Futsal - Match Day 3   05/01/2018




Thursday 4th January 2018 was Group B in the Breffni Rowan Shield competition with the last two places in next weeks’ Grand Finals up for grabs.

Another big crowd turned up in the Count John McCormack Hall in Athlone Institute of Technology and they were treated to another wonderful nights’ fantastic FUTSAL.

St. Francis Lions roared into the Grand Finals becoming the first team in ADSL FUTSAL 2018 to top their Group with a 100% winning record and almost had the perfect record, blemished only by the concession of a single goal all night.

Behind them AC Celtic Rebels finished second with three wins from their four games to also qualify for next weeks’ Shield Finals.

Those are the bare facts. Here are the meaty details.

St. Francis Lions were quick out of the blocks in Game 1 with an opening 2-0 win over the St. Josephs Reds. Shane Wheatley scored the first goal of the night for the Lions and a second goal from Lorcan McCormack sealed the points and the best possible start and to set down a firm marker.

Game 2 was a cracker.

AC Celtic Rebels looked in control even if it took a while to break down a resolute Ballinasloe Pumas. A good Matthew Lynch goal put AC on their way and this seemed enough to secure the win until an amazing last 10 seconds.

We were in the countdown when a James Reynolds goal seemed to salvage a draw for the Pumas. But in the last few seconds AC attacked again with Matthew Lynch scoring an incredible goal with just two seconds on the clock! Amazing stuff! This is what makes FUTSAL the event that it is. Amazing!

Game 3 was the St. Francis derby. The pundits reckoned there was a good chance of a St. Francis win! Those pundits are wise and wordly sages!

 And do you know what? They were right!

The St. Francis Lions had to work hard for their 2-0 win over the St. Francis Tigers. They had the same two goal scorers as in their first outing but this time Lorcan McCormack hit the net first with Shane Wheatley adding the insurance goal for another win, another three points and another clean sheet for the Lions! Looking good!

AC Celtic Rebels were involved in another cracker in Game 4. They took the lead against the St. Josephs Reds with a Mark Elliot goal. Dylan Rooney equalised for St. Josephs. Luke Duffy then put AC back in front in an end to end contest. In yet another big finish Matthew Lynch gave AC some daylight with his third goal of the night for 3-1 but St. Josephs kept at it and when Charlie Birch pulled one back to make it 3-2 we had a nervy finish and AC were quite happy to hear the 10 second countdown and the final whistle. But it is now two wins from two for AC Celtic.

Game 5 pitted Ballinasloe Pumas against St. Francis Tigers with both sides looking for a first win of the night.

The Tigers took the Pumas. Adam Lennon opened the scoring with a pile driver, scoring into the top corner from his own half. What a goal! Kealan Mullin made it 2-0 scoring at the near post from a corner to win the game and put the Tigers on the board.

Game 6 was the meeting of the two unbeaten sides when St. Francis Lions met the AC Celtic Rebels. This would be the key game of the Group.

St. Francis demonstrated their class with a very good win. Adam Kearney put the Lions in front and Shane Wheatley scored for the third consecutive game for another 2-0 win. This was St. Francis Lions third 2-0 win in as many games. Very clinical. Very efficient. Very good. Very close to the Finals.

Ballinasloe Pumas and St. Josephs Reds played out a super game. St. Josephs had all the early pressure but could find no way past Nabil Patwary in the Pumas goal.

When Ballinasloe created some chances themselves they could find no way past Adam Shine in the Josephs goal making superb saves, one after the other.

Finally Adam was beaten but it took a simply superb strike from Ruth Kilkenny to put the Pumas in front. A second Pumas goal by Brandon Egan in the last few seconds was hard on the Reds but Ballinasloe were very happy with this win.

AC Celtic Rebels and St. Francis Tigers served up a 7 goal thriller in Game 8 which was of crucial importance in deciding who might progress into next Thursday’s Grand Finals.

The Tigers took the first steps with a Kealan Mullin goal for 1-0. Fionn McMahon scored a superb equaliser for AC Celtic. 1-1. Luke Duffy then put AC in front. 2-1. Then Abdul Idris levelled for the Tigers. 2-2. What could happen next?

The answer was Matthew Lynch. He went on to score a fantastic hat-trick first to equalise, then to take the lead, then to secure the win. 5-2 for the AC Celtic Rebels and surely enough to clinch a place in the Grand Finals.

The St. Francis Lions made sure of their place in the Grand Finals with an emphatic 6-1 win over the Ballinasloe Pumas.

Shane Wheatley opened the scoring thus finding the net in every game on the night. Remarkable. Adam Kearney then made it 2-0 and then 3-0 with a quick fire brace. Conor Lough scored a good goal to make it 4-0. Noah Fallon then got one back for the Pumas becoming the only player to score against the rampant Lions all night. Normal service was soon resumed when Lorcan McCormack made it 5-1 and then Tiarnan Mitchell sealed the deal with a sixth goal and for a 100% winning record for the Lions to see them top the Group and romp into Thursday’s Grand Finals.

AC Celtic Rebels in second spot in Group B will join them in those Finals.

Still we had time for another 7 goal thriller to close out the night.

Joseph Okeg scored early to put the St. Josephs Reds in front against the St. Francis Tigers. Peter Lyster tied the game for the Tigers with a fine goal. Cillian Donlon then put St. Josephs back in front . Abdul Idris scored for the Tigers to tie the game for a second time. Kealan Mullin then fired the Tigers in front for the first time and then went on to stretch that lead with a second goal of the game.

The last word and the last goal of the night was left to Shane Kelly who found the net with a great strike to make it 5-2 for the St. Francis Tigers and to secure for them third spot in Group B.

Ballinasloe Pumas would claim fourth spot ahead of the St. Josephs Reds.

So our line up for next Thursday’s Rowan Shield Finals is sorted. Ballinasloe Cheetahs and St. Josephs Blues qualify from Group A with St. Francis Lions and AC Celtic Rebels progressing from Group B.

Thursday’s Rowan Shield Finals looks mouth watering. These four quality teams will play each other in a round robin format with the top two meeting again in the Rowan Shield Final. This will be massive!

Tomorrow night will see Group B in the Stacey Cup competition with two places up for grabs in next Thursday’s Stacey Cup Finals. This really is the “Group of Death” with 7 very good teams fighting it out over 21 games for those last two places.

The first game kicks off at 6.00pm on Friday.

If I were you I’d get there good and early!



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