U-16 Hurling Kilruane MacDonaghs 3-12 Portroe 3-1128 Aug 2012 by Gilbert Williams
On last Monday evening the U-16s travelled to Portroe and just edged out the home team by the minimum of margins. This was a crucial game, as only a victory would keep the boys in black and white on course for a semi-final place. MacDonaghs had to line out without the injured Rory McCarthy. Jack Farrell was also an absentee, while Brendan McAdams hadn’t fully recovered from a collarbone injury. The sticky conditions and long grass weren’t conducive to good hurling and both sides found it difficult to cope. Darragh Peters opened the scoring when he cut in from the left corner and fired over the bar. Portroe responded with four unanswered points. A point from Darragh Peters reduced the gap to two. The home side got a huge boost when MacDonaghs failed to clear their lines and the sliotar was slammed to the net. Cian Darcy steadied the ship when he hit a great long range point. Portroe replied with a similar score, before Cian raised a white flag from a free. Kilruane got a great boost when Darragh Peters beat a succession of defenders, before burying the sliotar in the net. Portroe’s response was immediate. Niall Shinners saved well at the other end, but the rebound was despatched to the net. The Shannonsiders added a point, with Conor Doheny replying after taking a pass from Cian Darcy. Darragh Peters chipped in with another point to nullify a white flag by Portroe. MacDonaghs finished the half strongly. Cian Darcy launched a long delivery into the Portroe square. Darragh Peters timed his run to perfection and deftly guided the sliotar home. He tacked on a point to leave the sides level at 2-7 each.
Portroe got a dream start to the second half when they raised their third green flag. MacDonaghs struggled to get into their rhythm and three good chances for points were spurned. The sides swopped points, with Cian Darcy on the mark for the visitors. Darragh Peters pointed, but the home side maintained a gap of four with their eighth point. A brace of white flags from James Cleary and Cian Darcy just left a point between the sides. The selectors switched Darragh Peters in from the corner and isolated him on the edge of the square. This move was to quickly pay dividends. Keelan Troy lofted a high ball into the goalmouth and the alert Darragh availed of a blunder by the Portroe keeper to force the sliotar over the line. MacDonaghs were now two ahead and a grandstand finish was in sight. Portroe reduced the arrears to one. A win was a must for MacDonaghs to keep their championship aspirations alive. A point from Cian Darcy extended the advantage to two. Darragh Peters was moved to centre-back to shore up the defence. A Portroe free cut the gap to one. In a tension filled last few minutes MacDonaghs defended stoutly and were on the attack when referee Eddie Kennedy sounded the long whistle. This was a gritty display by the team. Darragh Peters was outstanding. Cian Darcy was very effective when he moved the ball directly. Martin Grace had his best game of the season, while Jerome Cahill worked like a beaver in the attack. Kieran Lillis and Caolainn Conroy battled gamely, with every other player lending good support. Team: Niall Shinners, Arran Conroy, Kieran Brereton, Ciarán Spillane, Martin Grace, Caolainn Conroy (Capt), Conor Lillis, Cian Darcy (0-5), James Cleary (0-1), Kevin Shinners, Kieran Lillis, Conor Doheny (0-1), Darragh Peters (3-5), Keelan Troy and Jerome Cahill.