Shamrocks 2-16, Lisgoold 1-12
Shamrocks are county champions of the C grade at Minor hurling level after a 7 point win over Lisgoold at Ballincollig on Sunday last. Shamrocks were the better team and deserved their win but were given a mighty battle by the Lisgoold players who lifted their game especially in the second half. But Shamrocks always had at least a 3 point cushion all through and kept Lisgoold at arms length before pushing on in the closing 5 minutes to seal the win, a win that has been 11 months in the making, as captain Aonghus Boland acknowledged afterwards in his victory speech.
Lisgoold had the first point of the game before Andrew O’Grady pointed a free and the dangerous David Andrews pointed from play inside the first 5 minutes. Lisgoold gave themsleves a massive boost when they got through for a goal after 7 minuteto lead but the Shamrocks reply was immediate; from the puck out Andrew O’Grady controlled a slightly wayward pass on the run through the middle and billowed the Lisgoold net from 7 yards out. Shamrocks now led 1-2 to 1-1 after 8 minutes. This goal started Shamrocks best period of teh game and they were the dominant team up to halftime. With Darragh Scriven’s running from midfield causing all sorts of problems for Lisgoold, along with a dominant halfback line, Shamrocks started to tag on the points from Scriven, Boland, O’Grady from a free and a 65 and David Andrews who was threathening a goal everytime he got the ball inside. Shamrocks led 1-9 to 1-2 with 7 minutes left before HT. Lisgoold stayed in touch through their reliable free taker who was benefitting from some dubious free’s given by the referee. At one stage in the second half, the referee awarded Lisgoold NINE frees in a row. Anyway, just before HT, David Andrews got inside his marker and expertly finished to the far corner of the net to push Shamrocks 2-9 to 1-6 ahead; indeed he could have had 2 more goals on two different occasions – first when he burst through again only to see his piledriver go just over the bar andsecondly, in the last play of the half, David was also through on goal but the referee blew up for halftime in the middle of the movement – a full 30 seconds before normal time was up! All David got for his troubles was a nasty slap behind the ear from one of the oppositon players after the whistle. Shamrocks led 2-10 to 1-6 and were in a healthy position.
Lisgoold came out fighting in the second half and punished all these frees given away. They had clawed the deficit down to 3 points and were right back in the game. Shamrocks scored their first point of the second half a full 14 minutes in from an Andrew O’Grady free (he didnt miss one all afternoon) and that was a vital score. For the next 10 minutes or so, the teams cancelled each other out on the scoreboard, one of which was a vital point from supersub Rory Horgan who made a difference when he came on. He scooped up the 5th rebound no less from one of the Shamocks attacks and slotted it over for a vital point that put Shamrocks 4 points up again. Mark Hitchmough and Aonghus Boland caught some great high ball and Shamrocks were keeping Lisgoold out at the other end. Cormac Scriven brought off one great save when the lead was at 6 points while at the other end, O’Grady, Andrews and Horgan capped the win with some delightful scores. The referee blew the final whistle and Shamrocks had won a county champions, our first sine 2001 when the u16 hurlers won a C hurling title.
The last few weeks have been full of superlatives for this team and players and it was almost inevitable that they were going to win something at this level sooner rather than later. For the u16 players who were involved in the panel and team, I suppose it makes up for the loss in their county final. To have one team knocking on the County Championship door in Shamrocks is somewhat rare and wonderful – to have two is just brilliant and for the last 6 weeks in particular, these players have given total committment to the cause. This panel started training in October last year with the Winter Training Program and it was days like yesterday that made it all worthwhile. It takes a special group of players to do what they did.
There were some happy men on the sideline yesterday. Bainisteoir David Nolan, ably assisted by Peter Crowley, Kevin O’Grady and Dick Andrews were thrilled by the win. Along with John Jordan who has been present at every training session and match, this was sweet. The work these people have selflessly put in behind the scenes has been incredible. Garrett Flynn has been an inspired choice as physical trainer and his work has been central to this success. Underage Chairman John Twomey and Adult Chairman Pat McCarthy were also happy men yesterday in Ballincollig. Shamrocks captain Aonghus Boland accepted the championship trophy on behalf of the team and in his excellent victory speech, he thanked the team, management, supporters, referee, the Ballincollig club for the use of their excellent pitch and last but not least a sporting Lisgoold team who lost nothing in defeat.
A special word of thanks to the supporters who once again were out in force to roar on the lads. This writer was on the dugout side of the pitch but when a Shamrocks player took a shot at the posts from the far side, we all knew immediately whether it was going over or not such was the cheer and noise from the Shamrocks supporters. Magnificent.
After the trophy and the players had been paraded once again through Shanbally, Coolmore and Ringaskiddy, this time on Kevin O’Gradys truck, the Ferry Boat Inn laid on food and refresements for the players, mentors and parents. Our thanks to them. And once again, the captain of the victorius Shamrocks team brought the cup the few short steps up to Bernie and Breda Andrews along with the members of he Andrews clan which featured sons, daughetrs, players, grandsons, grand daughters, cousins and many more besides. Again, a wonderful moment.
Panel: Cormac Scriven, Shane Kelleher, Seán Kidney, Nathan Hayes, Mark Hitchmough, Tom Murphy, Darragh Scriven, Andrew O’Grady, Aonghus Boland, Coby O’Grady, David Andrews, David Raleigh, Rory Horgan, Christopher Hayes, Brendan Crowley, Eric Desmond, David Barry, Killian Murphy, James Lynam, Shane Flavin, Ruairí Meighan, Adam O’Keeffe.
The game was recorded professionally so will be available on DVD soon. More details to follow on that.