Minors must try again (on 18 Nov)

Opponents Na Fianna set down a marker in this Minor A Hurling Championship decider in the very first minute, winning the throw in and drawing a free which their star forward Wayne Brogan converted.  From the puck out Conor Clinton picked up in loose play and replied in kind.  The sides then exchanged wides before Eoin Culligan fed Ronan Walsh.  The right half back’s strong run drew the cover.  A pinpoint off load set up Sean McGrath for a peach of a goal from 20 metres in the seventh minute.  Two minutes later Brogan registered his second point.  Two Crokes wides followed before Conor Clinton ran at the Moibhi Road men’s goal and put over.  In the fifteenth minute Sean McGrath put four between the teams from a free.

Na Fianna had two wides before Brogan caught and split the posts in the twenty first minute.  Mark Coughlan won the puck and passed to Clinton who notched up his third minor.   Within a minute Na Fianna were right back in it.  Again Brogan grabbed a high ball.   This time he ran at the Crokes goal and found the net with a blistering shot from over 20 metres.  In the twenty fourth minute Na Fianna attacked.  The Crokes clearance came to the Na Fianna centre forward who brought the sides level at 1-4 apiece.  Three minutes before the short whistle Conor Clinton got his fourth point of the day from a free 65 metres out on the left sideline.  From another placed ball in the same spot a minute later the same player was just the wrong side of the upright. 

If the first half had the cardiologists tingling in anticipation, the second must have had then positively salivating.  In the opening minute Na Fianna drove forward from a midfield tussle and were awarded a free on the 20 metre line.  Back chat from the Crokes defence saw the ball moved to straight in front of goal.  Brogan’s conversion was a formality.  A mishit clearance then gifted the northsiders the lead by the minimum and shortly after they spurned the chance to go further ahead with a poor wide.  The tussle for the puck out resulted in a free which Clinton converted from 65 metres.  Wides were swapped and in the fortieth minute a Niall Butler block down saw the ball come into his palm.  From thirty metres he gave Crokes the lead.  The puck out came to the Na Fianna number 9 and the game was level for the fourth time. 

Two Crokes wides presaged a Na Fianna three point scoring spree.  Crokes were on the rack.  To their credit the kept fighting.  A Rob O’Loughlin ball dropped around the Na Fianna goal.  Barry O’Rorke was unlucky not to finish but Brian Hanamy was on hand to level in the fifty first minute.  The next eight minutes were scoreless but incident packed.  A Na Fianna free came back off the post and was cleared.  Two Crokes wides sandwiched a Na Fianna miss as each team strove to wrest the initiative.  Then in the fifty ninth minute the referee deemed Rory O’Carroll to have picked a ball 30 metres from his own goal and straight in front.  Na Fianna accepted the gift.  It looked like curtains for Richard Stakelum’s boys.  But there were twists left yet.  A minute into injury time Crokes pressed.  Na Fianna cleared.  Rob O’Loughlin grabbed, steadied himself and pointed from 45 metres to save the bacon.  Or so it looked.  The anticipated final whistle did not come.  Crokes attacked again.  Conor Clinton drove down the right wing and his off load looked to set Crokes up for a chance of the winner.  As breaths were inhaled, for reasons best known to himself, the referee signaled a free out.  Apprehension swung the Kilmacud way.  In the event the Na Fianna effort from 100 metres went wide but not before emotions had well and truly extended the pendulum at both ends.

2-8 to 1-11, there was no time for the puck out.  At the end of an exhilarating contest the crowd rose to their feet to applaud both sides off.  The date for the second serving has yet to be fixed but few who attended the first installment will miss it.  Comhghairdeachas d'uilig.

Team:

R Tighe, S McNicholas, R O’Carroll, G McMorrow, R Walsh, W McEvoy, R O’Loughlin (0-1), E Culligan, C Clinton (0-5, f -2), B O’Rorke, M Coughlan, B O’Leidhin, B Hanamy (1-0), N Butler (0-1) S McGrath (1-1, f -1).  Subs: C O’Grady for B O’Leidhin (half time), P Tighe, O Turley, N Mulligan, B Mulligan, K Motherway, C Carolan, D Monnelly, C Cunningham, C Caulfield, D Brennan, K Noctor, A Whelan, F Hanley, N McIntyre, K O’Loughlin, E O’Sullivan and C Thornton.

 

For the Hill16 match report click  HERE 

 

The replay has been scheduled for Parnell Park on Sunday 18th November at 12:30pm. Do make every effort to come out and support the team!!