Historic Triumph for our Under 14 Hurlers in Premier Regional Féile na nGael Tournament (Updated)

Read Donal Smith and Martin Laceys write up

21 JUNE 2014

Congratulations to our under 14 Hurling team on a great victory in the Division l Féile na nGael Regional Hurling Tournament held in Thurles on Saturday 21 June 2014.

 

Having captured the Dublin Féile title in convincing style in Parnell Park on 18 May 2014, our under 14 hurlers travelled to Thurles with high hopes of further success.

 

This tournament brought together the best juvenile club teams in Ireland including the Division 1 Champions from Dublin, Kilkenny, Wexford, Galway, Cork, Clare, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford with the County Feile Runners Up from Clare, Kilkenny and Tipperary also taking part.

 

The Line- up of competing teams was as follows:

 

Team 1 Sixmilebridge, Clare

Team 2 Inagh Kilnamona, Clare

Team 3 Midleton, Cork

Team 4 Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin

Team 5 Athenry, Galway

Team 6 Dicksboro, Kilkenny

Team 7 O'Loughlin Gaels, Kilkenny

Team 8 Garryspillane, Limerick

Team 9 Moycarkey Borris, Tipperary    

Team 10 Moyle Rovers, Tipperary   

Team 11   Abbeyside, Waterford  

Team 12 Naomh Eanna, Wexford

 

The 12 clubs participating in the tournament were drawn into 4 qualifying groups of 3 teams each with the winners of each group qualifying for the A Semi Finals, and the A Final to be played on the hallowed turf of Semple Stadium. It was truly a mouthwatering prospect.

 

Kilmacud Crokes’ group opponents were Naomh Eanna of Wexford and Moyle Rovers of Tipperary.

 

Our  panel for the day was as follows:

 

Tadgh Dunbar, Conor Lacey, Cormac Keys, Rory Smith, Tom Stakelum, Ian Walsh, Colin Veale, Sean Kinsella, James Dillon, Niall Comerford, Mark Grogan, Padraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons, Conor Kinsella, Fionn O’Ceallaigh ,  Denis Murray, Anthony Quinn, Stephen Dunne, Joe Proudfoot, James Kos, Tim Leary, Conor Mooney, Gerard Veale.

 

Management and Mentors: John Dillon, Robbie Kinsella, Martin Lacey, Kevin Walsh

 

 

 

Group Match1 Report

 

 Kilmacud Crokes v Naomh Eanna, Wexford

 

The Kilmacud boys got off to a flying start against the Wexford champions. The Crokes mid Division of Sean Kinsella and James Dillon supported from behind by wing backs Tom Stakelum , Colin Veale  and centre back Ian Walsh worked tirelessly to dominate possession and send study stream of high quality ball into the Crokes forward line. Kilmacud opened their account with some quick early scores. We were then treated to a goal of the highest quality. A diagonal pass sent in from the right wing was met on the run outside the 14 yard line by Croke’s Conor Kinsella who soared high in the air and pulled first time on the sliotar to direct an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the Naomh Eanna net. The whole crowd gasped before erupting in applause at this wonderful moment of skill that will live long in the memory. If you paid to see the likes of it in Croke Park it would be money well spent.  The Crokes boys maintained a powerful determination with further scores coming before the break.

 

Team Management took full advantage of Kilmacud’s strong bench which contained strength in depth in all departments and employed a policy of rotation, bringing on substitutes from early in the game. It was clearly considered too that the hot weather conditions might take its toll and using the entire squad throughout the day to the best advantage would be crucial. Indeed the full squad played their part in every game up to the final. Crokes were blessed in this regard as all replacements slotted in effortlessly to the well-oiled pitch unit.

 

Under 13 players Gerald Veale and Conor Mooney were added to the squad for this tournament and both gave a great account of themselves throughout the day. To their credit, the Wexford boys stuck to their task in the second half and put a number of skillful moves together. They were finally rewarded with two well taken goals. The Kilmacud Crokes defensive lines overall proved too much for their brave opponents however with the full back line of Rory Smith, Cormac Keys and Conor Lacey dominating their zones with their usual authority, with Stephen Dunne also giving a polished defensive performance. Kilmacud Crokes ended up winning comfortably.

 

 

Line Up – Tadgh Dunbar, Conor Lacey, Cormac Keys, Rory Smith, Tom Stakelum, Ian Walsh, Colin Veale, Sean Kinsella, James Dillon, Niall Comerford, Mark Grogan, Padraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons, Conor Kinsella, Fionn O’Ceallaigh.

