Minor Championship Win
Minors Championship Win
A first minute surge by centre back William McEvoy set the tone. His ball found Kevin O’Loughlin who passed to Mark Coughlan. The wing forward was fouled and O’Loughlin converted. Three minutes later Brian Hanamy set up Barry O’Rorke for the second point of the game. Na Fianna immediately cut the deficit to one and we had to wait nearly ten minutes for the next score when a good run and offload by Niall Butler set up Kevin O’Loughlin for an over the shoulder point. In the sixteenth minute Barry O’Rorke got on the end of a breaking ball and made it 0-4 to 0-1 for Crokes. At this stage the Crokes tactic of playing the ball low into the full forward line was beginning to pay dividends. At the other end Na Fianna were trying something similar with their danger men Wayne Brogan and Johnny Cooper in the corners but corner backs Shane McNicholas and Gary McMorrow were more than able for the challenge even if the Moibhi Road side did point a free in the seventeenth minute.
Two Crokes wides prefaced a pointed 50 metre free from Kevin O’Loughlin on twenty two minutes and in the twenty fourth minute came one of the game’s crucial events. An attempt at a point from Barry O’Rorke from 45 metres dropped short and found its way to the net off the Na Fianna goalkeeper’s hurley. The Kilmacud lads won the puck out. Conor Clinton was fouled as he advanced. Kevin O’Loughlin pointed from 45 metres to make it 1-6 to 0-2. In the remaining six minutes of the half neither side could add to the scoreline. This was in no small measure due to a terrific rob by Shane McNicholas when it looked certain Na Fianna would goal in the twenty ninth minute.
The second half throw in produced a bout of close play. Eventually the bustling Eoin Culligan dug the ball out and fed Conor Clinton. He sent in for Barry O’Rorke to point and there was now an eight point gap. Na Fianna made a double substitution in the thirty eight minute and immediately reaped a two point dividend. Just before this it took a crunching tackle from captain Ronan Walsh to stem a very dangerous Na Fianna move on goal. At this point the northsiders were on top and only a good save at the expense of a 65 from the alert Richie Tighe kept the Crokes goal intact.
In the forty seventh minute some good interplay between Mark Coughlan and Rob O’Loughlin set the latter up for a good point from 50 metres. Two minutes later brother Kevin was on the mark from a 30 metre free. In the fifty fifth minute Sean McGrath got the point his hard work deserved with a lovely catch and turn from 25 metres. There were to be just two further scores but the game still had its drama. In the fifty ninth minute Na Fianna were awarded a 20 metre free. Brogan’s blast at goal was turned over the bar by full back Rory O’Carroll. With time almost up Barry O’Rorke slipped over his fourth point of the day to give a final score of 1-11 to 0-5.
This was an impressive replay victory for the Crokes lads who over the hour’s play were on top in all positions. It was the culmination of many years hard work for the boys, their various coaches, families and the club. Let us now hope they will all go on to further success and enjoyment as adult hurlers in the years to come. Special congratulations and thanks must be extended to the management team of Richard Stakelum, Tom Rock, Mick Carolan and Billy Noctor who has guided the lads through from their first hurling steps. Apart from all their other work, the comprehensive nature of the win owed a lot to their shrewd tactical analysis and readjustment following the drawn game. We must also recognise the role played by the minor B management over the past two years which had a huge influence in the shaping of the team.
R Tighe, S McNicholas, R O’Carroll, G McMorrow, R Walsh, W McEvoy, R O’Loughlin (0-1), E Culligan, C Clinton, M Coughlan, B Hanamy, N Butler, K O’Loughlin (0-5, f-4), B O’Rorke (1-4), S McGrath (0-1). Subs: C O’Grady for S McGrath (57 min), B O’Leidhinn for N Butler, P Igoe for S McNicholas (60 min), O Turley for G McMorrow (60 min), C Carolan for R O’Loughlin (61 min), N Mulligan, B Mulligan, K Motherway, D Monnelly, C Cunningham, C Caulfield, D Brennan, K Noctor, A Whelan, F Hanley, N McIntyre, K Dias, C Caffrey, A McPhilips, E O’Sullivan and C Thornton.