DURLAS ÓG………... 4-24 CARRICK SWAN………… 0-4
Durlas Óg retained the County Under 16 ‘A’ hurling title following a convincing win over Carrick Swan at Clonmel on Saturday. This was Durlas Óg’s 14th title in this grade and their seventh in the last ten years. Nobody in the large attendance would have predicted this result after fifteen minutes of play when the Thurles side held a two points to one lead. The second quarter saw Durlas Óg score 2-8 to their opponents 0-2 and the second half was much the same as Durlas Óg got some excellent scores to keep the Under 16 cup in Thurles for another year.
The game was evenly balanced in the first quarter and after hitting three wides in the opening minutes Durlas Óg opened the scoring with a Kevin Dunne point in the 4th minute. Derek Hogan pointed a Carrick Swan free four minutes later to level proceedings. Both teams had further chances but it took until the 14th minute before the next score arrived. Graham Maher had a great chance of a Durlas Óg goal but his rasping shot was only inches over the Carrick crossbar. Both defences were on top at this stage and the exchanges were tough and uncompromising on the heavy pitch. Durlas Óg made what was to prove an inspired positional switch. They moved Conor Lanigan to full forward and he went on to score 2-4 before the break. His first goal came in the 16th minute when Kevin Dunne found Lanigan with a defence splitting pass and he found the Carrick net. He added two points, one from a free, and David Fogarty also pointed with Swan’s only response being a point from a Derek Hogan free. Lanigan scored a great individual goal in the 23rd minute and further points from Fogarty, Lanigan (3), Paddy Carroll and Graham Maher gave Durlas Óg a 2-10 to 0-3 lead. Hogan scoring his third point from a free for Swan to conclude the first half scoring. Despite the one sided nature of the scoreboard at half time Carrick Swan had a number of goal chances in the opening thirty minutes but they found Durlas Óg goalie, Willie Tierney in top class form and he brought off two brilliant saves to deprive the Carrick boys of goals.
Carrick Swan needed a good start to the second half but it was Durlas Óg who got the early scores with Conor Lanigan pointing two frees and Ronan Maher striking a ‘65’ between the posts to extend the Thurles lead further. There was to be no way back for the Swans and Durlas Óg who played delightful hurling never took their foot of the pedal and they struck some excellent scores including two goals from Graham Maher in the 36th minute and substitute Brian Hanrahan in the 55th minute to seal another memorable victory for the boys from the Cathedral town. Great credit to Swans who tried very hard right up to the end but this game was well over as a contest long before referee Philip Kelly blew the full time whistle.
It was Durlas Óg’s day and another county under 16 title to add to their roll of honour. They had many outstanding performances none more so that top marksman Conor Lanigan who finished with a personal tally of 2-10 (2-5 from play) in an exceptional display of forward play. Captain Ronan Maher was inspirational at centre back with Jack Lineen and Thomas Skehan very prominent in a very solid defence. Kevin Dunne and Faolan Linnane had their moments at midfield while Graham Maher and David Fogarty were always prominent in attack.
Carrick Swan will be bitterly disappointed with the result but they came up against an exceptional Durlas Óg team. Best for them on the day were Sean Dunphy, Dale O’Hanlon, Lee Wall, Derek Hogan and John Paul Roche.
After the game Sean Creamer, County Bord na nÓg Chairman, presented to the County Under 16 ‘A’ cup to winning Durlas Óg captain Ronan Maher.
Durlas Óg: Willie Tierney; David Russell, Jack Lineen, Caley Maher; Paul Sammon, Ronan Maher (0-2), Thomas Skehan; Kevin Dunne (0-2), Faolan Linnane; Conor Lanigan (2-10), Graham Maher (1-4), David Fogarty (0-4); Tom Meehan, Luke Kelly, Paddy Carroll (0-1). Subs: Tom Tierney (0-1), Brian Hanrahan (1-0), Jack O’Connell, Brendan O’Loughlin, Tony O’Brien.
Carrick Swans: Kevin Faulkner; Gavin O’Halloran, Sean Dunphy, Aaron O’Halloran; Scott Hogan, Dale O’Hanlon, Eric O’Halloran; Lee Wall (0-1), Dale O’Mahony; Derek Hogan (0-3), Luke Gahan, Jack Cooke, John Paul Roche, Bill Barrett, Dean Fitzgerald. Sub: Daniel Walsh.
Referee: Philip Kelly (Ballinahinch).