 Subs: Denis Murray, Anthony Quinn,  Stephen Dunne, Joe Proudfoot, James Kos, Tim Leary, Conor Mooney, Gerard Veale.[ all subs Played]

 

 

Our other group opponents Moyle Rovers of Tipperary had also earlier registered a victory over Naomh Eanna, thus setting the stage for a winner-takes-all showdown in the last group match to decide who would advance to the Semi-Final. While the boys were producing hot stuff on the pitch the spectators were also getting a good roasting in scorching weather conditions. Water was being consumed by the bottle load both on and off the pitch. Minor worries were injury scares for wing forward Niall Comerford and wing back Colin Veale. Thankfully both were fit enough to compete in the later games. Meanwhile a queue for sandwiches had formed outside the local shop whose surprised owners  had to call in their own subs to keep the sambos coming for the hungry fans.

Group Match 2 Report

Kilmacud Crokes v Moyle Rovers Tipperary

 

The Kilmacud boys now clearly had the bit between their teeth. All of the players had  tasted action  first time out and were hungry for more. The Crokes’ players raised their game to a new level as they hurled into Moyle Rovers with a passion . Their Tipperary opponents were not prepared for the power and physicality of the Kilmacud boys.

 

The talented mid division of Kilmacud Crokes once again dominated possession. Kilmacud opened their account with some nice scores. The full forward line of Eddie Gibbons, Conor Kinsella and Fionn O’Ceallaigh were relishing the quality ball fed into them from midfield and the Crokes back lines. In particular Fionn showed great determination as he fearlessly flung himself at every goal scoring opportunity. No ball was a lost cause for him and he was rewared with a well taken goal.

 

Padraig Purcell and Mark Grogan showed great invention and skill in the half forward line jinking and soloing past their opponents and sending in accurate and telling passes and picking off scores of their own. The most impressive player on the pitch for Moyle Rovers was possibly their goalkeeper who made numerous fine saves throughout the game.

 

In the second half the Dublin boys continued to play with assurance. The forwards kept picking off scores and full back line prevented any goal chances for their dogged opponents.

 

Once again team management rotated their entire squad onto the field throughout the game. All Kilmacud players leaving the field on being substituted received warm applause for their great displays.On the side line one could hear parents of the Tipperary boys remarking at the extremely high skill levels and athletic quality of the Croke’s players.

 

Crokes goalkeeper Tadhg Dunbar gave his usual assured performance calmly dealing with any balls coming his way no matter what the pressure and as always spraying long and short  pin point accurate passes all over the pitch as the occasion demanded.

 

Captain Cormac Keys gave a wonderful full back display dominating his area which he continued to do throughout the tournament. Joe Proudfoot was introduced and gave a marvellous display of hurling, joining his defensive colleagues in mopping up ball after ball and driving long passes into the Moyle Rovers’s half.  Denis Murray, James Kos and Tim Leary showed the strength in depth of the Kilmacud forward prowess creating and taking some fine scores. The power and pace of Kilmacud Crokes proved too much for Moyle Rovers and Crokes now had a semi-final to look forward to.

 

 

Line Up: Tadgh Dunbar, Conor Lacey, Cormac Keys, Rory Smith, Tom Stakelum, Ian Walsh, Colin Veale, Sean Kinsella, James Dillon, Denis Murray, Mark Grogan, Padraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons, Conor Kinsella, Fionn O’Ceallaigh.

Subs: Anthony Quinn,  Stephen Dunne, Joe Proudfoot, James Kos, Tim Leary, Conor Mooney, Gerard Veale. [all subs used]

The outcome of the group stages resulted in semi-final pairings of Kilmacud Crokes v O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) and Midleton (Cork) v Sixmilebridge (Clare), or the Leinster and Munster Finals as one spectator termed it.

 

Semi Final

 

Kilmacud Crokes v O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny)

 

The sun was beating down as the teams took the pitch, both within touching distance of the opportunity to play in Semple Stadium, the next 30 minutes of hurling to decide which team made it to the inner sanctum of hurling.

 

 

Crokes started strongly opening their account through  Conor Kinsella who fielded a high ball on the 25 yard line and before sprinting  goalwards to dispatch a blistering shot to the OLG net. Minutes later Fionn O’Ceallaigh rattled the OLG net with  a second goal which helped settle the nerves of players and supporters alike. Again the defensive line withstood everything their opponents threw at them and this gave heart to the Crokes midfield and forwards who started to pick off score after score. A skirmish in the OLG box which was notified to the referee by an umpire unfortunately led to the dismissal of a Croke’s forward and the OLG goalkeeper – both teams being reduced to 14 men coming up to half time.

 

This didn’t stop the forward momentum of Crokes however and further scores early in the second half settled this as a contest. Anthony Quinn, James Dillon and  Padraig Purcell  caught the eye with some well taken points with  Padraig Purcell added a goal and four points to the Crokes account . In fairness to OLG, they kept battling and picked off a few late consolation scores.

