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U21 Hurling Championship

posted 17 Mar 2012, 15:42 by Unknown user   [ updated 18 Mar 2012, 16:18 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]


    By Michael O Connor

    As the bank holiday weekend trundled to the restful Monday a gem of a game lay hidden in all the higher profile club and county games. This game will not be remembered as a classic of the year but for sheer determination by both teams and both managements it gave 60 minutes of great entertainment and some memorable scores especially by Parteen/Meelick who secured a quarter final against Smith O Briens this coming weekend.

The need justified or otherwise to play Aaron Cunningham out around at midfield and at one stage the 19 year old was at full back clearing the ball hampered the Shannon sides scoring potential. However the amazing scenes in the final minutes when Parteen/Meelick literally missed goals from under the crossbar kept the Tones in the game and offered much excitement to all and sundry in Kilkishen.

Condition in Kilkishen were softish with a heavy undercoat of grass that forced a lot of throw ins as both teams started the game in turbo speed fashion with a goal for each side. First up was Kevin McCafferty from close range for Wolfe Tones as Padraic O Connor hit back in the 2nd minute with a like score. Sean O Connor and Aaron Cunningham pointed frees in the 4th and 7th minutes respectively as Parteen/Meelick showed pace and accuracy when the ball in their possession. Cunningham with a second free gave the Tones a short lived lead before the continuous defensive frailities that befelled Wolfe Tones cost them two goals of the soft variety in the 16th minute from Dara Quinn and four minutes later when Padraic O Connor  had his second and his sides third and final goal. John Guilfoyle and Cunningham (2) were keeping their side ticking over on the scoreboard but the hammerblows of goals were too much for Shannon as indeed Parteen/Meelick could have scored two more first half goals. The final scores of the first half fell to Cunningham from another free and his 5th first half point before Padraic O Connor from play ended the first half action that saw Parteen/Meelick hold a (3-2) to (1-6) interval advantage yet still not certain that they would win the game and were thankful for the sight of Aaron Cunningham, John Gulifoyle and Kevin McCafferty all placed around midfield.

The games most effective forwards Padraic O Connor and Aaron Cunningham  carried on in the second half as they had left off at the end of the first with a point each within three minutes of the restart. It did appear that the Shannon  men would need to score at least three goals such was the strong possibility that they would concede more goals before the long whistle. O Connor and Cunningham once more continued their double act in the 35th and 42nd minute as Parteen/Meelick were doggedly holding onto a (3-4) to (1-8) lead. Vital scores in the final analysis for the winners materialised between the 43rd and 45th minutes with a hat trick of points from Sean O Connor (2) and Dara Quinn to surge five points clear entering the final quarter. Cunningham was now at full forward with Craig O Brien and McCafferty at midfield. Cunningham hit another free with Padraic O Connor on target from play. Guilfoyle with a long ball in found McCafferty whose fast hand pass found the inrushing Cunningham who hit the back of the Parteen/Meelick net. The deficit was now two points but the action was only starting with most of it in front of the Wolfe Tones goalmouth.  Oisin Hickey who amazingly did not score had a shot from three yards saved by Chris Maguire and in the follow on Hickey was upended with a penalty the punishment for Shannon. Sean O Connor blasted the ball over the bar just before Dara Quinn was denied a goal a minute later in front of the Shannon goal. A third Parteen/Meelick goal chance was also spurned in the 59th minute as Wolfe Tones had ample chances to win this game despite not playing well for long periods. The final Shannon score was once again a converted free from Aaron Cunningham to leave Parteen/Meelick nervous (3-9) to (2-10) leaders with three minutes of normal time plus injury time remaining. Try as they might Wolfe Tones could score the winning goal and indeed in the final minutes Parteen/Meelick rallied once more with Damian Moloney in brilliant form as Dara Quinn with a 50m free sealed a three point win and a merited win that they celebrated with gusto at the end.

Both sides had three scorers with Aaron Cunningham and Padraic O Connor scoring (3-13) of the combined tally of (5-19). Others to do well for both sides included Philip Lavin, Damian Moloney, Martin Moroney, Dara Quinn, Sean O Connor, Adam Sherlock, Oisin Hickey, Kevin McCafferty, Niall Murphy, Craig O Brien, Sean Brennan and David Ryan

PARTEEN/MEELICK: Roy Duffy, Jason Smith, Philip Lavin, Bobby Sherlock, Colin Ryan, Damian Moloney, Adam Sherlock, Martin Moroney, Gary Callinan, Cian McCarthy, Dara Quinn (1-2), David Smalle, Padraic O Connor (2-4), Sean O Connor(0-4), Oisin Hickey

WOLFE TONES: Chris Maguire, Damian O Toole, Niall Murphy, Stephen Touhy, Sean Reidy, David Ryan, Steve Simmonds, Craig O Brien, Martin O Connell, John Guilfoyle (0-1), Sean Brennan, Kevin McCafferty (1-0), Andrew Shanagher, Ciaran Agrue, Aaron Cunningham (1-9). Subs: Bobby Claire for Reidy (inj).

