CROKES OVERCOME SPIRITED MEARNÓG TO SET UP SEMI FINAL WITH LUCAN!

CROKES OVERCOME SPIRITED MEARNÓG TO SET UP SEMI FINAL WITH LUCAN!

(Match report by Diarmuid Coogan.)

U14 DIVISION 1 HURLING: Nh.MEARNÓG 1-6  KILMACUD CROKES U14 A 2-12

Crokes U14’s won their 2nd group game in the U14 Division 1 Cup to set up a “de facto” semi Final with Lucan on Saturday 9th October.

Crokes opened the scoring in the 2nd minute when dynamic left half forward Connie O’Sullivan hit a fine point from 20 metres on the left. However any thoughts of this being an easy match were dispelled when Mearnóg stuck with a goal 2 minutes later. (0-1 to 1-0)

Crokes responded and following good pressure by forwards Ross Gargan and Conall Criostoir, full forward Tom Curtin tapped over.

Mearnóg added another point before centre back Rory Flannery hit one of his trade mark frees from 65 metres! (0-3 to 1-1)

The home side extended the lead again before Fintan Lydon and Tom Curtin scored great points to draw level at the water break.

(0-5 to 1-2)

Crokes took the lead again on 16 minutes when Criostoir profited from tremendous pressure by Gargan on the Mearnóg defenders.

(0-6 to 1-2)

O’Sullivan (2) and Lydon traded points with Mearnóg to leave Crokes leading 0-9 to 1-5 with half time approaching.

MOMENT OF MADNESS!

Then a moment of madness cost the home team the game. They were attacking deep into the Crokes half when their ball carrier was dragged down by a Crokes player about 35 metres out. The referee blew for a free but the Mearnóg player saw red and struck the Crokes player with his hurl leaving the referee no option but to show him the red card.

To rub salt in the wounds, the scorable free was now a throw ball from which Crokes cleared the ball out to their 65 metre line where they won a free. Up stepped the “Iceman” Flannery and struck another boomer on the stroke of half time! (0-10 to 1-5)

Instead of going in level Mearnóg were now 2 points and, more seriously, a player down.

2nd HALF.

Although facing tough odds, Mearnóg battled very well in the 3rd quarter and limited Crokes to 1 point (another good effort by Curtin). They gave Crokes some very nervous moments when the Crokes defence failed to clear a speculative ball on the right of the goal; a Mearnóg forward drove a low shot towards the left corner but goal keeper Conor Coogan made a reflex save before gathering and driving the ball clear.

Then in the 45th minute wing back James Ryan won possession on the left and fed a good ball to Lydon in space. Lydon ran hard at the defence before offloading an inch perfect pass to Curtin on the right of the “large parallelogram” and he gave the goal keeper no chance with a powerful finish leaving his side 6 points up at the water break. (1-11 to 1-5)

Mearnóg again rallied in the 4th quarter and got the 1st point. If they could get the next score, it would make for an exciting last 10 minutes. However in the 53rd minute, Ryan “essayed” a line ball on the 65 metre line on the left. With no one in space ahead of him, he cleverly played the sliothar back to the unmarked Flannery and he delivered another boomer into the left of the square where u13 sub Ryan Crowley plucked the ball out of the air before driving it into the bottom right corner with his 1st touch of the game!! (2-11 to 1-6)

Talk about an “impact substitution!

The “Iceman” added another free for Crokes to put a slightly flattering complexion on the score line! (2-12 to

1-6)

While the margin of victory may look comfortable, this was a hard fought win and exactly the preparation that Crokes need before facing Lucan in a winner takes all clash on Saturday 9th October.

Crokes: 1.C.Coogan,H.Brosnan,F.Donohoe,D.Linehan,T.Ambrose,R.Flannery,J.Ryan,F.Lydon,E.O’Donovan,R.McNamara,C.Criostoir,

C.O’Sullivan, C.Moriarty,T.Curtin,R.Gargan.

Subs:M.O’Rafferty for Ambrose, J.Axellsson for Moriarty, R.Crowley for Gargan.