Goals see De la Salle advance to U-21 decider

Brian Flannery Reports

De La Salle are through to the East Waterford Under-21 ‘A’ Hurling Final following an eight point victory over Passage.
Played at Dunhill on an unseasonably mild December Sunday afternoon where the adage about goals winning games was very much in evidence.
Luke Flynn netted in the opening half with further goals from Eddie Meaney and substitute James Doran over the second 30 minutes to guide the Gracedieu side to the divisional final.
De La Salle were much sharper right from the off and while Conor Drohan had the games’ opening point after three minutes for Passage; it was the city side who took control of the game.
Sam Flynn and Brian Cunningham were on the scoresheet with a point apiece before goal number one arrived.
After 10 minutes, De La Salle quickly shifted the ball from Even Whelan to Eddie Meaney and the former county minor drew the last defender before passing to Luke Flynn who couldn’t miss from close range. Brian Cunningham, Evan Whelan (2) and Eddie Meaney all pointed in succession to swell De La Salle’s advantage to 1-6 to 0-1 after 22 minutes.

Passage was struggling to find their rhythm and frequently forced to shoot unsuccessfully from distance.
Sean Hogan at full-forward however was having success when play came his way and drew frees from a nervous De La Salle full-back line. Jamie Burke converted three of these frees’ in three minutes reduce the margin to 1-6 to 0-4 after 28 minutes.
Sam Flynn had his second point for De La Salle before Brian Cunningham and Jamie Burke exchanged pointed frees before the break (1-8 to 0-5).
Both Jamie Burke and Sean Hogan missed good chances for Passage before they suffered another body blow. In the 34th minute a speculative lob from Eddie Meaney went all the way to the net off the hand of Passage net minder Sean White (2-8 to 0-5).
Jamie Burke landed another pair of frees before substitute James Stone had a third De La Salle goal after 43 minutes with good work from Thomas Douglas (3-8 to 0-7).
A difficult task became an impossible one a minute later as Passage was reduced to 14 men when Sean Treacy received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

Jamie Burke was again successful with a trio of pointed frees to reduce his sides deficit to seven points with 10 minutes to play.
Brian Cunningham had what turned out to be the final score of the game with a white flagger from another placed ball in the 54th minute. Passage needed goals and they spurned a great opportunity on 57 minutes when Jamie Burke has his well struck penalty excellently saved by Shaun O’Brien between the sticks for the winners. The resulting 65 came to nought and despite their best efforts Passage just couldn’t find the score that might have put the result in doubt.
De La Salle’s half-back line of Mikey Costigan, Shane Ryan and Lee Wall dominated throughout and were the launch-pad for this victory. In attack, Evan Whelan, Sam Flynn and in particular Eddie Meaney stood out.
Passage who managed just a single point from play in 60 minutes hurling were best served by the outstanding Darragh Lynch, Dale Cullinane, Gary Cullinane and Jamie Burke.
De La Salle will now meet Ballygunner in the divisional final, date and venue to be confirmed.

De La Salle:
Shaun O’Brien; Ryan Duke, Conor Giles Doran, Adam Doyle; Michael Costigan, Shane Ryan, Lee Wall; Brian Cunningham, Gavin Coppinger’ Dylan Finn, Evan Whelan, Sam Flynn; Luke Flynn, Thomas Douglas, Eddie Meaney.

Substitutes: James Stone for Eddie Meaney (42mins) and Conor Dalton Dunphy for Adam Doyle (60).

Scorers
: Brian Cunningham (0-4; 0-3f), Eddie Meaney (1-1), Luke Flynn and James Stone (1-0 each), Sam Flynn and Evan Whelan (0-2 each).

Passage: Sean White; Calum O’Neill, Dale Cullinane, Sean Hayes; Dean Kearns, Darragh Lynch, Sean Barlow; Gary Cullinane, Stephen Lynch; Jamie Burke, Sean Treacy, Conor Cullinane; Adam Roche, Sean Hogan, Conor Drohan.

Substitutes: Mike Hutchinson for Dean Kearns (30 mins), Paul Flanagan for Adam Roche (42) and Craig Moran for Conor Drohan (46).

Scorers:
Jamie Burke (0-9f) and Conor Drohan (0-1).

Referee:
Alan Kissane (Dunhill).

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