 

Final Score: Kilmacud Crokes 5:10   O’Loughlin Gaels 2-03

 

 

Line Up: Tadgh Dunbar, Conor Lacey, Cormac Keys, Rory Smith, Tom Stakelum, Ian Walsh, Colin Veale, Sean Kinsella, James Dillon, Denis Murray, Mark Grogan, Padraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons, Conor Kinsella, Fionn O’Ceallaigh.

Subs: Niall Comerford, Anthony Quinn,  Stephen Dunne, Joe Proudfoot, James Kos, Tim Leary, Conor Mooney, Gerard Veale. [all subs used]

 

 

 

 

 

Having spent the day in the sunny surrounds of Dr Morris Park, the Crokes bandwagon decamped to Semple Stadium for the final decider. Their opponents, Midleton of Cork, had shown fine style throughout the day accounting for Athenry and Dicksboro in the “group of death” and then comfortably overcoming the highly fancied Sixmilebridge team in the semi-final.

 

Final Match Report

 

Kilmacud Crokes  v Midleton (Cork)

 

The Kilmacud team had the distinction of using the changing room facilities in Semple Stadium throughout the day and thus were used to their surroundings in advance of the final. This time though rather than leaving the stadium to play in the adjoining Dr Morris Park, they exited out the player’s tunnel straight onto the green baize of Semple. The tension was palpable on both the pitch and the sideline as the teams lined up for the first ever final under this new format – both teams knew that the winner would have the distinction of being the first name on the Corn Sheamuis Ui Riain, named in honour of the past president of the GAA whose brainchild was the Feile tournament .

 

Crokes started strongly and a goal from Mark Grogan helped settle the team.

Sean Kinsella and James Dillon and Padraig Purcell  began to cut loose in centre field and it seemed as if the Kilmacud team might have the fresher legs. Conor Mooney playing up in age and gave a great display showing no nerves on the big occasion.Points from James Dillon, Anthony Quinn and Eddie Gibbons gave Crokes an early lead. The Crokes backs Rory Smith Cormac Keys Conor Lacy and Colin Veale were on top form and  seemed to have the measure of the Middleton forwards.  Midleton eventually found their rhythm and increased their work rate  providing  stern opposition in centre field. The Corkonians picked off three points from well taken long rang  frees to stay in touch. A rasping shot from Niall Comerford rattled the Midleton crossbar and flew up over the bar. Several near misses for Kilmacud ensued leaving the team up by 4 points at the short whistle, 1:4 to 0:3.

 

Midleton came out on fire at the start of the second half however and a quick goal and point suddenly brought the teams back to level pegging. After a period of parity  Crokes began to dominate around the middle of the field with Sean Kinsella James Dillon and Mark Grogan roaming tirelessly resulting in Midleton bringing one of their full forward line back to the centre field to try to stem the flow of ball into the Crokes full forward line. That proved to be a tactical error which was seized upon by the  Kilmacud management. Cornerback Joe Proudfoot  moved into  a  sweepers role between the defensive lines and intercepted numerous Middleton passes driving them back down the field with interest . Crokes Centre back Ian Walsh was also proving to be a dominant influence behind midfiled while  Tom Stakelum was  playing with skill and passion on the famous pitch once graced by his father.

 

Scoring chances came and went for kilmacud with both shots for goals and points narrowly missing their target. Crokes battled hard  with Denis Murray and  Stephen Dunne getting stuck in. With only minutes remaining the score remained 1:4 apiece. Mark Grogan, who was exemplary throughout the tournament, then picked the ball up in centre field and dinked past a few opponents before shooting from the 40. The ball sailed high over the bar, a beautiful sight for the Crokes band of supporters. There were still a few nervous moments to be endured but the back line stood firm until the final whistle and Crokes emerged winners by the narrowest of margins in an epic battle with their industrious opponents.

 

Final Score: Kilmacud Crokes 1-05   Midleton Gaels 1-04

 

Line Up- Tadgh Dunbar, Conor Lacey, Cormac Keys, Rory Smith, Tom Stakelum, Ian Walsh, Colin Veale, Sean Kinsella, James Dillon, Niall Comerford, Mark Grogan, Padraig Purcell, Eddie Gibbons,  Fionn O’Ceallaigh , Anthony Quinn.     Subs: Denis Murray, Stephen Dunne, Joe Proudfoot, James Kos, Tim Leary, Conor Mooney, Gerard Veale.

 

 

Crokes captain, Cormac Keys collected the Cup from the Chairman of the Tipperary County Board to the shouts of joy from his teammates and the travelling Crokes support.

 

The Management would like to thank Niall Corcoran for his help and assistance in the build up to the Dublin Feile and the National Competition as well as his assistance on the field – the players were well warmed up for every game! A special word of thanks also to club hurling chairman Peter Walsh who gave his support to the team both on the day and also throughout the year.