[see 2007 Squad Members at bottom of page]
B CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Sunday 16th September St Brigids 2-7 Na Fianna 4-8
CHAMPIONSHIP - Semi Final
Tuesday 28th August Na Fianna 1-14 Naomh Barrog 1-7
The U15s, with a great contribution from the U14s, booked their passage into the final with a good win over Naomh Barrog. Having led 1-8 to 0-2 at half time they allowed Barrogs back into the match in the second half but managed to hang on for a deserved victory. Well done to all who played their part! We look forward to the final with great confidence.
Scorers for NF: Conor Connolly (1-0); Ciaran Hanton (0-1); Danny Flaherty (0-3); Eoin Nicholl (0-7); Sean Og O Laoire (0-1); Liam O'Donnell (0-1)
League Division 1 Na Fianna 1-7 St Vincents 6-16
Not many will want to read this - players or supporters - but here goes, just for the record! Can't really take too many positives out of a match like this. At least the boys know how Scoil Ui Conaill felt just 2 days ago! Then again, you only have to scroll down to the report of our last match against Vincents (on 10 May) to see that this is not exactly a new experience for Na Fianna against our keenest rivals! However it was striking that this defeat came so quickly after the comprehensive win against Scoil Ui Connaill (leaving aside the latter's status as a Div 3 side) - because it made the contrasts all the more vivid. It was like moving from a feast to a famine. Perhaps a better analogy would be two meals: against Scoil Ui Conaill we gorged ourselves on fast food - just like McDonald's - it tasted nice for a short time but it wasn't very nutritious - and against Vincents - we were back on a diet of bread and water - and only the crumbs at that. Fran asked the team the question: what is it about the Vincents' jerseys that makes us play so badly? It does seem as though Na Fianna approach hurling matches against them with a totally different attitude to the way we take on even the likes of Judes and Ballyboden!
As to the match - the general tendency was for Na Fianna to be second to every ball, losing most individual contests - with just a handful of exceptions who stood out all the more because of the way they played - as Fran said: we needn't name them, they know who they are. At half time Vincents led 2-8 to 0-2 and any hopes that they might ease up in the second, or that Na Fianna would at least 'win the second half' were quickly put to bed. The final result was never in doubt but the ruthlessness with which Vincents crushed any hope of resistance was a lesson that our lads should learn. Hopefully in time for the next match - in the Championship next week.
Scorers for Na Fianna: Liam O'Donnell (0-3), Eoin Nicholl (0-3), Zac Lennon (0-1), Conor Baxter (1-0)
CHAMPIONSHIP - QTR final
Sunday 19th August Na Fianna 6-21 Scoil Ui Conaill 1-5
The scoreline is not a misprint or a typo! Na Fianna did rack up their biggest score in living memory for this team, and indeed the comprehensive victory and scoreline didn't flatter the domination they exerted throughout this match. It was a very good team performance and no one needs to be singled out for special praise as everyone played their part and linked up well with their teammates extremely well. Having said, that we could highlight the contribution of Liam O'Donnell who was on fire in the first half scoring 1-2, Eoin Nicholl (continuing his Henry Sheflin impersonation) with a personal tally of 0-11, and Sean Burke at the back who seemed to hoover up everything that was sent up to him.
Overall, the positives that the players should take from this match is the confirmation that they are a Division 1 team, and clearly a good side. This was underlined by the way they outclassed Scoil Ui Conaill. However - lest we get carried away - we need to remember that this was a team that only recently moved up from Division 3. To their credit, even though behind by 3-13 to 1-3 at half time, the opposition never dropped their heads and kept plugging away until the end.
So take a bow Na Fianna U15s - (and the cohort of U14s with us again) - and enjoy this result. We hope we can continue this form into the semi-final. The next match is a league encounter with St Vincents! (Tuesday 21st) which should be a sterner test and we don't anticipate a repeat of today's scoreline. Scorers today (nearly ran out of ink in my pen!) = Billy Shanahan (1-2), Liam O'Donnell (1-2), Eoin Nicholl (0-11), Thomas Connell (1-1), Daniel Flaherty (1-1), Kevin Reilly (0-1), Sean Burke (0-1), Sean Og O Laoire (1-0), Sean Gray (1-0), Zac Lennon (0-1), Eoin Maleady (0-1).
