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As they say on Sky Sports, (The Unofficial Home of Year 8 Gaelic Football), “UNBELIEVABLE GEOFF!!”

At 4 – 3 to 3 – 5, 8O looked down and out as the ref’s clock ticked well into the last minute of injury time. All 8P had to do was kill the thing for the last few possessions…but they weren’t able to, and 8O claimed the kickout. The ball was somehow worked down the right wing, into the right corner, along the endline, across the square… Jamie McCaffrey has it… some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over… boom! It is now! 8O went absolutely ballistic, running around like cattle let out of a shed as they celebrated a 4 – 5 to 4 – 3 steal! 8O were definitely the underdogs going into this one, fielding minus key player Diarmuid King, but they were possibly best suited to the heavy ground conditions, and were able to dig the ball out of a few situations using that bit of physicality which their more skilful opponents didn’t have.

They actually led 3-3 to 2-3 at half time. The goals came thick and fast early on with Dara McLaughlin for 8P and Finn McAlone for 8O, before Cathaoir Leonard and the effective Aidan Maguire had useful points for 8O. Justin McDade with a good point, and McLaughlin with a goal, put 8P ahead again, only for a crucial two goal burst via Finn McAlone from distance, and Mark Hughes, who was always a handful on the edge of the square. In truth Mark and Oisin McKenna had a great battle all day: the irresistible force meets the immovable object, only in Gaelic football, if you know what I mean… Connor McGovern and the excellent Ruairi Moore had points for 8P before the last score of the half fell to Jamie McCaffrey for 8O with a point.

8P turned the margin round in a matter of minutes, with a super Connor McGovern finish to the bottom corner and a long range Dara McLaughlin goal again! 8O were indebted to ‘keeper Damian Og Kelly for a fine low save to keep the thing tight, plus his kickouts were very good as well. Play was scrappy then, with only a single Eamon Lynam point for 8O, but they were more threatening. Enda McCaughey in goal for 8P was down on his belly to scramble away after a bit of goalmouth pingpong, with Cathaoir Leonard and Matthew Law shaving the 8P goalposts, and hitting the bar as well. As the play entered the final few minutes, Lynam brought the margin down to a point, as the ref called two minutes. Despite a super closing spell from Justin McDade, 8P just couldn’t get it up the pitch, and eventually 8O turned it in a dramatic final play!

Cathaoir Leonard showed great leadership for 8O, and Eamon Lynam’s two points in the second half proved very useful. Damian Og Kelly, Oisin Mag Uidhir, Dylan Martin and Aidan Maguire all typified their hardworking attitude, while Mark Hughes and Jamie McCaffrey delivered the goods up front along with Finn McAlone. For 8P, they will feel very disappointed at having come in as favourites, only to be ambushed by 8O. The likes of Justin McDade and Connor McGovern have had excellent matches all through the league, Eoin McKervey had some good spells as well. But the heavy conditions meant that they couldn’t get the freedom to play as effectively as they will on other days. Ruairi Moore, who grafted hard throughout, and Oisin McKenna were possibly their best players on the day.

Mr Rasdale has installed 8P as favourites for the Year 8 Gaelic Football title on Sports Day. It’s going to be the battle of the giants for sure!

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