It took extra time before Barna minors prevailed in the West Board A Minor League final on Sunday in the Prairie.
Barna had been coasting to victory with an eight-point lead 15 minutes from time, but St Michael’s staged a remarkable comeback that forced the final into extra time.
Barna started the game with points from Tom Curran and Rory McCormack, and with Rory Donnellan excelling at midfield, all the pressure was on the St Michael’s defence. More points from Andy Devery and a great goal from McCormack confirmed Barna’s ascendancy. St Michael’s replied with a couple of points from the influential Shane Maughan for their half-time tally of five points.
The second half started like the first with Barna playing some great football, and after a fine sweeping move covering the full length of the field, Andy Devery pointed to extend Barna’s lead. Points from McCormack and Curran gave their side a comfortable eight-point lead.
However the Barna defence, where James Kennedy and Jamie Concannon were outstanding, was breached when a long ball into the square was fielded by Maughan who turned and crashed the ball past Galway keeper James Kane.
This score ignited the Michael’s team which put Barna on the back foot. Michael’s surged forward to save the game with another goal and two points in a five minute spell, forcing the game into extra time.
Michael’s maintained that momentum in the first half of extra time, but failed to turn that domination into scores. A late reply from Barna left just a one point difference, and in ther second period Barna found their rhythm again. When sub Michael Slemon buried the ball to the back of the net after great work by Neil Devery and Caoimhin O Cualin, and added another point, Barna were back on track to win the game.
Best for Barna were goalkeeper and captain James Kane, Jamie Concannon, James Kennedy and Caoimhin O Cualin in defence, Rory Donnellan and Tom Curran in midfield, while up front Andy Devery, Rory McCormac and Michael Slemon caused a lot of problems for the Michael’s defence.
Michael’s were best served by Shane Maughan at full forward, John Hansbury at full back, David Cunnane and Conor Murphy at midfield, while up front Robert Tormey, Eamon O’Donnell and Alan Keogh never gave up.