[ PR 19/8/07 ]
League Division 1
Tuesday 14th August Na Fianna 1-5 Kilmacud Crokes 0-5
We can see a couple of immediate similarities with our last match (see below) on June 19 - Na Fianna registered the same score as on the last occasion; and the weather was equally as brutal. However through that mist of grey water that is the Irish summer of 2007, we observe a small ray of sunshine - and not just because this time the contest was won. No, we can credit the lads with a terrific performance in deplorable conditions that were closer to the requirements for water polo than hurling. Na Fianna led at half-time lead of 0-3 to 0-2 - points from Eoin Nicholl (2), and -(as I thought through my misted up glasses )- Sean Og O'Laoire but he honestly denied it - will the mystery scorer please identify himself for the record? This narrow lead was augmented by a further point and a slightly controversial (but well taken) goal from Eoin Nicholl (his personal tally was 1-3) and a great final point from Kevin Aughney to seal an overall fine performance by Na Fianna. They deserved the points because of their tenacious refusal to lie down when Crokes came at them in the second half. Several players played starring roles - take a bow Conor McCarville for an outstanding job in defence, no wonder we could release Eoin Nicholl from there to do his Henry Sheflin impersonation. Billy Shanahan battled away in spite of falling foul of the close attentions of some opponents, (and the referee's notebook) and still he came back for more. We saw very composed goalkeeping by Casso which surely gave the resolute backs extra confidence. All in all we were proud of all the boys wearing soggy yellow shirts in Vincents this evening. Well done, and special thanks again to the great lads from the U14s who gave us their support again today, and brought with them a lot of style and effort to help us get this much needed victory.
Tuesday 19th June Erin's Isle 2-11 Na Fianna 1-5
Although we succumbed to another defeat since the last one by Vincents (see below) - this time to our other local rivals in Finglas - in spite the drenching players and supporters received on a dreadful evening's weather, some bright spots could be wrung out of it. These few rays of light were as follows:
1.) Despite losing our early first goal (a wonderful opportunist strike by Daniel Flaherty) to an Isles' comeback which then saw them scoring without reply to lead 1-5 to 1-0 in about 10 minutes - and then looking as though we were in for a hiding as well as a drowning - our lads did not give it up and battled the torrential conditions as well as the more aggressive play from their opponents to keep themselves still in the game at half-time, 2-7 to 1-2 (further points taken by Niall McGovern and Adam Caffrey).
2.) Although 8 points down they refused to lie down and played with greater determination and effort in the second half. 3 more points were added by Zac Lennon and Billy Shanahan (2) and although the generally stronger Erin's Isle clipped on a few more points, Na Fianna could hold their heads up at the end of the match.
The mentor's analyis was that we were not so far away from this Erin's Isle team - but as well as needing to progress to match them for their overall skill levels, we need to match such teams in terms of their physical challenge. We thank the 3 U-14s (Conor Connolly, Daniel Flaherty and Eoin Maleady) for their contribution to the game.
Let's look forward to better, drier hurling days in future! Summer huh?!
