North U16 A Hurling Champions 201302 Oct 2013 by Gilbert Williams
North Under 16 A Hurling Final 2013
Kilruane MacDonaghs 3-14 Newport Gaels 0-9
The U16 hurlers bridged a nine year gap by winning the North Final for the sixth time with a 3-14 to 0-9 victory against a very useful Newport Gaels side in Nenagh. This was MacDonaghs eleventh appearance in the final. The previous wins were in 1973, 1980, 1991, 2002 and 2004, while victory eluded them in 1986, 1992, 2001, 2005 and 2008. MacDonaghs and Newport had crossed paths in the first round of the championship in MacDonagh Park Cloughjordan, with the home side recording a comprehensive victory. However, the Newport/Ballinahinch combination had shown considerable improvement since the campaign commenced and earned their final place with a one point victory against Nenagh. MacDonaghs entered the decider in fine form with the pace and the intensity of the last two training sessions indicating that a good performance was in store. To facilitate Ballinahinch’s David Gleeson, who was heading to a rugby camp in Cork, the final had an unusually early start time of 10.30.
The dressing room was an oasis of clam beforehand but there was a steely determination present in the eyes of the players as Sean Ward sent his charges out to battle. In glorious sunshine referee Ger Fitzpatrick threw in the sliotar and MacDonaghs thundered into the action. The elegant James Cleary, who had an outstanding game in the middle of the park, set a high tempo by winning early ball and launching it towards the Newport goal. MacDonaghs had the aid of a slight breeze, dominated possession in the opening minutes, but didn’t make it pay on the scoreboard. David Gleeson had an early chance from a free for Newport but it came back off the post and was cleared to safety. The influential Cian Darcy, who was operating on the forty, got MacDonaghs off the mark with two pointed frees. In the tenth minute he had the large MacDonaghs contingent in full voice when he knifed his way through the Newport defence and instead of opting for the point, soloed further in and without catching the sliotar struck a rasping shot to the corner of the net. Newport edged their way into the game with three points. Daniel Carew struck the first, David Gleeson added two, one from play and another from a free. At this juncture the selectors moved Rory McCarthy to wing forward and Kevin Shinners was switched to the edge of the square. This move immediately paid dividends as some hard grafting by Rory created the opportunity for Cian Darcy to lash a ground ball to the net and MacDonaghs were five ahead. Conor Lillis, who had moved into the corner in a direct switch with Jerome Cahill, cut in from the left, shortened his grip and sent the sliotar over the black spot. Cian Darcy raised a white flag from a free as MacDonaghs extended their lead to seven. Kevin Shinners tacked on a point as Kilruane made their superiority count on the scoreboard. Newport responded with a 65 from Keelan Floyd and a pointed free by David Gleeson. Rory McCarthy bisected the posts in the 27th minute. David Gleeson was on target from a free but a similar effort from Cian Darcy cancelled this out to leave the interval score 2-7 to 0-6 in favour of MacDonaghs.
On the resumption a point from Rory McCarthy extended the advantage to eight. Corner back Paul Guidera had to depart the scene with an injury. He was replaced by Declan Elderfield, with Conor Lillis reverting to corner back. Three minutes later Kevin Shinners had the net bulging once more after an effort from Rory McCarthy dropped short. Cian Darcy added a point from a free as a twelve point gap opened. Newport replied with a point and kept battling away with their danger man David Gleeson playing deeper and deeper as the game wore on. The MacDonaghs defence, which was well marshalled by Darragh Peters, was snuffing out every attack. James Cleary, Conor Lillis and Kevin Shinners kept the scoreboard ticking over with further points. Corrie Moroney hit Newport’s third point of the half and fittingly Cian Darcy had the final say with two late points to leave MacDonaghs champions for the sixth time.
This was a tremendous team effort with every player contributing handsomely to the victory. Goalkeeper Niall Shinners kept a clean sheet and dealt capably with everything that came his way. Brendan McAdams was rock solid at full-back, while Arran Conroy and Paul Guidera gave little away in the corners. The half back line was the launching pad for victory. Darragh Peters exuded class in everything he did in the number six jersey. Kieran Brereton did a magnificent job in policing David Gleeson. On the left flank Martin Grace had his best game of the season. James Cleary gave an outstanding performance at midfield, with the industrious Tom Dooley an ideal partner. Cian Darcy was a constant threat at number eleven and finished with a personal tally of 2-7. Kevin Shinners had a very productive hour and really prospered when moved to full forward. On the other wing Conor Lillis improved as the game developed and took his two points with aplomb. Rory McCarthy battled gamely all through and enjoyed better fortune when moved to the half-forward line. Although Jerome Cahill and Craig Morgan didn’t feature among the scorers their pace and skill complemented the strength and power of the other forwards. Substitutes Declan Elderfield, Sean Quinlan, John Blagdon and Cormac Mannion all had their moments when they entered the fray.
After the game Mike Flynn presented the Prior Cup to captain Darragh Peters to the delight of the large contingent of our supporters, led by club president Tom Cleary.
Team: Niall Shinners, Arran Conroy, Brendan McAdams, Paul Guidera, Kieran Brereton, Darragh Peters, Martin Grace, Tom Dooley, James Cleary (0-1), Kevin Shinners (1-2), Cian Darcy (2-7), Conor Lillis (0-2), Craig Morgan, Rory McCarthy (0-2) and Jerome Cahill. Subs: Declan Elderfield, Sean Quinlan, Cormac Mannion and John Blagdon.
Remainder of panel: Sean McAdams, Oisín O’Meara, Mark O’Neill, Nathan Ryan, Eoghan Mulcahy, Kevin Oakley and Jack Dunne.
Selectors: Sean Ward, Ned Darcy, Johnny Peters and John Hyland. First Aid: Jimmy Cahill.
Referee: Ger Fitzpatrick
This latest victory now leaves the Kilruane MacDonaghs roll of honour looking like this: 1 All-Ireland club; 1 Munster Club; 48 county and 145 North titles.
On next Saturday MacDonaghs face Clonoulty-Rossmore in the county semi-final at 1.30pm in Templetuohy. With James Cleary unavailable and Paul Guidera ruled out with injury, the lads face a daunting task against the west champions. Last Saturday we had tremendous support in Nenagh and we look forward to a similar turnout in Templetuohy.