Elated Mollerans take Junior honours

Brian Flannery reports

It may not have been the blue riband event of the hurling calendar but St Mollerans and Brickey Rangers contributed to a highly entertaining County Junior C Hurling final at Dunhill on Saturday last.
In the end second half goals from Mikey Dowley and Jerome O’Shea was the difference and ensured the cup was heading to Carrickbeg.Brickey Rangers opted to play with the breeze and had the opening point after seven minutes from Mark Scanlon.

St Mollerans’ hurling was a little crisper and the Carrick boys were a tad more assured on the ball. Owen Maher and Benny Raggett were outstanding in defence for St Mollerans throughout and thwarted many of the Brickeys’ attempts at scoring. Former first team goalkeeper Lenny McGrath, who operated in the half-forward line, pointed two early frees and veteran Jerome O’Shea displayed his trademark sidestep and shimmy to throw-off his marker before pointing to put Mollerans 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after 12 minutes.
The western champions responded well with points from Conor Walsh and Diarmuid Tobin (2) and were unlucky when Mickey Hanlon’s drive was deflected over the bar when a goal looked on (0-5 to 0-3) after 17 minutes.
Conor Walsh converted two more frees for the Brickeys while Lenny McGrath and Jerome O’Shea had further white flaggers for Mollerans to leave the eventual winners trailing by two points (0-7 to 0-5) at half-time.
Conor O’Leary pointed within a minute of the restart to make it a one point game. Both sides battled intensely for possession in the hope of gaining a decisive advantage. Conor Walsh blew a free in front of the posts wide before David Ryan pointed to restore Brickey’s two-point lead.
St Mollerans: 2017 County Junior 'C' Hurling champions. 		| Photo: Maurice Hennebry
Then after 44 minutes Lenny McGrath’s long range free was batted down by the Brickey Rangers goalkeeper into the path of Mikey Dowley who whipped the loose clearance to the back of the net (1- 6 to 0-8).
Lenny McGrath was successful with another free to increase Molleran’s lead to two points. The game was effectively decided in the 46th minute when a solo from wing-forward Conor O’Leary drew the attention of the Brickeys defence before passing to Mikey Dowley who found Jerome O’Shea unmarked in front of goal and the player-manager made no mistake as he billowed the net from close range (2-7 to 0-8).
Conor Walsh landed two further frees for the black and amber but St Mollerans finished stronger with Jerome O’Shea and substitute Johnny McGrath pointing before the end to close out a famous victory for the Carrickbeg club.

St Mollerans: Daniel Fiddis; James Hogan, Mikey Reade, Owen Maher; Peter Flanagan, Benny Raggett, Dean McGrath; Jeffrey Power, Robbie Keane; Lenny McGrath, Billy Walsh, Conor O’Leary; Killian Cloona, Jerome O’Shea, Mikey Dowley.

Substitutes: Graeme Holloway for Conor O’Leary (56 mins), Sean Dowley for Robbie Keane (58), Johnny McGrath for Mikey Dowley (59) and Robbie Waters for Killian Cloona (60).
Scorers: Jerome O’Shea (1-3), Lenny McGrath (0-4f), Mikey Dowley (1-0), Conor O’Leary and Johnny McGrath (0-1 each).

Brickey Rangers: Cian O’Halloran; Ian Walsh, Sam Keohan, Richard Halpin; Darragh O’Grady, Diarmuid Tobin, Eoghan Curran; Stephen Aherne, Mark Scanlon; Tadhg Tobin, David Ryan, Michael Gee; Conor Walsh, Olan Casey, Mikey Hanlon.

Substitutes: Martin Houlihan for Olan Casey (45mins), Noah Whelan for Tadhg Tobin (52) and Paul Lennon for Michael Gee (59).

Scorers: Conor Walsh (0-5f), Diarmuid Tobin (0-2; 0-1f), Mark Scanlon, Mikey Hanlon and David Ryan (0-1 each).

Referee: Nicky O’Toole.

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