Match Reports – The Leeside League, Round 1

The Leeside League kicked off in fashionable style in Tramore Valley Park, Ireland last Wednesday night. Stephen O’Sullivan has compiled the best of the action from round one.

Lions v Suns

In their debut game, the Kerry Suns were assigned a formidable task of facing last years winners, the Lions. But not ones to shy away from a challenge, the Suns flew out of the traps and got their noses in front within the first two minutes – Cathal Curran kicking their first ever goal after a strong mark. Lions quickly replied with Darren O’Dwyer grabbing his first for the evening, quickly followed by Dapper O’Connell with a peach of an effort from play. Very little space was being given by either team, with the backs from both sides dominating the rest of the half, Steve McCarron marshalling the Suns from the back and Eoin O’Neill likewise for the Lions.

The Sherrin seemed to stick around the mids for long periods of the second half, only really opening up towards the tail end. Cian O’Mahoney extended the Lions lead with a well-worked goal, and Conor Nyhan moved up from the backs to kick another Lions goal on his first day out. The game finished with a flurry when Ian Sull and Steve McCarron goaled to leave just one between them, before Darren O’Dwyer kicked the final Lions goal to finish off an impressive start for the holders.

Credit to the Kerry Suns for travelling up to Cork mid-week and competing with such intensity, it was great to see and we look forward to more. A few big names to return from the Kingdom, and the final round being played down in Killarney, no doubt they’ll have a big say in matters yet!

Final Score: Leeside Lions  5 goals (30) to Kerry Suns  3 goals (18).

Leading men’s goal kickers after round one.

Crusaders v Vikings

We were treated to an exhibition of all that is good about footy from our women’s teams; goals, marks, tackles, smothers… All were on display here as both teams pitted themselves against one another in the first of a three game series.

Vikings were the first to strike with two goals in quick succession from Shannon Stevenson, followed by another from Sarah O’Donovan, as they showed no signs of letting up. The Crusaders, to their credit, battled hard and peppered the goal with shots, but the ‘’in-house-rule’’ of goals only and no behinds meant their accuracy was tested. Mary Hurley pulled one back for Crusaders but Maria Quirke kicked two from midfield – one a monster from 40m – and Sarah O’Donovan furthered her tally to give the Vikings a healthy lead at the break.

Leading women’s goal kickers after round one.

After some choice words from Bláthnaid Wiseman at half-time, and a few positional changes, the Crusaders came out fighting in the second half, lead by Annie Walsh covering every blade of grass available – and kicking three majors in the process – and CJ Murphy capitalising on her own ruck-work to score a great individual goal. Not to be outdone, Shannon Stevenson added two more to her tally, split by another Maria Quirke goal, to maintain the Vikings dominance.

The game finished with a Vikings win after a dominant first half display, but with the Crusaders winning the second half, this series is far from over. It’s anyone’s call who will be crowned Leeside League champions in two-weeks time. Both teams left the field to a guard of honour and round of applause from the men’s teams, in recognition of The Leeside League’s first ever women’s game.

Final Score: Vikings 12 goals (72) to Crusaders 6 goals (36).

Women’s standings after round one.

Bombers v Saints

‘’Hotly contested’’ or ‘’in the balance’’ call it what you will, this game was amazing – with just the right amount of bite! When these two teams meet, it’s rarely a one-sided affair, and this was no different as there was never more than a score between the teams. Bombers piled on the pressure and seemed to be getting to grips in around the mids, but again the accuracy required in this league was telling. For all their forward pressure, only two goals were recorded – both from the boot of Steve McCarron. But the pick of the goals was an individual effort from Alan Daly, selling candy not once but twice before unleashing a shot on the run which crept inside the near post for The Saints’ first goal. Brian O’Shea scored twice to put the Saints in front at half time and both teams took a welcome break after what was a toughly fought half of football.

Cian O’Mahony and Cathal Curran traded goals in the second half, before Steve kicked his third to level the game. Harry ‘Spider’ Hynes kicked the Bombers in front and they looked to be in the ascendency when, against the run of play, Andrew O’Neill kicked a monster from the wing to level it up again. With less than a minute to play, Paul Murphy found himself with a set shot to the right of the posts, and kicked the winning goal for the Saints.

It was the pick of the games, and the talent on display was noticed by a few Lions old boys looking on. Safe to say, the future is bright here on Leeside.

Final Score: Bombers 5 goals (30) Saints 6 goals (36).

Men’s standings after round one.

For more information, head to the AFL Ireland website here.

Credit: Eoin O’Sullivan (Match Reports) , Ian O’Sullivan (Graphics).

If you would like to get involved and contribute to AFL Europe as a County Reporter, please contact your local AFL league president.

Stephen O’Sullivan – Reporter for Ireland