Thursday 10th May St Vincents 6-7 Na Fianna 1-5
Yes, sadly the scoreline doesn't lie. This was a comprehensive defeat for Na Fianna U15s, and even more so because it's a step backwards after our very good victory against Lucan a few days ago (see report below) - a team, we understand, who had also managed to beat Vincents! Such are the vagaries of sporting contests. The facts of this match is that Na Fianna were thoroughly beaten in many different areas, outfought, outthought and outscored. We could look to a few instances of 'bad luck' - (but this is perhaps the last refuge of losers) - where the game turned against possible Na Fianna revivals. The team went two or three points down to St Vincents before responding - and this came with a fine point from play from Adam Caffrey which announced Na Fianna's arrival in the game. This clearly perked up the team overall only for us to succumb to a goal from Vincents which returned the momentum to them. Trailing by six points Eoin Nichol was switched to full forward and obliged with a great goal to bring Na Fianna again back into the game. However the impressive midfield and forward line of Vincents took advantage of their general dominance of the play and tacked on further scores, including, two more well crafted goals. Na Fianna bravely continued to battle away and responded with another point - from Ciaran Hanton - before the break, but trailed at half time by nine points: 3-5 to 1-2. The mentors spoke to the team about the failure of many of the players to stand up to their opponents, and not to allow them to claim the ball unchallenged, as it had looked many times in the first half. This had the desired effect of a much greater effort and refusal to lie down by the team, and they should be commended for this. Again, having scored the first point of the second period - from Zac Lennon - they immediately fell to another goal from Vins. The pattern of play set in the first half continued - Vins outscoring Na Fianna but at least not having as free a run through the field has they had done. Further points for Na Fianna were scored by Conor Hanlon and Kevin Reilly but they were surely only consolation efforts. The positives we might pick out from this match? Good efforts up front - especially from some of the substitutes e.g. Sean Og O'Laoire, Conor Hanlon, who had a few good attempts at goal foiled by the generally excellent Vincents' goalie. There were tremendous defensive displays by Sean Burke, Jack Donohue, and Kevin Aughney. The 'never say die' attitude from Andy Kelly, ditto Conor McCarville, and Alan Fitzgerald seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, giving his all - as always. This surely gives us hope for the games ahead.
Sunday 6th May Na Fianna 3-10 Lucan Sarsfields 1-2
The mentors spoke about the display of our team in the last match against St Judes (see below 15 April) which, although was lost, can be clearly seen to have sown the seeds of self-belief and pride among the players of Na Fianna. That is one clear linkage we can make between that game 3 weeks ago and the one witnessed today. Otherwise you might be deceived into thinking that this was a completely new team taking to the pitch against Lucan. There have been some fairly close contests held betwen these two teams in recent years and, but for Na Fianna pulling away towards the end of the second half, this one was little different. We saw some terrific hurling from both sides and great battling performances from beginning to end. Na Fianna took the opportunity of the slight wind advantage in the first half and with well taken points from Zac Lennon (3), Adam Caffrey, Kevin Reilly, Niall McGovern, Eoin Nicholl and a goal from Kevin Reilly, led 1-7 to 0-1 at the break. We had a slight concern that this 9 point lead would be whittled away by a determined Lucan in the second half, taking their chance with the wind on their backs. This is when our backs showed equal if not greater determination and for a long spell of the game, Na Fianna eqalled Lucan's only additional point and goal (it must be said this was a fairly softly conceded goal - a lapse of concentration when we saw 3 Lucan players unmarked in front of Eoin Cassidy's goal) with a further goal from Daniel Flaherty and a point from Ciaran Hanton. The resolute defending from 'Casso' outwards through the midfield eventually saw opportunities come the way again of the forwards and further points for Kevin Reilly and Niall McGovern gave us a comfortable margin going into the final stages but the the icing on the cake came when Billy Shanahan ran through to score a wonderful goal to put the result beyond doubt. It was a goal worthy of a memorable team effort all around, and should we be inclined to select a man of the match (which we're not) we would have 8 or 9 contenders on today's performance. Well done Na Fianna and here's wishing you repeat the display next week against Vinnie's.
Sunday 15th April Na Fianna 0-5 St Judes 1-13
A gallant display from Na Fianna couldn't prevent this defeat to a very strong Judes team and yet, as the final result indicates, compared with the previous outing against Ballyboden, this was a much improved performance all around. At the turnaround Na Fianna were down just 5 points, helped by a plethora of wides made by St Judes it must be added. Indeed in spite of their general dominance, Judes were still only a few points up and it took a soft goal to rather flatter the scoreline 0-3 to 1-5 in their favour at the break. Our team's scores came from a couple of well taken points from play from Kevin Reilly and Billy Shanahan respectively and a further free from Billy which kept Na Fianna in the game. It was notable that the last 10 minutes of the half saw a greater effort and effect from the lads in yellow shirts, and the mentors called for more of that attitude in the second half. 'We showed them far too much respect' said Frank, and who could argue - by standing off and not closing down their players, we made a good team - which Judes certainly are - look much better than they really are. Instead, by getting stuck in, hassling them, pulling in the air and on the ground, we began to shake their overall sense of superiority. Although Na Fianna came back on to the field determined to continue their disruptive work, it was soon clear that the boys from Templeogue also had some of their own mentors' words ringing in their ears about not allowing us back into the game, because they tore into our lads with a vengeance, clipping over two quick points and threatening to pull away. Nevertheless the Na Fianna team showed their character and battled away against seemingly impossible odds. So effective were the Na Fianna tactics that sadly one of the Judes lads lost his discipline and was red carded. Na Fianna pulled back two points from frees taken by Zac Lennon but the Judes team still had enough to maintain their overall advantage and to win the game. The players know that they lost the match but they won back a lot of pride with this performance and give us hope for further progress in the games we have ahead of us in this division.
