(Mid Bord na nOg Match Report)
Spain Family U14A Hurling Final
Durlas Óg 4-10 JK Brackens 3-08
This year’s showpiece event certainly lived up to its billing as Durlas Óg and JK Brackens played out a terrific game in very trying circumstances in Boherlahan last Thursday night. Both sides hurled with determination and a superb amount of skill and have to be commended on the manner of their play on the night. That however is cold comfort for a JK Brackens side that had their sights firmly set on this prestigious title. Elation for Durlas Óg on the other hand as they confirmed their dominance in the grade this year by adding this title to the Féile na nGael crown already in their pocket. They now move on to the county semi-final in great spirit.
Durlas Óg started with the slight breeze advantage and in the opening move of the match Evan McCormack found the net raising the first of the nights green flags. As the tempo began to quicken Durlas Óg edged ahead thanks to points from Bill Darcy and Michael Purcell. Indeed it was this duo that was driving their side on with Conor Stakelum industrious up front. JK Brackens got stuck in and the midfield pairing of Lyndon Fairbrother and Radic Natkaneic took partial command of their domain as they took the game by the scruff of the neck. A point apiece from the Brackens midfield twosome left the goal between them as the Durlas boys found it impossible to contain the pace of Natkaneic.
Darcy then pointed a sixty five before Natkaneic exploded down the right from inside the Durlas Óg half and rifled a low shot along the ground to find the bottom left hand corner of the net. One point in it game on again. Minutes later Darcy hit an enormous free from inside his own sixty five which found its way to the net giving the impetus back to Durlas Óg. Points from the Purcell’s, Mark and Michael, pushed Durlas Óg further ahead and just on half time Mark added another to leave it 2-06 to 1-02 at the break.
It was an almost identical start to the second half for Durlas Óg as Conor Stakelum netted inside the opening minute with the keeper out of position. Loran O’Toole then pointed as Durlas Óg looked comfortable. No one told Lyndon Fairbrother though as he reigned supreme down the right, shooting four excellent points. In the meantime he also set up Andrew Ormond but his shot at goal found the side netting. A telling factor from early in the half too was the significant move by the Durlas Óg management of switching Harry Fitzgibbon on Radic Natkaneic as he stifled Radic’s dominance, Fitzgibbon now having a blinder.
With nine minutes left what seemed like a shot for a point from Conor Stakelum dropped shot and somehow ended up in the Brackens net, inflicted a seemingly killer blow. Natkaneic responded with a point but with both time and light fading fast goals would be needed to rescue this one for Brackens.
Mark Purcell brought his tally to four when he added a brace of points for Durlas Óg in the last five minutes. Still Fairbrother drove on and his attitude in adversity needs to be admired as he led his team on. In doing so he brought Tommy Murphy into play to score Brackens second goal with one minute remaining. Fairbrother immediately goaled himself as the late Brackens flurry hinted at what might have been. Referee Liam Shanahan called time soon after on a hugely entertaining final as mentioned already played out in a tremendous spirit.
Durlas Óg captain Bill Darcy received the cup from Mid Bórd na nÓg PRO, Joe Bracken, with Sean Spain representing the Spain family also in attendance.
Durlas Óg: Matt O’Brien, Aaron Cullen, Keith O’Dwyer, Jason Jordan, Harry Fitzgibbon, Bill Darcy (C) 1-02 (1-01f, 01 ’65), Michael Purcell 02, Matthew Kelly, Mark Purcell 04, Conor Murphy, Conor Stakelum 2-00, Evan McCormack 1-00, Anthony Cooney, Gavin Wright 01, Kevin Donnelly, Subs; Loran O’Toole 01, Paddy Dunican, Jason Cullen, Shane O’Sullivan, Daniel Moloney, Eoin Hickey, Adam Hickey.
JK Brackens: David O’Shea, Edward Bergin, Neil Quinlan, Daragh Kavanagh, Paddy Cadell 01, Tommy Murphy 1-00, Aiden Coffey, Lyndon Fairbrother (C) 1-05, Radic Natkaneic 1-02, Eanna McBride, Conor Sheedy, Shane Doyle, Andrew Ormond, Michael Egan, Bodine Fogarty, Subs; Anthony Ryan, Aaron Fogarty, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Nick Kane, Michael Marnell.
Referee: Liam Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane)