Gurteen was the venue on Friday evening for the under 14A Championship final between Sixmilebridge and Feakle/Killanena. The rain cleared away minutes before throw in and there was a cross field breeze favouring neither side but making scoring more difficult. Feakle/Killanena had the quicker of starts and on 4 minutes James Greene opened their scoring with a well taken point. A minute later Keith Smyth pointed from a free to put the East Clare side two up and very much in control of the match. Evan Murphy kept the Bridge in touch with a pointed free and they then started to come more and more into the game. Smyth pointed again in the 11th for Feakle/Killanena to go up by 2 points. From the puck out Colin Kelly won possession and made a run at the Feakle/Killanena goal hit a lovely shot which was well stopped by Seamus O’Donnell only for the rebound to be put in the back of the net by the quick touch of Dara Casey. It was Casey again 5 minutes later with a lovely point. Both sides’ swapped points with Noel Flynn and the ever threatening Smyth converting to leave the halftime score Sixmilebridge 1-03 Feakle/Killanena 0-4 with the East Clare side doing most of the hurling but the Bridge ahead on the score board.
The second half started with Oisin Clune winning possession from the throw in. He took off on a blistering run towards the Bridge goal and hit a powerful shot which was expertly saved by Cian Fawl out over the line for a 65 which Smyth pointed. It was a big break for the Bridge and 2 minutes later they got an even bigger break when Colin Kelly hit a nice pass to David Kennedy who from 40 yards out struck what looked like a point but just at the last second the ball dipped over the keeper into to the Feakle/Killanena net. The next ten minutes was tough hurling with both sides cancelling each other out on the score board with two points each with David Kennedy and Colm Flynn pointing for the Bridge and the now rampant Smyth getting two as well. Feakle/Killanena pressure was becoming more and more intense with the midfield pairing of Oisin Clune and Ronan O’Connor beginning to get on top and supplying a steady stream of ball into their danger man Keith Smyth and in a eight minute spell from the 12th to the 20th minute he wreaked havoc scoring 2-05 without reply to finish this final as a contest. Dylan Dunne scrambled the ball over the end line on 22 minutes for Sixmilebridge but is was Smyth again with two more before Ronan O’Connor finished the scoring for Feakle/Killanena with two minutes remaining. Feakle/Killanena had won their first U14A county final as an amalgamation and on the balance of play they deserved it.
For Sixmilebridge Cian Fawl was excellent in goal making several good saves, Scott Kirkland, David Kenndy, Evan Murphy, Colin Kelly, and Dara Casey also played well.
For Feakle/Killanena Keith Smyth was immense and in truth he was the difference between the two sides and he got very good support play from Oisin Clune, Ronan O’Connor, and Ian McNamara while at the back Adam Hogan and Jack O’Donnell were very effective.
Sixmilebridge: Cian Fawl, Michael Carey, Evan O’Callaghan, Morgan O’Connell, Scott Kirkland, Colin Kelly, Adam Murray, David Kennedy (1-01), Evan Murphy(0-1f), Oisin Breen, Seamus O’Connell, Colm Flynn (0-1), Dara Casey(1-01), Luke O’Halloran, Noel Flynn (0-1). Subs: James Egan for Luke O’Halloran, Ian Collins for Adam Murray, Dylan Dunne for Oisin Breen, Oran Carey for Michael Carey, Coby McDonald for Dara Casey, Gary O’Callaghan, Jack Hughes, Edmond O’Grady, Conor Gilligan, Cian Gleeson, Conor Murphy, Calum Desmond Lynch.
Management: Michael O’Halloran, Brian O’Connell, Brendan O’Callaghan, Alan Murphy, John Carey, Martin Breen, (First aid) Noel Halpin.
Feakle/Killanena: Seamus O’Donnell, Rory McNamara, Adam McNamara, Ryan Keane, Jack O’Donnell, Darren McMahon, Eoghan Daly, Oisin Clune, Ronan O’Connor(0-1), James Greene(0-1), Ian McNamara Oisin O’Connor, Christopher Maloney, Keith Smyth (2-12, 0-6F), Neill Callaghan, Sean Walsh, Patrick Daly, Conor McGann, Ronan Keane, Oisin Minogue, Eoghan McGann.
Management: Gary Guilfoyle, David McNamara, Eibhear Quilligan, Martin Smyth, (Physio) Aoibheann Donnellan.
By Fergal and Breda Kennedy