Passage U15 Gaelic Footballers Clinch Championship Victory with Epic Comeback

Passage 4-7 Ballinora 2-10

Our U15 football team achieved a historic victory last Saturday afternoon in Bishopstown, cementing 2023 as one of the most successful years for the club’s under-age section. In a stunning display of determination and skill, our young footballers staged a dramatic comeback, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to claim the championship trophy to add to the hurling championship already won a few weeks ago. In what can only be described as an exhilarating contest, Passage found themselves on the verge of defeat as the clock ticked down in the final stages of the match. However, adversity only fueled their spirit and inspired a remarkable turnaround.

With the opposition seemingly in control, Passage showed great resilience, rallying together to unleash a flurry of attacks in the closing minutes. Despite facing a formidable opponent, they demonstrated unwavering determination and a refusal to accept defeat. The turning point came when Passage orchestrated a stunning scoring return of two well-executed goals and two points in the closing five minutes The spectators were left spellbound as the team turned the game on its head, transforming the scoreline and propelling themselves into the lead. This breathtaking display of skill, teamwork, and unwavering belief in their abilities showcased the incredible talent and determination possessed by these young Passage players. Their remarkable performance serves as a testament to the quality of coaching and the hard work put in by the players themselves.

The triumphant victory in the championship will be etched in the history books of the Passage Gaelic Football Club, marking 2023 as a standout year for underage football. The club’s continued success at this level serves as an inspiration to future generations of aspiring footballers and hurlers, instilling in them the belief that anything is possible with dedication and a never-give-up attitude. As the celebrations erupted on the field, the joy and elation on the faces of the Passage U15 football team were a reflection of the immense effort they had poured into their training sessions and the desire to succeed. Their achievement will be celebrated not only by the club but also by all the supporters present, who will undoubtedly cherish this memorable victory for years to come.

Ballinora despite playing against the strong wind, opened the scoring in the first minute after they worked the ball through the Passage defence. Tomas O’Flaherty immediately but his shot was blocked down by a Ballinora defender and went out for a 45. Sean Coughlan failed to convert the kick and Ballinora broke up the field and fired over their second point of the afternoon. Callum Griffin made two important interceptions in the next passage of play that helped keep Ballinora away from the Passage goal. Ballinora were on top and had a point effort fall short into the hands of Passage goalkeeper Diarmuid Buckley. Passage counter-attacked and Philip Heavey was unlucky that the Ballinora full-back managed to block down his shot. Ballinora immediately broke down the field and their half-forward won a free after he was fouled, luckily for Passage, the Ballinora free-taker’s shot hit the crossbar and fullback Shane Whyte managed to clear the ball out of danger. Ballinora managed to win the ball back and they again ran through the Passage defence to score their third point of the game after 10 minutes. Passage like so many times this year refused to yield and slowly came into the game more. Against the run of play, Zac Hanlon caught a great ball and hand-passed the ball to the lightning-quick forward Eoin Morrisson. Eoin fired an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net to level the game. Within 30 seconds Philip Heavey scored another great goal to give Passage the lead for the first time. Ballinora regrouped and scored 1-2 in the next few minutes to regain the lead. They could have scored two more goals only for a brilliant save from Diarmuid Buckley and a last-minute block from centre-back Callum Griffin.

Oisin O’Sullivan and Tom McCarthy started to win more balls in the middle of the park. The Passage half-forwards Tomas O’Flaherty, Sean O’Regan and Sean Coughlan started to dominate their area and Sean Coughlan kicked 3 points coming up to the half-time break. Zac Hanlon was unlucky with a goal effort that went inches wide after Alex Maher had made a great clearance moments earlier. The halftime score Passage 2-3 Ballinora 1-6. Mark Barry was the only change made at halftime for the Passage team. Ballinora got the second half off to a flyer scoring 1-2 in the first few minutes. The Passage defence of Ollie O’Neill, Shane Whyte, Alex Maher, Sean Cash, Jack Mc Mahon and Callum slowly started to come to grips with the Ballinora running game. This helped the forwards to start creating more chances. Sean Coughlan hit the post from a free won by Mark Barry and he also had an effort saved by the Ballinora keeper. Philip Heavey who had an excellent second half fired over a long-range point to narrow the lead. The next five minutes saw three goal chances for Ballinora thankfully going inches wide. It wasn’t all one-way traffic Zac Hanlon had a goal effort saved by the Ballinora keeper. Callum Griffin scored a point after a well-worked move involving several Passage players. Ballinora replied with two quick points of their own to leave Passage 5 points down with only five minutes on the clock. In a finish for the ages, Zac Hanlon and Sean Coughlan scored two quick goals and Philip Heavey kicked two great points to give Passage a three-point win and the U15 Championship double.

What a group of players, they never know when they will be beaten and hopefully they can continue this in their County campaign against Clonakilty. Congratulations to all the players and management team. Special call out to Aidan O’Connor who was injured at the last minute, he played his part in getting the team to the final. Also playing their part were the subs on the day who didn’t get game time on the day but played most of the games during the year Tom Kileen, Eoghan O’Bryne Zac Lenihan. Call out to the U13 players who played some of the games earlier in the summer also.

Team: Diarmuid Buckley, Alex Maher, Shane Whyte, Ollie O’Neill, Jack Mc Mahon, Callum Griffin (capt), Sean Cash, Oisin O’Sullivan, Tom Mc Carthy, Tomas O’Flaherty, Sean O’Regan, Sean Coughlan, Eoin Morrisson, Zac Hanlon, Philip Heavey.

Sub Used: Mark Barry

Scorers for Passage: Sean Coughlan 1-3, Philip 1-3, Eoin Morrisson 1-0, Zac Hanlon 1-0. Callum Griffin 0-1