U19 LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

Bohemians v St Patrick's Athletic - SSE Airtricity National Under 19 League Final

SSE AIRTRICITY U19 LEAGUE FINAL
Bohemians 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 0

The 2017 League of Ireland u19 season has came to its climax tonight here in Dalymount Park with a Dublin derby of Bohemians vs St. Patrick’s Athletic. The teams faced each other twice so far, this season, both tightly contested affairs with Bohs winning the first meeting 1-0 and St. Pats coming out on top in the second match 3-2, courtesy of a Michael Creggan hattrick.

The Gypsies came into the final as Northern division winners and beat Sligo Rovers 1-0 in their semi-final in a gripping encounter with the Westerners. St. Pat’s, however, come in off the back of a remarkable 7-4 victory over defending champions UCD. At one stage the Inchicore outfit were 5-1 up against the Students, but UCD pulled it back to 5-4 before St. Pat’s but the game to bed with two late goals.

The first half began timidly with both teams feeling each other out. St. Pats, however, got their feel quicker and began to assert themselves in the early going. An freekick from the half way line caused the Bohemians ‘keeper, Kian Clarke, trouble; the ball was floated in and while trying to come and punch the ball away, he miscued his effort and put Bohs on the backfoot but the ball was eventually cleared.

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With St. Pat’s stifling the Gypsies passing game and causing trouble with set pieces, influential Bohs winger Cian McMullen went off injured in the 22nd minute and was replaced by Cian Fay. This move necessitated a tactical rejig, and Jamie Hamilton was moved to the left flank with Daniel Grant moved into the 10 role with Cian Fay deployed as the striker.

The game continued at a ponderous pace throughout the first half with both teams not willing to risk much early on. Saints striker Michael Creggan, presented the away side with the best chance of the half late on. He jinked down the right side of the Bohs defence and drove into the box, his cross somehow evading the Pat’s attackers and was cleared for a corner. The half ended 0-0.

Where the first half began at a crawl, the second half burst into life. Bohemians came out on the front foot and by the 52nd minute had taken the lead. Bohs won the ball back just inside their own half and, on the counter, Jamie Hamilton played a ball over the head of the right fullback for Daniel Grant who then slid the ball into the stride of Cian Fay and he dinked the ball into the box where Steven Nolan slammed the ball into the net. Bohemians instantly began pushing for the second goal, much of the play being orchestrated by Jamie Hamilton who ran the show all night for Bohemians.

A second goal would have been much appreciated for the home side, however, because just after the hour mark defensive lynchpin Warren O’Hora came off injured, replaced by Seán Bregazzi; another key player injured for Bohs. The Saints began to return to life and were turning the screw in their search for the equaliser and had the best chance of the game in the 71st minute. Pat’s goalkeeper, Eric Donnelly, cleared the ball downfield and Jason Grouse picked the ball up and seen Bohemians ‘keeper Kian Clarke miles off his line and caught in no-mans-land.

He rounded Clarke, who desperately tried to foul him, and took aim at goal but the Gypsies fullback, Andy Lyons, heroically stopped the ball from hitting the back of the net. As the game was reaching its climax, Clarke redeemed himself with a string of stunning saves. The first of which from a stinging shot from Michael Creggan that he turned over the bar in the 79th minute, and the second in the 89th, a header from Clinton Apos that was destined for the back of the net but Clarke’s hand came out of nowhere and rescued Bohemians. The breath-taking second half came to a close and Bohemians were crowned League of Ireland u19 champions.

MOTM: Jamie Hamilton

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