Kevin Darmody Ltd. Mid U16A Hurling Final
Durlas Óg 0-11 Holycross/Ballycahill 1-06
Two injury time points secured victory for Durlas Óg over Holycross-Ballycahill in a thriller at the Ragg last Saturday afternoon in what was a repeat of last year’s final. Though the quality of hurling was not of a vintage quality the intensity displayed from both sides ensured an absorbing contest which went right down to the wire, with Durlas Óg just about getting their noses in front in a game, which in truth, neither side deserved to lose.
Aided by a first half breeze the Thurles lads went into the break two clear but the pendulum swung as Holycross-Ballycahill edged ahead with five minutes of normal time left only to see the title snatched from their grasp in a pulsating finish.
Chief architect in attack Conor Lanigan had Durlas Óg three points to the good by the twelfth minute before Luke O’Mara opened the Holycross account with a nice point from the left. Then Liam Moloney put the minimum between the sides with a free midway through the half. With both sets of backs on top led by Ronan Maher and Kieran O’Dwyer respectively, scores were at a premium but Graham Maher did find space as he pointed for Durlas Óg to increase their advantage. Lanigan then added his fourth of the half following a fine relieving clearance by Paul Sammon before David Fogarty opened his account with a point. Holycross though surged back and Matty Stakelum coming more into the game saw his shot at goal blocked by Willie Tierney but full forward Peter Gavin was following up with intent and forced the ball over the line to leave one between them. A free for Durlas Óg however was pointed by Lanigan to leave it 07 to 1-02 at the break.
The opening minutes of the second half saw all the activity in the Holycross goalmouth where John Croke had to be at his best to keep out a point blank effort from Brian Hanrahan. Then Durlas Óg had a goal from Tom Meehan disallowed for infringing on the square. Croke was again called into action as he batted out Lanigan’s dipping shot for a sixty five. Despite the Thurles threat it was Kieran O’Dwyer who opened the second half scoring for Holycross with an excellent pointed free from close to the right hand side-line. David Fogarty had his second of the game to put two between them again but this was quickly reversed as Luke O’Mara also hit over his second of the game.
The middle period of the half belonged to Holycross-Ballycahill but it yielded no reward despite a number of chances. They surged forward through Stakelum, Moloney and O’Mara and had the Durlas Óg defence under severe pressure where Ronan Maher, Thomas Skehan and Jack Lineen were doing their utmost to quench the Holycross attack. And while the moving of Faolan Linnane to midfield significantly improved things for Durlas Óg they still couldn’t get near the posts.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Holycross upped the ante even further and soon hit parity as Liam Moloney pointed from a free in front of the posts inside the sixty five metre line. With increased passion in their play Holycross then went in front as Matty Stakelum after all his toils hit over his only point with five minutes to play.
It was the sting in the tail that awoke the Durlas Óg outfit. As they moved up the gears with four minutes of normal time left Graham Maher saw his shot go narrowly wide before Lanigan got his sixth to level it and set up a nervous finish to the match. Holycross had late chances to seal it but two wides was their net result. As the game went into injury time excellent points from Lanigan and Kevin Dunne sealed an extremely hard earned victory for Durlas Óg over a very heroic Holycross-Ballycahill side.
Mid Bord na nOg Chairman, Joe Kennedy, presented the cup to winning captain Ronan Maher who was one of the Durlas Óg stars on the day, ably accompanied by the influential Conor Lanigan and Thomas Skehan, Paul Sammon, Jack Lineen and in the second half by Faolan Linnane and Graham Maher.
It was bitter disappointment for Holycross-Ballycahill as spectators from both sides shared their heartbreak as they gave their all in the enthralling contest. Kieran O’Dwyer was immense, with Matty Stakelum, David Carroll, Shane Ryan, Liam Moloney, Calum O’Connor and Luke O’Mara among those who never gave up the battle.
Durlas Óg; Willie Tierney, David Russell, Jack Lineen, Caley Maher, Paul Sammon, Ronan Maher (C), Thomas Skehan, Luke Kelly, Kevin Dunne 01, Conor Lanigan 07 (02f), Graham Maher 01, David Fogarty 02, Tom Meehan, Brian Hanrahan, Faolan Linnane, Subs; Paddy Carroll, Seamie Hanafin, Sean Butler, Billy McCarthy, Jack O’Connell, Mark Conway, Jack O’Dwyer, Matthew Fogarty
Holycross/Ballycahill; John Croke, Donal Mulcahy, David Carroll, Conor Ryan, Jack Skehan, Kieran O’Dwyer (C) 01f, Aaron Ryan, Calum O’Connor, Ramie Nally, Shane Ryan, Matty Stakelum 01, Liam Moloney 02 (01f), Ciarán Maher, Peter Gavin 1-00, Luke O’Mara 02, Subs; Cian Hehir, Brian Dwan, Paul Callanan, Jamie Hartnett, Jack Carey, Eddie Murphy, Shane Skelly, Kieran Dunne, Shane Maher, Jamie Woods.
Referee; Jimmy Sweeney (Loughmore-Castleiney)