Durlas Óg ………………………. 1-13

Kildangan ………………………. 0-13

Durlas Óg are the Campion Insurance Group County Under 16 ‘A’ hurling champions for the third year in a row following a three victory over a gallant Kildangan side in a thrilling final played at Dolla on Sunday. A Barry McCormack goal inside the opening thirty seconds proved to be the difference between the sides as Durlas Óg were never headed and held on in the end for a deserved victory.

This was a fantastic final played in a very sporting manner by two well prepared teams. The match featured some great scores, top class saves and the exchanges were at all times close and exciting with the result in doubt up to the full time whistle.

Durlas Óg got off to a dream start when straight from the throw in the ball was worked into corner forward, Tommy Doyle who passed to Barry McCormack and he gave Kildangan goalie, Cian Hayes no chance with a powerful shot. Ruairi Gleeson replied almost immediately with a pointed free for Kildangan. Durlas Óg opened impressively with their full forward line of Tommy Doyle, Aidan McCormack and Barry McCormack causing many problems for the Kildangan backs. The defending champions outscored their opponents by six points to two to lead by 1-6 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter. Their chief marksman was full forward, Aidan McCormack who scored five points, three from frees with Robert Murphy also getting on the scoresheet. A Ruairi Gleeson free and a point from his midfield partner, Paraic Kelly were the Kildangan response. During this period the Kildangan goalie, Cian Hayes brought off two top class saves to deny Durlas Óg certain goals while at the other end Bill McCormack was also called on to make an outstanding save. At this stage Kildangan made some positional changes the most notable being the placing of corner forward, James McLoughney at full back. These changes appeared to have the desired effect with Kelly and Gleeson getting on top at midfield while Joe Gallagher was dominating at centre back. Kildangan held their opponents scoreless during the second quarter while they scored four points through Rory Whelan and three frees from the accurate Ruairi Gleeson to leave the half time score Durlas Óg 1-6 Kildangan 0-7.

The half time break couldn’t come quick enough for Durlas Óg as it gave them time to regroup. Aidan McCormack opened the scoring in the second half with a pointed free for Durlas Óg. Ruairi Gleeson was again on target with a Kildangan free and Rory Whelan had a point from play to leave the minimum between the teams. Kildangan had a great chance of equalising in the 50thminute but Ruairi Gleeson was unfortunate to see his free come back of the upright and was cleared by the Durlas Óg defence. Aidan McCormack hit two delightful points to extend the Thurles side lead to three points. Denis Maher was now excelling at centre back for Durlas Óg and he broke up many a Kildangan attack. The teams exchanged points through Michael Russell and Damien Grimes for Durlas Óg with Ruairi Gleeson (2) replying for Kildangan to leave a goal (1-11 to 0-11) between the teams with ten minutes remaining. The stage was set for a fantastic finish with the large attendance getting behind their respective teams. Substitute, Philip Purcell pointed to increase the Durlas Óg lead and were it not for another great save by the Kildangan ’keeper Cian Hayes from a Barry McCormack goalbound shot the game would have been out of the North champions reach. Rory Whelan pointed a Kildangan free and his side went in search of the equalising goal but the Durlas Óg defence were well organised and excellently marshalled by Brian Stakelum at full back and Denis Maher at centre back. Maher gave his side a great lift in the 56th minute when he scored a magnificent point from his own ‘65’ to leave four points between the teams. Joe Gallagher scored a Kildangan point but time was not on their side and when Paddy Ivors blew the full time whistle Durlas Óg held a three point winning margin and the cup was on its way to Thurles for the third year in a row.

Another county title for Durlas Óg and what a year it has been for the club who retained both the Under 14 and Under 16 county titles. They have a very evenly balanced team with all players contributing to this victory. Bill McCormack was a very competent goalie with Brian Stakelum rock solid at full back. Denis Maher was most impressive at centre back. Kevin O’Gorman and Michael Russell each had their moments at midfield while in attack full forward, Aidan McCormack was top scorer with eight points and he received good support from John Shortt and Barry McCormack.

Kildangan contributed to an excellent final and they were very disappointed at the final whistle. They had many top class displays with Cian Hayes an outstanding goalie. Sean Hackett, Joe Gallagher and Cathal Dullea were excellent defenders. Ruairi Gleeson who finished with a tally of eight points was very prominent at midfield while in attack Paraic Kelly, Eanna Gleeson and Rory Whelan caught the eye.

Teams and scorers:

Durlas Óg : Bill McCormack; Stephen Maher, Brian Stakelum, Liam Cullen; Shane Dempsey, Denis Maher (0-1), David Maher; Kevin O’Gorman, Michael Russell (0-1); John Shortt, Robert Murphy (0-1), Damien Grimes (0-1); Tommy Doyle, Aidan McCormack (0-8), Barry McCormack (1-0). Substitutes: Darren O’Neill for Shane Dempsey; Philip Purcell (0-1) for Tommy Doyle; Darragh Ronayne for Barry McCormack.

Kildangan : Cian Hayes; Eoin Kennedy, Sean Hackett, Fergal Hayes; Cathal Dullea, Joe Gallagher (0-1), Stephen James Gleeson; Paraic Kelly (0-1), Ruairi Gleeson (0-8); Michael Geaney, Eanna Gleeson, Paddy Gallagher; Kenneth Hogan, Rory Whelan (0-3), James Mcloughney. Substitutes: Shane Seymour for Eoin Kennedy.

Referee : Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).