REFEREE: Fergal Gray (Feakle).

CLONLARA…………3-14                CRATLOE…...2-12

    By Michael O Connor.

    A shock of sorts as Clonlara emerged deserving victors over Cratloe in this entertaining round 1 tie in Sixmilebridge on Friday evening. Before the throw in the common view was a Cratloe win looked the best bet based on the Collins, McGrath, McInerney forward axis. However, when viewing the two teams prior to throw in Clonlara possessed a balanced side that might upset the odds if they held McGrath to normal scoring levels. Clonlara were able to stick to their game plan without moving too many players out of their starting positions as Cratloe were constantly moving McGrath and McInerney around to gain maximum return.

The man of the hour with the sidestep and the effortless short swing that gains maximum distance was Cathal O Connell whose scores at the start and end won the game for the South east clare side. He opened the scoring after 30 seconds and added a free two minutes later. Conor McGrath got Cratloe on the scoresheet in the 8th before a deft pass from O Connell found Clonlara corner forward who is also a capable goalkeeper Ryan Morris who blasted to the net. Conor McGrath hit back with a great score from play as the game after a slow start began to crank up the interest levels for spectators.

A major bone of contention for Clonlara and a potential game changer happened with referee John Healy adjuged that Colm Galvin caught the ball three times en route to scoring a great goal however a school of thought exists to suggest that Galvin did not foul the ball. By the 20th minute Cratloe were two points clear (1-5) to (1-3) after Cathal McInerney at full forward goaled after the ball went through two Clonlara defenders to the grateful county dual player. Conor McGrath (2), Wesley DeLoughrey with a 80 yard effort  and Cathal O Connell in response for Clonlara were on target before McInerney’s goal. O Connell, McGrath, McInerney and Ciaran Downey hit points from the 28th minute to the end of injury time to leave Cratloe uncomfortable (1-7) to (1-5) interval leaders.

Clonlara were positive minded at the start of the new half placing Colm Galvin who had been quiet at midfield to centre forward and he struck for the first score of the new half within a minute. Cathal O Connell pointed a free seconds later and the sides were level. James Hastings who starred in the second half for the winners with three outlandish points hit the first in the 36th minutes as Clonlara regained the lead for the first time since the 20th minute.

O Connell and Galvin added scores to see Clonlara stretch their lead after 39 minutes to three points as O Connell unusually sent a free wide before Conor McGrath who obviously sensed trouble upped a gear with three frees in five minutes before levelling matters in the 48th minute. The match winning score came against the run of play when a long ball sent in by Oisin O Brien was caught by Ryan Morris over the heads of the Cratloe full back line and finished to the net. Clonlara were two clear after McGrath responded with another free. The final nail in the Cratloe coffin was delivered by O Connell with his first and his sides third goal in the 53rd minute to send Clonlara five points clear (3-10) to (1-11) with seven minutes remaining.

James Hastings, O Connell and Hastings struck for minors to negate Cratloe’s second goal scored by Eoin Neville in the 55th minute as Cratloe could not manage to bridge the gap between the sides and were toothless in  attack if McGrath was not scoring. The final scores of the hour fell to man of the match O Connell and McGrath with a consolation score as the winners deserved their five point winning margin when Johnny Healy blew the long whistle.

The winners will have not held huge ambitions on winning this title but this win will boost them no end as many won minor B honours in 2010 against Wolfe Tones. Their youthful management of Paul Nihill, John Conlon and Cormac O Donovan who learnt their trade in UCG can now plot for a county semi final in the coming weeks. Best for the winners included James Hastings, Ryan Morris, Shane O Brien who had an enduring struggle with Conor McGrath, Cillian Fennessy, Ronan Carey, Colm Galvin in the second half and Cathal O Connell. Cratloe ‘s main stars never got a consistent effort together despite a number of impressive solo turns from Conor McGrath. Cathal McInerney, Enda Boyce, Jack McCourt and Podge Collins tried hard with little return.

CLONLARA: Patrick Stritch, Mike White, Shane O Brien, Eoin Meehan, Cillian Fennessy, Ronan Carey, Brian Galvin, Michael O Loughlin, Colm Galvin (0-2), Ciaran Downey (0-1), Thomas Begley, Oisin O Brien, James Hastings (0-3), Cathal O Connell (1-8), Ryan Morris (2-0).

CRATLOE: Dean DeLoughrey, Dominic Costigan, Enda Boyce, Aaron Gaule, Patrick Carey, Conor Ryan, Jack McCourt. Wes DeLoughrey(0-1), David Collins, Cathal McInerney (1-1), Podge Collins, Shane Gleeson, Tomas Ryan, Conor McGrath (0-10), David McInerney. Sub: David O Brien (1-0)

REFEREE; John Healy (Smith O Briens)