COUNTY UNDER 16 HURLING FINAL 2007

County Bord na nOg Match Report

FOUR IN A ROW FOR DURLAS ÓG

Durlas Óg ..................................1-18 
Knockavilla Kickhams ............  1-10

Durlas Óg completed a magnificent four in a row of Campion Insurance Group County Under 16 ‘A’ hurling titles when they defeated Knockavilla Kickhams in a very competitive and hard fought final at New Inn on Saturday.

Durlas Óg were favourites going into this final but they were made to fight all the way by a determined Kickhams side that really put it up to the defending champions. The teams were level at half time and as the match entered the final quarter Durlas Óg held a slender two point lead. However the Thurles side finished strongly outscoring their opponents by 1-6 to 1-0 to run out impressive winners.

Aidan McCormack opened the scoring with a Durlas Óg point inside the first minute and further points from Tommy Doyle (2) and two from McCormack (free and ‘65’) gave the defending champions a 0-5 to 0-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Knockavilla scorer was John Griffey. Knockavilla took a long time to settle in this match but when Kenneth Horgan went centre back and David Butler moved to midfield they came more into the game and dominated the second quarter. Paudy Slattery struck a delightful Knockavilla point but Durlas Óg replied immediately with a Robert Murphy effort. Both Shane Heelan and David Butler pointed Knockavilla frees to leave two between the teams after 25 minutes. Aidan McCormack after great work by Durlas Óg centre back Denis Maher pointed but it was Knockavilla that finished the half strongly with points from John Griffey, Patrick Ryan and Kenneth Horgan (free) to leave the teams level at seven points each at the interval.

This match was played in a very sporting manner and was full of top class hurling between two very committed and determined teams. Durlas Óg were quickly into their stride in the second half and they had taken a two point lead by the 32nd minute with Aidan McCormack finding the range with two frees. Kenneth Horgan pointed a ‘65’ to reduce the deficit. McCormack pointed another Durlas Óg free and in the 37th minute the Thurles team were awarded a penalty following an indiscretion in the Knockavilla square. Denis Maher came up the field from his centre back position to take the penalty and his powerful goal bound shot was excellently deflected over the crossbar for a point. Shane Heelan pointed two Knockavilla frees to leave a point between the teams as the match entered the final quarter.

The tempo of the game had now increased and the large attendance got behind their respective teams. Michael Russell who had a superb game at midfield for Durlas Óg struck an excellent point and Tommy Doyle added another, his third of the match. It was all Durlas Óg at this stage and when Cian Treacy scored a great individual goal in the 48th minute the holders had taken a six point lead (1-13 to 0-10). Treacy had much work to do when he gained possession some 30 metres from goal. Despite being chased by three Knockavilla defenders he managed to get in his shot that was brilliantly saved by Thomas Ryan but Treacy followed up to strike the rebound to the net. The Durlas Óg advantage was extended with further points from Michael Russell and corner forward, Mark Lanigan. An eight point lead with eight minutes remaining it looked as if the holders were safe but Kickhams had other ideas and they didn’t give up. David Butler who was impressive throughout made a great run from all of 60 metres and was taken down outside the 21 metre line. Kenneth Horgan blasted the resultant Knockavilla free to the net to leave five between the teams. Durlas Óg replied in the best possible manner when Aidan McCormack who was now operating at centre forward pointed from the left wing. The same player added another and it was fitting that McCormack should hit the final score of the match, a pointed free deep in injury time. That was his tenth point of the day (5 frees, a ‘65’ and 4 from play) in a magnificent display of top class marksmanship from a player who is young enough for under 16 again next year. The final whistle sounded following the puck out and Durlas Óg had recorded a remarkable four in a row of county titles in this grade.

Durlas Óg has a fabulous record in this championship in the last ten years. In that period they have appeared in eight finals winning six of them. They really had to pull out all the stops on Saturday and credit to them for the way they responded when Knockavilla really put it up to them. Michael Russell gave a man of the match performance at midfield. He caught some great balls while his distribution to his forwards was first class and he also struck two points. Rory O’Shea, Denis Maher and substitute Stephen Maher were prominent in defence. Aidan McCormack as already stated was top scorer and he received good support in attack from Robert Murphy, Tommy Doyle and Cian Treacy.

Knockavilla Kickhams contributed to a great final and they were very disappointed at the full time whistle. They held their own with the holders for 45 minutes and it was not until the final quarter that Durlas Óg pulled away. They had many notable performances. David Butler was their best player, first at centre back and then at midfield. He was ably assisted by Kenneth Horgan, Rory Heffernan, Owen Carey, Shane Heelan, John Griffey and Paudy Slattery.

Teams and scorers:

Durlas Óg : David Corbett; Patrick Dunne, Rory O’Shea, Donal O’Gorman; Shane Dempsey, Denis Maher (0-1), David Maher; Michael Russell (0-2), Darragh Ronayne; Tommy Doyle (0-3), Robert Murphy (0-1), Philip Purcell; Cian Treacy (1-0), Aidan McCormack (0-10), Mark Lanigan (0-1). Substitute used: Stephen Maher.

KnockavillaKickhams : Thomas Ryan; Danny Carberry, Rory Heffernan, Shane Ryan; Owen Carew, David Butler (0-1), Johnny Ryan; Kenneth Hogan (1-4), Shane Heelan (0-1); Garry Heelan, John Griffey (0-2), Noel Ryan; Patrick Ryan (0-1), Damien Hayes, Paudy Slattery (0-1). Substitutes used: Dean Thompson and John Matthew Ryan.

Referee : Paddy Ivers (Ballingarry)