Sunday 25th March Na Fianna 0-9 Ballyboden St Enda's 4-17
The scoreline tells us that Na Fianna were comprehensively beaten by a superior Ballyboden team but doesn't really tell the complete story. While they certainly deserved to win, and probably win fairly comfortably, it would be fair to say that they were flattered to beat us by such a resounding number of points. The mentors commented at the end of the match about the amount of space and time Na Fianna had afforded their opponents as this was lamentably all too obvious to see. Bodens seemed to be quicker to the breakdown, caught balls in the air without being contested, had a better first touch, and didn't waste their scoring opportunities – with a very clinical scoring ratio, compared to the number of wides Na Fianna were guilty of. We can argue that our lads were 'ring rusty' having not had a competitive hurling match for a number of months, and that the friendly played (against Ballyhale Shamrocks U14s) last weekend, was just a little too friendly, and the easy victory set a feeling of complacency in the camp. However, playing against one of the strongest teams in this division provided our lads with a cruel lesson in not having the right attitude or preparation for a match. In the post-mortem at the end of this lesson, the mentors called for each member of the team to make a commitment to take training and match preparation more seriously and this to a man they promised to do.
The positives to be taken from this match? Good performances from Eoin Cassidy in goal, (but for him the scoreline would have been a lot worse), ditto Sean Burke at full back, great efforts from Alan Fitzgerald and Andy Kelly, some skillful play (and a great point) from Ciaran Hanton, untiring efforts and aggression from Conor McCarville in the forward line. The overall 'benefit' which we hope the team can take from a beating like this is the truth reiterated by the mentors – Ballyboden are not that much a better team than Na Fianna. As things stand, they are better organised, have some extremely good players, but so do we. A key difference is that at present, they seem to have a better attitude in terms of their whole approach to playing.
Scorers today: first half points from Andy Kelly(2) Ciaran Hanton and Zac Lennon (which left a half time deficit of 0-4 to 0-11) – Na Fianna it could be argued were still in the match at that stage. Second half scorers: Zac and Andy put over further points, as did Niall McGovern, Eoin Nicholl, and Adam Caffrey. Another positive = good variety of different players willing to try to put the ball between the posts! Thanks again to the two lads from the U14s - Daniel Flaherty and James Garry who turned out for us and got on towards the end.
As was stated, let's work towards giving Ballyboden a surprise if and when we meet them in the championship!
Welcome to new mentors for the U15s - Fran Cullen, Frank Foley and Stephen Fitzgerald, and best wishes to them in guiding the team forward in the new season. Na Fianna more than held their own in Division 1 last year and we look forward to them making progress in 2007. Our thanks to all the mentors from last year - Liam, Dick, Ernie, Peadar, Michael - and all the parents who supported the team in so many ways.
SQUAD DETAILS 2007 (In alphabetical order)
AUGHNEY, KEVIN ~ BAXTER, CONOR ~ BURKE, SEAN ~ CAFFREY, ADAM ~ CASSIDY, EOIN ~ CONNELL, THOMAS ~ DONOHUE, JACK ~ FITZGERALD, ALAN ~ HANLON, CONOR ~ HANTON, CIARAN ~ KELLY, ANDY ~ LENNON, ZAK ~ MCCARVILLE, CONOR ~ MCGOVERN, NIALL ~ NICHOL, EOIN ~ O LAOIRE, SEAN OG ~ O'SULLIVAN, EOIN ~ REILLY, KEVIN ~ SHANAHAN, BILLY