U14 hurlers All Ireland Feile Winners
Our first match was against the fabled Ahane club from Limerick. All the matches were of short duration, just 30 mins each, and fortunately we were able to get into our stride quickly here. We controlled possession throughout the match, with a big factor in our dominance being the performance of Daragh McLoughney at wing back, especially on their puck outs, and he was even able to push on from there to finish with 1-2 from play from wing back.
Scores were initially slow to come and we got just 3 points for our efforts in first half. However, the second half saw same pattern as the first, with Syls dominating possession and some good off the ball running created space for McLoughney to solo through and bury the goal for us which gave us breathing space. The points began to flow after that, with 2 lovely Sean Guiden efforts to finish it up at 1 - 8 to 0 - 2.
The second match against Broadford from Clare was a much tougher affair with them getting 2 early goals to leave us with a potential mountain to climb. While overall we weren't contesting as well as in the first match, we managed to hang in there and had the good fortune to have two chances fall to our regular goal king Eoghan Buckley who duly despatched both to leave us in front at half time by a point, 2-1 to 2-0, despite being outfought for most of first half.
However we duly upped our game in 2nd half, and although we were reliant on the excellent free taking of Conor Hoyne for scores, it was enough to put some distance between us. Andrew Roe was brilliant at centre back in this match, completely closing down their main player, with Matthew Brenner equally never giving an inch to their other star forward. Two Broadford frees did get it back to a goal between us, so it was nervy to the end, and indeed it took an outstanding save from Calum Clarke at the finish to maintain the lead, but we got there and won in the end on a scoreline of 2 - 5 to 2 - 2 to qualify for the final.
The final then in Pearse Stadium (which was in absolutely immaculate condition) was also a hard fought encounter against Ardrahan from Galway. Frees were main source of scores early on even though we were hurling well from the start. Ardrahan played a 2 man full forward line, but they got no change out of that with Jack Boyne outstanding at full back and Daire DeBurca beside him, both anticipating and first to every ball that came in. This gave us a great platform to build from and Cian Grassick was proving to be a great outlet for balls into forward line and was instrumental in most of our good attacks. The pressure began to pay and a point each in quick succession from McLoughney & Buckley had us 3 points up at half time and looking to push on from there.
Ardrahan however rallied in 2nd half and looked like they might grab the momentum but then the character of this team came to the fore again, with Euan Farquharson, the ultimate lead-by-example captain, being everywhere the ball was in the 2nd half. The key moment of the match turned out to be our only score of the 2nd half. An absolutely brilliantly simple pass from Buckley released Hoyne, who kept his composure to solo on under pressure & bat past the goalie for a goal that put us out to 4 in front. Ardrahan came back at us, but brilliant defending kept them at bay and the pressure abated somewhat and while they did get it back to a point at the finish, we had done more than enough to claim a famous victory.
We're certainly very proud of the achievement of all the lads to win the title competing against a number of top Division 1 sides from other counties. We brought 25 players to Galway (2 lads were away) and while I haven't mentioned them all above, every one of them played some part over the course of the day. We have always emphasised that in a team sport such as hurling, you need everyone doing their stuff and cannot be relying on a few key guys. In this respect, each of the panel have really trained on this year and their individual contributions have all contributed very positively to our collective performances this year so far.
Our final league match before summer break is against top-of-the-table Clondalkin in Bridgefield next Tuesday evening (30th June). All support more than welcome, and believe me you'll enjoy it!
'Hon the parish!
U14 Hurling Panel: Dylan Andrews, Tom Bennett, Killian Bousfield, Jack Boyne, Matthew Brenner, Eoghan Buckley, Calum Clarke, Pearse Clyne, Sean Curran, Daire DeBurca, David Deneher, Conor Duffy, Euan Farquharson, Ronan Furlong, Cian Grassick, Sean Guiden, Tom Hogan, Conor Hoyne, Krisna Joyce, Aaron Lambe, Craig McGrattan, Daragh McLoughney, Sean Murphy, Conor O'Brien, Andrew Roe, Niall Smyth, Ollie Twomey.