U-10 Hurling – Naas Tournament15 Jun 2009 by Gilbert Williams
The U-10’s travelled to Naas on Sat 13th June last for the annual Inter County Hurling Tournament. The competition consisted of 2 groups of four teams playing off on a round robin basis with the top 2 from each group qualifying to a semi-final for a place in the cup final. A separate shield competition was also run off on the day.
In the first of the group games MacDonaghs faced James Stephens of Kilkenny and were unlucky to have lost having played very well, despite a poor start which proved to be their undoing in this contest. The final score was 1-00 to 4-01.
The fancied Naomh Eanna, of Gorey, Wexford were the opponents in the second group game. In a very tight contest Kilruane edged in front with a couple of well taken points and a long range free. The second half scoring was evenly shared as was most of the play, but a strong defensive display saw MacDonaghs gain their first group points of the day on a score line of 1-04 to 1-01.
In the final group game, Ahane of Limerick was the opposition. A win was required to stay in contention for qualification and in a very tight contest to the three quarters stage only a solitary point separated the teams. MacDonaghs finished strong to run out comfortable winners on a score line of 2-03 to 0-00.
After an anxious wait for the result of the other group game, Kilruane finished second in the group on 4 points and were paired against Cork side Na Piarsaigh for the semi-final.
A well-earned break for refreshments brought the round robin section to an end, as preparations were made for the knockout stages.
In the semi-final, Na Piarsaigh were favourites having topped their group stages. However MacDonaghs tore into the game right from the clash and despite being underdogs had the Cork side on the back foot from the start and were 3-01 to 0-01 up at half time. Na Piarsaigh threw everything at Kilruane in the second half but stouthearted defending and a number of excellent saves kept the Cork side scoreless, while the lead was extended further by another two goals. A tremendous victory of 5-01 to 0-01 was recorded and a place in the final was secured.
The final opponents were to be host club Naas, who had seen off the only team to defeat Kilruane during the day, James Stephens. From early on Naas got a grip on the game and took a commanding lead. Kilruane fought hard and were denied by a couple of good saves as well as close shaves of the post before half time to narrow the gap.
In the second half the physically stronger Naas side piled on the pressure and opened up a gap that was to be insurmountable. Kilruane who despite the deficit never gave up and fought hard to the end and again were denied scores as all luck deserted them. On the day they met a better side but can be proud of the overall days performance, having gained many admirers from the widespread attendance. The final score was 2-02 to 8-04.
Former Kilkenny hurler and current Kildare Hurling manager Andy Comerford was on hand to make the presentations. Team captain for the tournament Luke Dervan received his runners up medal and introduced his teamates individually for their presentations.
Despite the disappointment of a final defeat, a great days enjoyment was had and having played five games the panel of players will have gained a lot from the experience. Thanks to Naas on the first class organisation of the tournament and reception given to players and management and congratulations to Naas on their success.
The Panel for the tournament was, Seamus O’Meara, Patrick Hayes, Luke Dervan, Eoin England, Tommy Dooley, Eoghan Mulcahy, Michael O’Brien, Carl Williams, Jerome Cahill, Ben Healy, Jake O’Kelly, Grady Jones, Kevin Oakley, Craig Morgan, Alan Spain, Jack Dwan, Devlin Courtney, Jack Dunne, Matthew Moyles, Kian O’Kelly.