Christy Ring Minor Hurling Invitational Tournament

27 Jun 2009 by Gilbert Williams

Kilruane MacDonagh minor team took part in the Christy Ring tournament on Saturday 27th June. The tournament was organised and hosted by Glen Rovers. There were six teams involved divided into two groups and Kilruane were drawn with Cappoquin of Waterford and the Kerry development squad. The team to finish top would contest the final, with the second placed team contesting the plate final.

Our first game got underway against Cappoquin from Waterford who despite having a small panel were a big physical side that included two county minors. Kilruane aided by the strong breeze were first on the scoreboard with a well taken point from David Williams. Cappoquin replied to level and then Kilruane began to dominate and scores from Thomas Cleary and Niall O’Meara opened up a two point gap. At this stage both half back lines were dominating and there was a titanic battle at centrefield with Morgan Conway and David Reddan getting to grips with their opposite numbers. Justin Cahill slotted over a long range free, and Niall O’Meara from play left the half time score in favour of Kilruane at 0-05 to 0-01.

Kilruane started the brighter and Seán Kelly popped over a point from play to cancel out the opening point in the second half by Cappoquin. Pressure on the Cappoquin goal brought a ’65 which Justin Cahill dispatched over the bar with great skill into a strong breeze. Cappoquin then started to dominate at half back and the Kilruane defence came under increasing pressure. A point and a goal in quick succession had the lead cut to just one point. A Niall O’Meara free steadied the ship leaving the score 0-08 to 1-03. Points were exchanged with Justin Cahill and Morgan Conway registering white flags to leave Kilruane with a two point advantage 0-10 to 1-05. Cappoquin then replied to cut the lead to the minimum. With time up and Kilruane on the attack the referee harshly awarded a free for over carrying which Cappoquin scored to end the game in a draw.

Final Score Kilruane MacDonaghs 0-10 v 1-07 Cappoquin

Team: Robert Ward, PJ Cleary, Eanna Hogan, Robert Austin, Keith Kelly, Justin Cahill (0-03, 1 ’65, 1 free), Jack Peters, David Reddan, Morgan Conway (0-01), Seán Kelly (0-01), Thomas Cleary (0-01), Alan Darcy, Eoin Williams, Niall O’Meara (0-03, 1 free), David Williams (0-01).

Our second game was non-competitive; it was played against Abbeyside from Waterford who were in the other group. The format enabled all teams to play one non-competitive game in order to give players a break and introduce subs.

Abbeyside opened the scoring with a point, which Niall O’Meara cancelled out with a well taken point. The Waterford outfit took the lead again only for Niall O’Meara scoring a point from play to level the game again. Keith Kelly was moved to centre back as Justin Cahill was replaced by Eoin Burns who moved into the corner back position and PJ Cleary went out to right half back, and David Reddan was replaced by Anton Banaghan at centrefield. Seán Kelly raised a white flag to put Kilruane into a one point lead. Morgan Conway and Niall O’Meara made way for James Sullivan and Jamie Heffernan with Thomas Cleary moved out to centrefield and Seán Kelly to centre forward. Kieran Cahill and Ian McSherry were introduced for Eoin Williams and David Williams in to the corner forward positions. Abbeyside scored four unanswered points to leave the score at 0-03 to 0-06 in favour of Abbeyside. In the final minutes Thomas Cleary caught a high ball from the puckout took on his man and crashed home a great goal to level the game. He followed it up straight away with a fine point to leave Kilruane into the break with a one point lead 1-04 to 0-06.

At the start of the second half David Reddan went into goals and Robert Ward replaced Thomas Cleary at centrefield while Niall O’Meara replaced Keith Kelly at centreback. Abbeyside scored four unanswered points before Niall O’Meara scored two points one from play and one from a free to leave a point between the sides at 1-06 to 0-10. Justin Cahill came back on for Jack Peters and David Williams for PJ Cleary. Abbeyside extended the lead to two points with a free. Thomas Cleary came on for Robert Austin and Keith Kelly for Eanna Hogan. Jamie Heffernan operating at right half forward raised a white flag with a well taken point, and James Sullivan at full forward followed that up to level the match with a great point from out the field to leave the score at 1-08 to 0-11. With minutes remaining Abbeyside finished the stronger with three unanswered points to win by a three point margin.

