Sixmilebridge 1-16 St. Joseph’s Doora Barefield 2-12 AET.
Tulla was the venue for this Under 15A BNOS Final last Sunday afternoon between Sixmilebridge and St. Joseph’s Doora Barefield played in nice dry conditions with a light breeze favouring D/B in the first half. This was the second instalment at this age group in as many days between the two clubs with D/B being victorious by a solitary point the previous day in the cup final. The tables were turned in this one with Sixmilebridge coming out on top by a solitary point after extra time in what was an incredible game of hurling with credit going to both sets of players for making it so enjoyable.
D/B was first on the score board within a minute when Michael Nash popped over a lovely point from 40 metres. Both sides were even enough for the next ten minutes with both sets of backs on top. Dara Casey levelled matters 10 minutes in with a pointed free and a minute later Adam Murray won a ball in midfield and sent a cracking pass into Fionn Hayes who sidestepped his marker and made a run at goal hitting a bullet of a shot into the top right corner giving Darragh Hurley in the D/B goal no chance of saving. After this D/B hit a purple patch over the next 15 minutes putting the ‘Bridge backs under a lot of pressure with Michael Nash and Brendan Keane scoring two points each with Nash’s points coming from frees to put them back in front. D/B were awarded a penalty with 3 minutes left in the half as Michael Nash was judged to have been fouled inside the ‘Bridge square and stepping up to take it himself he rifled the ball into net into the left corner. James Egan got a point back for the ‘Bridge on the stroke of half time to leave the score 1-5 to 1-2 in favour of D/B.
Lee Mulready was introduced to the ‘Bridge team at wing forward for the second half, and now being aided by the breeze they got off to a flier where they scored six points without reply in the first quarter with Dara Casey (1f), Dara Fitzgerald (1), Lee Mulready (2), Conor Murphy (1f), and Adam Murray (1), all finding the target. They were very lucky 15 minutes in when Michael Nash made a fast run hitting a cracking shot at goal which was excellently saved by Daniel Chaplin in the ‘Bridge goal.
However 2 minutes later all their good work was undone when a high dangerous ball from a D/B free landed into the Sixmilebridge area was fumbled by the ‘Bridge backs. Their rare error was punished by Conor Cleland when he pulled first time into the back of the net. This was followed a minute later by two more D/B points, one from a placed ball and the other from a cracking point by Eoin Lahiffe out on the wing. Tom Forde who had replaced Conor Gilligan who went off due to injury, got a point back for the ‘Bridge to leave just a point between the sides with ten minutes left.
From there to the end it was heart stopping stuff as momentum shifted from one end of the pitch to the other with each ball being contested vigorously. Seamus Og Enright finally broke the impasse with a point on 25 minutes to put D/B two clear but the ‘Bridge fought on. Two minutes later they were awarded a free 80 metres out which Conor Murphy making full use of the breeze hit straight over the crossbar. On the stroke of full time it was Murphy again who gained possession in midfield and ran toward the D/B goal and kicked the sliotar over the bar to equalise the game. From the puckout the ‘Bridge won possession and worked it back toward the D/B goal where Conor Murphy struck over what looked like the winning point. It wasn’t over yet however as D/B fought on and when Sean Og Enright received a hand pass out on the wing he struck over the equaliser with the game well into injury time with the scores reading SMB 1-12 D/B 2-9. Extra time required 10 minutes a half.
With both teams just after finishing a very tough match it was understandable that the pace dropped a bit in extra time, but the determination to win did not. The ‘Bridge were back in front in the first minute thanks to a Fionn Hayes point but this was cancelled out 3 minutes later by a Michael Nash free. Dara Casey got two more for the ‘Bridge and again it was Nash who kept his side in touch with two more to leave the sides level once again at the end of the first period. The second half produced just one score, a point by Conor Murphy as the ‘Bridge held on to win by the slimmest of margins in a very entertaining game of hurling. Well done to both sets of players for the way they battled for over 85 minutes.
For D/B, Michael Nash was outstanding throughout both on frees and general play. Seamus Og Enright and Charlie McGuinness were also excellent.
For Sixmilebridge, Conor Murphy was excellent especially in the second half when he got some crucial scores. Daniel Chaplin was rock solid in goals with Morgan O’Connell and Tan Greene also excellent in defence throughout. Adam Murray and Dara Casey gave great leadership to their younger teammates in the middle third of the pitch, and Fionn Hayes & Lee Mulready impressed with their eye for a score.
Afterwards Captain Morgan O’Connell accepted the Shield from Bord na nOg PRO and proud ‘Bridge man Tom Sheehan, with both paying tribute to the Tulla Club for the excellent condition of their pitch, and to Referee Paul Howard and his officials and St Josephs Doora-Barefield for their contribution to a sporting and quality game of Hurling.
Sixmilebridge GAA wish to acknowledge Bord na nOg for their staging and support for these Shield competitions and also the other Clubs in Clare who participate and make these competitions so enjoyable and worthwhile. They help enormously towards our goal of Player development - and to keep as many players as possible, playing for as long as possible.
Sixmilebridge: Daniel Chaplin, Tan Greene, Morgan O Connell (C), Gary O Callaghan, Jack Holloway, Conor Murphy 0-5, 0-2F, Ian Collins, Adam Murray 0-1, Dara Fitzgerald 0-1, Davy Hassett, Dara Casey 0-4, 0-3F, Jack Hughes, Conor Gilligan, James Egan 0-1, Fionn Hayes 1-1, Tom Forde 0-1, Lee Mulready 0-2, Cian Maxwell, Alex Muldoon.
Sixmilebridge Management Team: Tommy Liddy, Brian O Connell, Mike Toomey, John O’Meara, Jim Fitzgerald.
St. Joseph’s Doora Barefield: Darragh Hurley, Caleb Mahony, Jack Power, Cillian O’Sullivan, Cillian Warner (C), Mark Moloney, Conal Dorgan, Seamus Óg Enright 0-2, Ciaran O Driscoll, Jack Moran, Charlie McGuiness, Michael Nash 1-7, 1-5F, Brian Corry, Brendan Keane 0-2, Muavai Ghazi, Eoin Monaghan, Eoin McNahon, Eoin Lahiffe 0-1, Conor Cleland 1-0.
Referee: Paul Howard