Sixmilebridge 3-12 St. Joeseph’s Doora/Barefield 3-14 AET.
Sixmilebridge was the venue for this under 15A Shield semi final last Saturday evening with St. Joeseph’s Doora Barefield providing the opposition. Played under lights in dry calm conditions, the ‘Bridge got off to a flyer and within 30 seconds Luke O’Halloran had the first score on the board with a well taken point. They continued to dominate proceedings throughout the first half playing some excellent quick hurling all over the field with the forward line being fed lovely ball from the midfield pairing of David Kennedy and Noel Flynn, who were completely in control. The forwards made effective use of this supply, with Luke O’Halloran, Dara Casey, and Colm Flynn all scoring goals. The midfield pairing also chipped in with a point each. At the other end of the pitch the ‘Bridge backs held D/B scoreless from play for the first 25 mins with Cian Moloney finally getting a point for the away side, leaving the score at the interval 3-6 to 0-2 in favour of the ‘Bridge. Job done. Well, not quite.
With a tough first round fixture in the A competition away to Clooney-Quin scheduled for Sunday morning, the ‘Bridge made some changes at half time. Given the 13 point lead and home advantage, it was expected that the ‘Bridge lads would go out and build upon their first half display.
Instead, the second half began with D/B looking a lot livelier, going on the attack immediately running at the ‘Bridge goal with intent. Their first attempt looked to be fizzling out with the ball going across the goal and going wide but it deflected off one of the ‘Bridge backs and into the back of the net for an own goal. 3 minutes later Conal O’Regan was on hand to finish off another D/B attack into the back of the net. The ‘Bridge back line was under pressure and their cause was not helped by the fact that as soon as they cleared the ball it was coming back in, with the D/B midfield now completely in control.
D/B kept turning the screw, never panicked and just kept eating away at the score line, with Morgan Lahiffe pointing two frees and one from play to bring the deficit to 4 points 15 minutes in. Joe Daly got another before James Egan gave the ‘Bridge some bit of breathing space, with a point on twenty minutes to push it back out to 4 points. D/B kept to their task and on 26 minutes Bryan Ruane pointed, followed a minute later by a well taken goal from Joe Daly.
The sides were level and momentum was with D/B heading towards full time. The ‘Bridge brought back on Scott Kirkland, David Kennedy, and Luke O’Halloran for the final few minutes to try and rescue a game that was slipping away from them. 2 minutes into injury time and D/B got a free in from 30 metres, which Morgan Lahiffe made sure of, to go in front for the first time in the game. It looked like it was over but from the puckout David Kennedy won possession and made a run at the D/B goal with 3 D/B defenders in hot pursuit. He took his point to force the game to extra time.
Extra time was 10 minutes per half and the ‘Bridge went back in front with a Kennedy free on 4 minutes. For the rest of the half D/B took over scoring 3 unanswered points to go in 2 points up. It was Kennedy again who levelled matters with two points one from a free in the third and fourth minute of the second period of extra time. The game was on a knife edge swinging one way then the other but it was going to be D/B’s greater work rate and belief that was to win out in the end. When Cian Gleeson levelled the match for the third time in extra time on 7 mins D/B kicked on with the last two points of the game, the final one coming from Conal O’Regan who was outstanding for the visitors.
So defeat was our lot and a harsh lesson for our lads to take, but in their development as players this will hopefully act as a reminder for a long time to come of how quickly momentum can go from a team in a fast-moving dynamic sport like Hurling. Underage Hurling is still thankfully a game played on a man-to-man basis without any tactical systems so it’s you as a player against an opponent of similar age and size, and that’s where every game is won or lost.
The Bord na nOg Shield competitions are a wonderful opportunity for underage players to develop. Some players are further along their development , understanding and ability to play the game at 14 or 15 years of age. The most important thing is we give Credit to all our players who made themselves available and who went out and represented themselves and their Club this year at U14, U16 Shield and last weekend at U15, which is run on a knockout basis at this time of year. We are convinced all the match time and training they have experienced this year with different coaches will stand to them in their future endeavours.
Congratulations to D/B who showed great courage and determination to come back from 13 points down to win this game. We look forward to renewing rivalry with them in the future.
Sixmilebridge: Cian Fawl, Morgan O’Connell, Conor Morey, Michael Carey, Adam Murray, Evan O’Callaghan, Scott Kirkland, David Kennedy (0-5,3F), Noel Flynn (0-1), James Egan (0-1), Cian Gleeson (0-1), Darren Quinn, Dara Casey (1-1), Luke O’Halloran (1-3), Colm Flynn (1-0), Jack Hughes, Eoin Morby, Edmund O’Grady.
St.Joesephs/DooraBarefield: Cian Hadden, Adrian Baker, Eoin Burke, Daragha McMahon, Cian Lahiffe, Mark Moloney (0-1), Cillian O’Riordan, Conal O’Regan (1-3,0-2F), Matthew Power, Ciaran Jones, Byran Ruane, Luke Enright, Sam Cotter, Cian Moloney (0-2), Morgan Lahiffe (0-7, 3F), Cillian Warner, Joe Daly (1-1), Eoin Clune.
Referee: Chris Maguire.