Shamrocks 4-6, Grenagh 1-11
Shamrocks are Rebel Óg East C grade Hurling Champions after a tough battle against gallant losers Grenagh in Brinny on Saturday afternoon last.
This was Shamrocks first hurling final in any grade in over 10 years and a win was important in the continuing development of hurling in the club. Shamrocks were the better team in the opening period but found scores hard to come by, despite way more possession. Andrew O’Grady opened his impressive point scoring tally from the throw in with surging run and neat point after 30 seconds. The Shamrocks backs in particular were catching almost every high ball out of the sky in impressive fashion and were providing the forwards with plenty of possession but plays seemed to break down at vital points in front of goal, while a few goal chances went a-begging due to last minute Grenagh defending.
After 12 minutes, the score was still 0-1 to 0-0 in favour of Shamrocks but then Shamrocks went on a bit of a scoring burst through O’Grady (who was brilliant throughout from frees) and led 0-4 to 0-1 before Shamrocks burst through for 2 vital goals. The hard working David Andrews scored the first after a great run through the middle while Matthew Field scrambled home another for goal number 2 and Shamrocks looked well set at HT, 2-4 to 0-2 ahead.
The second half was much tighter. Andrew O’Grady put Shamrocks further ahead with a monster 95 yard free which he judged to perfection in the crosswind. David Andrews then slotted home a great team move after great work by Cillian Hayes on the wing and Shamrocks led by 3-4 to 0-3 with 20 minutes to go. But Grenagh were slowly showing signs of revival even after halftime and responded immediately to the Shamrocks goal up the other end with a great goal of their own. This seemed to lift them and suddenly they got on top. They had restructured their team by this stage and the Shamrocks lads seemed to drift back in numbers. As a result, the Shamrocks puckouts were being won by the extra Grenagh players in their halfback line and it was game on.
Shamrocks were struggling to get the ball into their FF line with 12 minutes to go and Grenagh chipped away with a few points. With 3 minutes of normal time left, they had the deficit reduced to 3 points, 3-6 to 1-9. However, under emormous pressure, u14 player Cillian Hayes made a drive forward from the 45 and saw his low shot enter the Grenagh net to open up a 6 point lead entering injury time.
The referee played 6 excruciating minutes of injury time, during which Grenagh scored 2 points while going for goals to leave Shamrocks victorious at the final whistle by a hard earned 4 points.
This was a massive win for the lads and inspirational captain Mark Hitchmough had the pleasue of receiving the trophy afterwards from East Board Vice Chairman and local Valley Rovers man Willie Casey. He thanked the referee, his own club Valleys for their perfect facilities and both teams for a great, hard fought battle with not one dirty stroke from 2 great teams.
This is a fantastic achievement for all the players on the panel, it was a truly great effort put in by one and all. The panel has grown in both numbers and maturity all year. Well done to all. Without doubt, a massive thank you and well done to the management team of David Nolan, Peter Crowley, Dick Andrews, Kevin O’Grady, John Twomey (Ringaskiddy) and to the absent Kieran Lynam. Between them, they have overseen the Minors and u16′s who train together all the time. Also well done to John Jordan who as always is present for every Shamrocks underage team. A special mention to the teams physical trainer Garrett O’Flynn who has brought this team forward in so many ways and is always at hand to help out.
The cup was paraded through Shanbally, Coolmore and Ringaskiddy before looping around past the Andrews household where Club Vice President Breda was on hand to receive the cup on its journey to the FBI. The FBI put on a spread for the team, mentors and supporters afterwards. It was wonderful and a huge thanks to them from the club. It was fitting on a great day that captain Mark Hitchmough brought the cup up the few short steps from the FBI to the Andrews household where it was once again greeted enthusastically by Breda and her husband Bernie. It was no doubt a great fillip for them on their journey to recovery after recent illnesses. Mark was accompanied by all members of the Andrews clan – Dick, David, Seán, Harry, Lauren, Elizabeth, Michelle, Kathleen, Shane, Aidan, Carol and grandson Mark who was home from London for the match. A fantastic moment.
Shamrocks, as a result of this win, now play Clyda Rovers in the Semi Final of the County on Monday week in Carrig na bhFear at 7pm.
Panel: Cormac Scriven, David Barry, Nathan Hayes, Christopher Hayes, Mark Hitchmough, Ruairí Meighan, Andrew O’Grady, Shane Flavin, David Andrews, Cillian Hayes, Matthew Field, Daniel O’Mahony, Adam O’Keeffe, Shane Downey, Criostóir Corkery, Evan Seymour, James Lynam, Killian Murphy, Cathal Murphy.