Sixmilebridge 1-12 The Banner 1-09
Twenty five Bridge hurlers made history this afternoon when they became the first team from Garney side to land the Junior C Championship. Indeed in the long history and tradition of the club this is the only championship that has eluded our roll of honour. While alot of people may think nothing of this competition captain Martin Conlon summed it up in his speech when he said "it was a win for our great club and the people of the club. No matter the grade we want to win every championship we can".
Winning this championship did not look lightly for 58 minutes of this game as the Bridge played second fiddle to a very sharp Banner outfit. The defeat in their Junior football final had the Banner in a determined mood and they set the pace for the duration of the game with some fine long distance scores throughout. The Banner raised the first green flag of the game from the penalty spot and lead by 2 points at half time on a score of 1-06 to 0-07. Michael O'Halloran & Martin Conlon from play and Mark McInerney frees were keeping the score board ticking over for the Bridge.
Scores were hard to come by in the second half and it took a bit of a shamozzle to ignite the game. This resulted in 2 players sent for early showers - 1 from each side. With 2 minutes to go the Bridge were awarded a penalty which Mark McInerney converted to put the Bridge in front for the first time by a point. With the Banner pushing for the equaliser cometh the hour cometh the man and Captain Martin Conlon pointed from a free and added a beauty from play to seal a famous win.
After the game County secretary Pat Fitzgerald presented the cup to Conlon who gave a great speech where he spoke of his disappointment in losing 2 previous finals at this grade and encouraged the Banner to stick with it and their day would come. He thanked previous managers over this team who all contributed to todays win.
Speaking after the game Noel Flannery spoke of how "himself and a number of players such as Jim Spaight made a pact after last years final that they would give it one more year and get the win" and he said "it was all worth the wait now". Spaight spoke of how he was "worried they had eased off training a bit the last few weeks but fully trusted Strength & Conditioning coach James Liddanes plans". Liddane informed us "Kearney had informed him to have the boys ready for the last five minutes to finish like a train" and when he asked what about the other 55 minutes Kearney said "leave that to me". So Liddane called on the services of Bernie Conlon, Martins wife who provided deserts after training to whoever was first home in the sprints and player improvement in fitness was exponential.
Johnny Moroney was brought in as dietician and energy levels went through the roof which should stand to the team as they embark on a week of celebrations.
Leaving the pitch in Newmarket this evening some supporters called for the Miller statue in the river to be replaced by one of "Kearney in the Garney" while others called for the new indoor hurling arena due to commence construction soon to be named after the Bridge man now residing in Kinvara, but knowing Jude I'm sure all he wants is to see the cup with "2016 Champions - Droichead Abhann Ui gCearnaigh" engraved on it.
PS: Knowing some of the Junior panel if the celebrations get wild tonight he might end up in the river.
On behalf of the club we would like to wish dietician Johnny Moroney a happy birthday as he reaches another milestone and say well done to the Junior Cs and best of luck to the Junior A team tomorrow. To have 4 adult teams in the club is a fantastic achievement but to have 4 competing for honours is a dream. The club have 100 adult players wearing the Saffron and Blue and next year will potentially have teams in Senior, Intermediate, Junior A and Junior B Championship.
Management: Jude Kearney, Olly Kearney, Gerry Liddane, James Liddane, Tom Keogh, Toc Shea (Junior).
Scorers: Mark McInerney (1-06) Martin Conlon (0-04 (2f)), Michael O' Halloran (0-01), Barry Corbett (0-01)
Billy Maxwell, Jim Spaight, Brian O Loughlin;
Eric Lynch, Alan McCauley, Mark McInerney;
Michael O'Halloran, Barry Corbett;
Conor Cahill, James O'Neill, Podge Flannery;
Martin Conlon (C), Noel Flannery, Caimin Barrett.
Subs: Niall Hogan for Lynch (inj), Cathal Kinnane for Cahill, Eamonn O' Donighue for McCauley, Brendan Murphy for Barrett.