O'Loughlin Gaels 4:09 to 1:17 James Stephens
Palmerstown, Friday 15th September at 6pm
Referee; Stephen Delaney
It wasn’t as simple as that however.. This was a superb game of hurling. The Village owned the first half..dictating all around the field and causing all kinds of animated panic on the Gaels sideline. This was a much more open game than last week’s drawn match as the village sought to give their key players the option to express their hurling ability...and that they did. Their forwards reaping the rewards of good delivery from midfield..running into space and popping over scores at will. Ethan Kerwick did get the first score of the game but the Village would see out the half with a comfortable lead of 7 points ..0-7 to 1-11. (The goal coming from Leon Hayes). But for all their dominance O’Loughlin Gaels would go into the dressing room with some hope, as they had broken the Village defence on 2 occasions but for the brilliant goalkeeping of their no. 1.
It was a nervy, tense but brilliant final quarter with not an inch spared. There was no score for the almost 10mins when the Village pointed through Cian Kenny to put them 2 ahead. The final moments were manic..every young player putting their hearts and souls into it, showing pride in their respective clubs beyond the call of duty. Both sets of supporters rightly proud of their charges. As the game swung into the 31st minute Conor Kelly won a free on the 40…the question was asked…another 2 minutes was the answer. The decision was take the point and win the puck out. Conor’s effort sailed to the left and wide and the St. John’s support looked on in hope. But the players believed…never give up has always been the message. With the ball nestled down in the O’Loughlin defence they worked it up to the half forwards.. the pressure was relentless...Conor Kelly made a surge only to be met by 3 defenders…he managed to pass it off to Ethan Kerwick… Jack Sheridan and Ronan Lavelle got involved in the move..the ball passed from Gael to Gael as they looked for that last opportunity and with the whistle firmly in the referees grasp Niall Higgins received the final pass and had space to stand and deliver and pick his spot from 30 yards. It floated in a slow motion arc through the air over the heads of several defenders and passed the hapless keeper and the movement of the net was met with a roar that sent startled crows flying from trees for 10 miles and the O’Loughlins supporters leaping from their skins. The final whistle sounded and O’Loughlin Gaels were u16 Co. Champions for the third time in four years.
Well done to all the young lads from both teams who hurled over two well contested games and continue a fine tradition of hurling in Kilkenny.
Congratulations to the u16s panels: D Murphy, D.O’Leary, D Fogarty, I O’Keefe, P. McNamara, J Young (Capt), B Tyrrell, N Higgins (1-0), D Coffey, J McNamara (0-1), C Kelly (1-6, 5f) J Sheridan, R. Lavelle (1-1), V. O’Grady (1.0), E Kerwick(0-1) C Murphy, M Hogan, C Maher, N Flanagan, J Leydon, D Walsh, H Bland, J Hickey, W. Slattery, J Byrne, L Hehir, S Lawlor, J Phelan, L Hennessy
Mangers: N Bergin, B Cleere, B Fogarty, D O’Connor, P Tyrrell
Spnonsors: MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre