The weekend of 16th/17th September 2006 will be long remembered in the history of Durlas Og as the weekend where the under 14's recorded a historic and unique county final double winning the 'A' and 'C' titles. Saturday morning we headed for Dolla to take on Kilruane MacDonaghs in the 'A' final.
County Under 14 'A' Final
The conditions were ideal with a slight breeze blowing down the immaculate Dolla pitch. Kilruane had the advantage of the breeze in the first half and they were quickly into their stride hitting over two points in the opening five minutes. It took Durlas Og a long time to settle and their first score didn't come until the 10th minute when Ciaran Dowd's shot was adjudged to have crossed the line after the Kilruane goalie had saved. Aidan McCormack pointed a free and Mark Shannon had a good point from play to give us a 1-2 to 0-2 lead with five minutes of the half remaining. Patrick Dunne was now coming more into the game at centre back and Sean Moroney and Darragh Ronayne were getting on top at midfield. Kilruane pointed two frees to narrow the gap to a point. Mark Lanigan had the final score of the half when he scored a point from play in injury time to leave the half time score Durlas Og 1-3 Kilruane 0-4.
This was a magnificient victory by the team to retain the county title and also add the 'A' crown to the Feile na nGael title won earlier in the year. All players contributed to the win with Kevin Smith being a dependable goalie all through and brought off two vital saves at a critical period in the second half. Greg Cully was always alert and hit some great clearance from his corner back position. Colin Shorley grew in stature as the game progressed and what a great year he has had. Padraic Crone in the other corner really came into his own in the second half and was rock solid. David Corbett gave another consistent performance as he has been doing all year. Patrick Dunne up to the time of his injury was influential at centre back and James Ryan never put a foot wrong when he manned the central position. Jamie Stapleton did very well when introduced. Darragh Ronayne and Sean Moroney each had their moments at centre field and have developed into a very effective midfield pairing. The attack was ably led by captain, Aidan McCormack at centre forward whose scoring and distribution of the ball was first class. Michael O'Dwyer who started on the wing played in the corner for the second half and he won an amount of possession and was most impressive. Mark Shannon on the left wing scored a great point in the first half and his first touch was immaculate. Philip Purcell was powerful at full forward scoring a point and most unlucky for a goal in the first half when the Kilruane goalie brought off a great save. Ciaran Dowd in the corner was always involved in the action and scored our two goals. Mark Lanigan in the other corner caused many problems for the Kilruane defence with his darting runs. Substitutes John Stakelum and Kyle Loughman were not introduced but both players were involved in the earlier rounds and played their part in the success.
Team and scorers:
Sunday we regrouped and after the All Ireland Football final we headed to New Inn with our 'B' team to clash with South champions, Newcastle in the County Under 14 'C' final.
County Under 14 'C' Final
Durlas Og and Newcastle produced a thrilling County Under 14 'C' hurling final. This was not a match for the faint hearted as the excitement particularly in the second half had the large crowd enthralled throughout an epic match. Durlas Og opened impressively with Christy Cleary scoring the first point and then Shane Butler added a point from a free before Brian O'Connor blasted to the net following good work by Stephen Kennedy to give us a 1-2 to nil lead after ten minutes. Newcastle came back with a goal but Shane Butler responded with a pointed free. Newcastle dominated the concluding stages of the half and they outscored Durlas Og by five points to one. Shane Butler was again accurate from a free and this left us trailing by a point at the interval (1-5 to 1-4).
Newcastle started the second half impressively and their powerful midfielder struck three points. We replied with another pointed free from Shane Butler to leave three points between the sides. The teams were level ten minutes into the half when Paul Maher finished to the net for our second goal. Newcastle edged back in front with two further points from their midfielder before Darragh Mulcaire came up the field from his centre back position to strike a delightful point to leave the minimum between the teams with five minutes remaining. The closing minutes were nailbiting as we came in search of the equaliser. Newcastle who had beaten us in the football decider a few weeks earlier were doing their utmost to hold on for victory. Little did they know that this Durlas Og side were not going to give up. Durlas Óg worked the ball into an unmarked Thomas Hewitt on the edge of the square who rifled to the back of the net. We were two points in front and time almost up. Newcastle fought back and in a last attack Durlas Óg’s corner back Stephen Hackett made a timely interception and cleared. The final whistle sounded and this was the signal for unbelievable scenes of jubilation by the Durlas Óg players and supporters. A first every County Under 14 'C' title had been won and a historic Under 14 'A' and 'C' double had been achieved.
The Durlas Og team showed remarkable character in this match and even though their opponents were physically stronger this didn't deter our players who produced a fabulous display. Denis Moore never put a foot wrong in goals and brought off a great save in the second half. James Lyons and Stephen Hackett were very solid in the full back line and made some timely clearances. Darragh Mulcaire was excellent at centre back and got a great second half point. Eoin Leahy on the left wing was very consistent and he caught one great ball in the first half. Niall McGovern of the left wing gave his all as did his replacement Dylan Bourke when introduced. Shane Butler did an amount of work at midfield and was very accurate from placed balls. Paul Maher who was his partner in the first half and played in the full forward line for most of the second period never gave up and struck a great goal. Christy Cleary was everywhere and hit an amount of ball. He played a vital role in the second half marking Newcastle's powerful midfielder and he more than held his own. Brian O'Connor had another good game and was very prominent in the first half and his early goal was crucial. Mossie McCormack ran himself into the ground and took a lot of punishment from the Newcastle defenders. Allan Butler and Stephen Kennedy tried very hard in the full forward line. Both Thomas Hewitt and Paul Morrissey made big impressions when introduced with Hewitt scoring the winning goal. It was a great victory for a great team.
Team and scorers:
Congratulations to all players on their magnificient achievement. They put in an enormous effort throughout the year and thoroughly deserved their successes. Thanks to their mentors, Sean Corbett, Andy Ryan, John Moroney and John Smith for all the time and effort they put into this group over the last number of months. Thanks also to all our supporters who travelled to both finals in large numbers and made themselves heard on both days.