked to be the insurance point.

However, Cilles had other ideas and they moved the ball up the left-hand side before sending a speculative ball across the face of the Skryne goal. David Bell met the ball on the half-volley and his shot found the back of the Skryne net. Suddenly Cilles were ahead with time almost up. Carl Mullan added a point for Cilles. Skryne attacked forward and Niall Finnerty squeezed another point over from the right-hand side.

However, the final whistle followed almost immediately and Skryne were left deflated after letting victory slip from their grasp. However, the loss will have been eased somewhat by the news that they had done enough to progress to the quarter-finals.