COunty Junior B Hurling s-Final - Holycross Ballycahill 2-13 Golden Kilfeacle 1-6
The scoreline just about tells the story and while Golden Kilfeacle may well feel that they could have been much closer to their opponents had they taken their chances, they would be the first to concede that they were playing second fiddle for most of the game. Put simply - Holycross Ballycahill were quite a stretch better and cruised on to the final with ease.
It was a damp afternoon for the game and while the pitch held up well enough for proceedings, it was still sticky enough in patches and made for diffiuclt conditions for the players. Holycross Ballycahill coped better with the conditions and their experienced side which is mixed with an infusion of youth as well, proved far too good for the west men who were arrears almost from the off. Indeed, the mid men had quite a few former seniors in their ranks and their knowhow and comfortable demeanour on the ball is crucial to their success. They don’t panic and with a strong defensive set-up allied to a potent attack, it will take a very good side to beat them.
Midfielder Thomas Hayes got the scoring ball rolling for Holycross Ballycahill in the 2nd minute and by the time Golden Kilfeacle got off the mark in the 12th minute through centre forward Damien Fogarty, the mid men had 0-4 on the board - a long range effort from wing back Brendan Ryan, Daniel Fennessy and Paudie Comerford all finding their range.
But, the period just before the end of the first quarter was to prove crucial as Holycross Ballycahill’s good form continued and they bagged two goals in as many minutes to open up a nine point gap. The first goal came from Peter Gavin in the 12th minute after he broke through the defence and fired home, while corner forward Mark Fogarty was on the end of a great move which started in defence, to fire a second goal in the 14th.
Golden Kilfeacle were making little impact but they knew that they had to find something if they were to maintain an interest in the clash. Thomas Burns had a point for them and when Sean Carr got an overhead touch on a Burnes free in the 25th minute, the sliothar deflected to the net to throw their side a much needed lifeline. Burns fired over two more before the interval , but so too did Holycross Ballycahill through Tom Hayes - a peach of a sideline cut from an acute angle, and Daniel Fennessy.
It was a 2-7 to 1-4 interval lead for the mid champions and they didn’t look like relinquishing it. They didn’t.
Golden Kilfeacle, although they probably fared a little better in the second half in terms of possession and territorial advantage, failed to make it count on the scoreboard. They managed just 0-2 in the half whereas Holycross Ballycahill bagged three times this and ran out easy winners.
The afternoon deteriorated and this probably led to the poorer fare in the second half. Holycross Ballycahill had 0-3 added to their title through Tom Hayes (2) and Paudie Comerford before Damien Fogarty and sub Daniel Currivan had efforts for Golden Kilfeacle. But, Michael Lee who had a productive afternoon at number 11, Thomas Hayes and Peter Gavin rounded off an impressive showing for the mid men to secure a ten point victory.
Golden Kilfeacle, to their credit, battled this game right to the end and never gave up the chase eventhough the writing was on the wall for them after they had conceded two first quarter goals. They had good showings from Ger Looby, Thomas Burns, Damien Fogarty and Paul Fogarty.
Holycross Ballycahill simply found scores easier to come by on the day and much of their success came from the strength of their defence which supplied the ammunition for up-front.
Brendan Ryan, Denis McCullagh, Conor Hayes and Tom Hayes were effective in this regard while Dan Fennessy, Michael Lee, Peter Gavin and Paudie Comerford were prominent in attack.
Teams and Scorers: Holycross Ballycahill: T Bourke, P Ryan, A Joyce, D McCullagh, J Dunne, C Hayes, B Ryan 0-1, T Hayes 0-5, D Murphy, D Fennessy 0-2, M Lee 0-1, K O’Dwyer, M Fogarty 1-0, P Gavin 1-1, P Comerford 0-2. Subs: Donal Duggan, John Fogarty, Eoin Moloney.
Golden Kilfeacle: M Hally, M Stapleton, P Fogarty, JJ Burns, K Landy, G Looby, M Ryan, S Beattie, J Hayes, L Nagle, D Fogarty 0-2, T Burns 0-3, Seamus Carr, A Fogarty, Sean Carr 1-0. Subs: D Currivan 0-1, B Fogarty.
Referee: K Delaney.