Durlas Óg 2-07
Thankfully by the time Durlas Óg and Moycarkey-Borris took to the field in Páirc Shileáin, Templemore, for the final of the Spain Family U14A championship weather conditions had improved considerably for this highly anticipated clash. The fine crowd gathered witness a tough, clean encounter with Durlas Óg weathering the Moycarkey storm to emerge relieved winners in the end, holding onto their crown with a five point winning margin.
Imposing themselves from the throw in Durlas Óg were dominant and held the sway in key areas. Aidan Butler was first into the action for them and when he was fouled he duly pointed the resulting free, all inside the opening minute. He did likewise again in the third minute with another placed ball as Moycarkey had yet to form an attack.
Durlas Óg moved Michel Purcell, named at midfield, into full back before the off to keep tabs on the Moycarkey danger man Anthony McKelvy and in the early stages Purcell reigned supreme, fielding great ball and dispatching it out of danger. On the opposite flank to Butler at half forward for Durlas Óg, Jack Croke was causing all sorts of problems with good running and link up play and he soon made it three with the first score from play.
The ‘Borris lads had settled now and were coming more into the game, though their first strike at the posts from a free on the right went wide of its target. Fullback Caolan O’Brien and keeper P.J. Tunstall had to be on their toes in separate occasions to keep the score as it was, O’Brien clearing decisively when called into action.
Purcell again did likewise at the opposite end as the pendulum swung.
It was fifteen minutes before Moycarkey got on the score sheet via the stick of Jack Fallon. Donal Fitzpatrick’s free form the middle broke down to John Kirwan who laid off to Fallon for his opening salvo.
Moycarkey’s backs were also making inroads with Philip Ryan leading the charge at centre back as he drove on his side. Up front Jack Hackett was moving all over the place and he too scored from play, the gap back to one with seven minutes to the break.
Purcell was again called into action to avert danger, but was unable to stop McKelvey levelling affairs as he collected breaking ball from a Ryan sixty five to tie it up with three minutes to go.
Then just on half time a Moycarkey move down the left resulted in a swift ball across the twenty metre line. It looked as though the Durlas Óg backs had it covered but McKelvy arrived in a stealth move to steal the sliothar superbly and dispatch it over the bar for the half time lead, 04 to 03to Moycarkey-Borris.
Plenty of scores in the opening period of the second half saw Durlas Óg go back in front only to be hauled back all square again before they got the decisive break. In the second minute a decent delivery across the square by Jack Croke was met by the diving Darren Fahey who found the net from close range. Referee Tom McGrath had to consult with his umpires before the goal was allowed to stand. From the puck out Jack Fallon collected the ball on the right and showing a clean pair of heels to his marker reduced the deficit to one with arguably the point of the match. McKelvy had it all square a minute later after good work by Darren Flood in creating space.
Parity didn’t last for long though as Liam Power broke loose from the pack and set up Croke who fired to the net after six action packed minutes.
Fallon was on then on target with a fifty metre free but when Fahey put the gap back to three in the fifteenth minute Durlas Óg seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Purcell again was solid at full back and definitely had a huge bearing on the outcome. McKelvy though for his part kept plugging away and had it back to two after working hard across the twenty metre line to create an opening to shoot. Philip Ryan was making forays out of defence too and Moycarkey would probably have profited by moving him further forward to rally his side.
In the remaining five minutes two super points by Croke either side of an Adam Hickey flick over saw Durlas Óg over the line for a deserved win in the end, a win which they were made to work extremely hard for.
Sean Spain representing the Spain Family was on hand with Mid Bórd na nÓg Chairman, Joe O’Sullivan, to present the cup to winning captain Michael Purcell
Durlas Óg; Christopher Carew, Conor O’Hagan, Adam Hickey 01, Sean Barrett, Patrick Moloney, Evan Moore, Jack Bambrick, Anthony Cooney, Michael Purcell (C), Aidan Butler 04 (02f), William Creedon, Jack Croke 1-01, Darren Fahey 1-01, Liam Power, Kieran Moloney, Subs; Kevin Bracken, Aaron Martin, Seamus Doyle, Shane Fitzpatrick, Adam Derby, Dylan Costello, Fred Crowley, Michael Stakelum, Conor Murphy.
Moycarkey-Borris; P.J. Tunstall, Philip O’Sullivan, Caolan O’Brien, Michael Murphy, Donal Fitzpatrick, Philip Ryan, Rory Darmody, Jack Fallon 03 (01f), Zach Jackson, John Kirwan, Jack Hackett 01, Shane Maher, Darren Flood, Anthony McKelvy (C) 04, Kieran Kearney, Subs; David O’Donnell, Conor Cummins, James Dillon, Rhys Shelly, Eamonn Martin, Tom Ryan.
Referee; Tom McGrath – Loughmore-Castleiney.