Final Score Kilruane MacDonaghs 1-08 v 0-14 Abbeyside

Team: Robert Ward, PJ Cleary, Eanna Hogan, Robert Austin, Keith Kelly, Justin Cahill, Jack Peters, Morgan Conway, David Reddan, Alan Darcy, Thomas Cleary (1-01), Seán Kelly (0-01), Eoin Williams, Niall O’Meara (0-04, 1 free), David Williams. Subs Eoin Burns, Anton Banaghan, Jamie Heffernan(0-01), James Sullivan (0-01), Kieran Cahill and Ian McSherry.

The final game against the Kerry development squad left us needing a win. Our opponents a big physical team were a group of players picked from the county all on their last year.

They got off to flyer with a well taken goal and Kilruane quickly responded with a point from David Williams. At this stage Kilruane had lots of possession in front of goal and our options left us down on three occasions when we went for goals instead of taking our points. Kerry added a point before the move of the game when Niall O’Meara linked up with Eoin Williams who skilfully flicked the ball into the net off of his left hand side against the onrushing goalkeeper. Scores level at 1-01 each. Kerry added another point before Niall O’Meara levelled the game from a free and Morgan Conway gave Kilruane the lead with a well taken point from the middle of the field. Kerry notched up two more points to leave the half time score at 1-03 to 1-04 in favour of Kerry.

Niall O’Meara restored parity when he scored the first point of the second half. Then Kerry took control and score three unanswered points one of those from a placed ball. At this stage of the game Kilruane began to throw everything at Kerry as they mounted a great response, they can count themselves unfortunate not to get a goal as the team was reshaped in a last throw of the dice. David Reddan who was earlier dispatched to full forward with Thomas Cleary moving to centrefield was told to go back to mind the house at full back. Eanna Hogan went to centre back and Justin Cahill went to centre forward and Niall O’Meara into full forward. During this period the Kerry backs were put under severe pressure as Kilruane went in search of a goal. Eoin Williams raised two white flags either side of a Kerry point to leave the score at 1-06 to 1-08 in favour of Kerry. With time almost up and Kerry hanging on they notched on two more points to leave them with a four point winning margin. Kilruane really upped the intensity of their play in the second half of this game and although they came out on the wrong side of the final score they can be proud of the manner in which they did not capitulate to the Kerry side.

Final Score Kilruane MacDonaghs 1-06 v 1-10 Kerry

Team: Robert Ward, PJ Cleary, Eanna Hogan, Robert Austin, Keith Kelly, Justin Cahill, Jack Peters, David Reddan, Morgan Conway (0-01), Seán Kelly, Thomas Cleary, Alan Darcy, Eoin Williams (1-02), Niall O’Meara (0-02 1 free), David Williams (0-01). Subs James O’Sullivan.

Thanks to Glen Rovers GAA club who invited us to take part in the tournament and looked after the players and management with all they could drink and eat afterwards, a special thanks to tournament co-ordinator Cian O’Brien for the hospitality extended to the Kilruane MacDonagh minor panel.

Thanks to the minor panel who travelled down to Cork considering it was a 7am start it was great to see everyone on the panel make the trip, two of the panel were unavailable due to holidays and work commitments Niall Murphy and Ronan Boyle. Thanks to the management team Brian Gaynor, Mick Cleary, Eoin Hogan, Freddie Williams and to Liam Boyle on first aid.

The Minor panel for the Christy Ring tournament.

Robert Ward, PJ Cleary, Eanna Hogan, Robert Austin, Keith Kelly, Justin Cahill, Jack Peters, David Reddan, Morgan Conway, Seán Kelly, Thomas Cleary, Alan Darcy, Eoin Williams, Niall O’Meara, David Williams, Eoin Burns, James Sullivan, Anton Banaghan, Ian McSherry, Jamie Heffernan and Kieran Cahill.

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