Sweet Victory for U16s in Great Final

The harder the road, the sweeter the victory was the chorus of all concerned with the Kilmacud Crokes under 16A hurlers at Claughran on Saturday 14 October 2006.  As the skies darkened at the airport venue the Crokes hurlers were crowned worthy Dublin Championship winners after a journey that had seen them win successive heart stopping games against St Brigids (2005 under 215 champions), Cuala and Ballyboden St Endas.

06114_U16A_bboden23.jpg This was a compelling game, played ferociously, with quarter neither asked nor given.  Boden had a point on the board in the first minute only for Matthew Kinsella to reply in kind immediately.  We had not reached the three minute mark before Boden were back level.  A number of Crokes attacks over the next six minutes did not yield a score although the resultant shot from one great catch by Chris Cunningham from a Mark Coughlan (who had an outstanding game at midfield) sideline went just wide and good runs by Killian Motherway did not get the reward they deserved.  In the ninth minute Crokes pressure saw the ball cleared to Eoin Culligan who put it over from 20 metres.  Man of the match Brian Hanamy caught the puck out and when fouled sent the sliothar to Kevin O’Loughlin who pointed.  Three minutes later centre forward Culligan won a good ball and put over after a strong run.  A Boden attack in the following minute drew a foul which their right half forward converted.

From there to half time Crokes were on top but not by much.  The defence where Arthur Eastwood-Lyons was forceful and Donal Monnelly tigerish had to be at its best.  A great catch and clearance by Gary McMorrow in the 18th minute exemplified what was best about Crokes defensive play.  Up the field Ben Logan gave great support to his partner Coughlan and the Crokes attack was moving well.  In the twentieth minute a good Chris Cunningham shot was parried by the Ballyboden goalkeeper (who earlier had made two excellent saves) but Matthew Kinsella was on hand to finish to the net.  Six minutes later a good double by Cunningham was not far wide.  Almost immediately Kevin O’Loughlin pointed from a 52 metre free near the right sideline and in the twenty ninth minute he repeated the dose from 25 metres.

Leading by 1-6 to 0-3 at the interval the Crokes goalmouth came under immediate pressure on the restart with impressive goalkeeper Barry Mulligan have to clear straight away.  Shortly after Kevin O’Loughlin pointed a 70 metre free but within two minutes Boden had the margin back to six from a placed ball.  Eight ding dong minutes were to pass before a Boden goal from a 20 metre free really set the cat among the pigeons.  In the 43rd minute the gap was down to two and three minutes later it was one.  Now Ballyboden were in the ascendancy but a number of wides from play (often under intense Crokes pressure) and frees were to eventually cost them dearly even though by minute fifty the sides were level. 

In the fifty first minute another free saw Boden go a point up.  This was when Crokes really showed their character.  Bill O’Carroll and Niall Mulligan at right and left half back respectively did not give an inch while Barra O’Leidhin came much more into the game.  Substitutes Naomhan O’Riordan and Eoin McArthur were working to good effect and a Kevin O’Loughlin free on fifty four minutes saw parity restored.  Crokes won the puck out and good passing saw the ball end with O’Loughlin whose point was to be the winning one.  Boden however refused to acknowledge this and put the Crokes goal under enormous pressure for the remainder of the game which only heroic defending kept out.

Al in all a great day for Kilmacud Crokes hurling as the Paddy O’Brien Memorial Cup was captured for the first time in twenty two years.  Scenes of unbridled joy followed the final whistle before joint captains Mark Coughlan and Brian Hanamy accepted the trophy from Dublin chairman Alan O’Connor who also presented Hanamy with his man of the match award.  Many congratulations to all involved in particular the management team of Pat Fenlon, Mick Hynes, Ciaran Hynes, Ken Hanamy and Aodhan de Paor for giving us such a wonderful year and fantastic finale.

Half time           Kilmacud Crokes 1-6               Ballyboden 0-3

Full Time          Kilmacud Crokes 1-9               Ballyboden 1-8

Team:

Barry Mulligan, Gary McMorrow, Arthur Eastwood-Lyons, Donal Monnelly, Bill O’Carroll, Brian Hanamy, Niall Mulligan, Mark Coughlan, Ben Logan, Killian Motherway, Eoin Culligan (0-2), Barra O’Leidhin, Kevin O’Loughlin (0-6, f 0-4), Chris Cunningham, Matthew Kinsella (1-1).  Subs: Naomhan O’Riordan for K Motherway, Eoin McArthur for B Logan, Andy Whelan, Shane Timmons, Geoff Murphy, Sean McGrath, Alan Carr, Eddie Byrne (injured), Darren McVeigh (injured).

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