Thrilling minor decider ends in a draw

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St. Mary’s . . . 1-13; Cois Brid . . . 1-13

A draw emerged a most equitable outcome to this thrilling County Minor Hurling (B) Championship Final at Walsh Park on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon last, and St. Mary’s from the East and Cois Brid from the West, will have to do it all over again on a date to be announced. Despite the heavy under foot conditions, the quality of the hurling on offer proved to be of an exceptional standard, and it would have been a grave pity had either side came out on the wrong side, in what was a fine advertisement for the grade in question.

Eight times in total parity existed during the course of the hour and both sides squandered a number of gilt edged goal scoring chances which perhaps could have made a whale of a difference, yet when all was said and done, neither side deserved to beaten, and the replay when it comes along should not be missed.

 

Level pegging

This game bristled with intense excitement from the very off, to such an extent that from a very early stage it was abundantly obvious that it would surely go down to the wire in the end. This was surely foretold in the opening couple of minutes, as Ben Gallagher and Thomas Ryan traded early points to set the tone to the proceedings, with Martin De Paor and Thomas Ryan repeating the process with only six minutes gone. The quality of the hurling equally kept pace and when Paul Cummins and Shane Kearney also found the opposing uprights, the sides were still tied in parity before the 8th minute had been reached. A minute later the Western outfit hit the front for the first time, thanks to a well-taken Alex Noonan point, but quicker than it takes to relate, St. Mary’s struck for the first goal of the match and the lead once again. The score one of the best of the week end proved a beauty and came from the stick of corner forward Jamie Burns, after the Cois Brid citadel had withstood terrific pressure. However, the Westerners drawn from Tallow, Shamrocks and Ballyduff came back to balance the books for the third time by the end of the first quarter, with yet another delightful Thomas Ryan point and the other from Evan Sheehan.

End to end hurling kept the rival supporters on their toes, with every stroke of the ball cheered to the echo – again Thomas Ryan and Ben Gallagher exchanged points and the first mentioned and Eoin Kenny followed suite- to leave the teams still deadlocked after twenty two minutes. It seemed difficult to separate the two mustard keen teams as Niall Clifford and Thomas Ryan, again swapped points, before Cois Bride finished the half on a decisive note – a Thomas Ryan centre was finished to the ‘Mary’s net by Kevin Curley, and Shane Kearney smartly added a point, to lave the Western lads leading by 1-10 to 1-6 at the interval.

 

Hectic finish

Two pointed frees by Ben Gallagher signalled the start to what turned out to be a pulsating second period. Thomas Ryan who was one of the most skilful hurlers on view put three points between the teams with his fifth match point in the 34th minute, yet St. Mary’s commitment to the cause never wavered – and they were right slap back in the reckoning by the 50th minute, as a result of three extra additional points from play by Niall Clifford and two from the ever industrious Mairtin de Paor.

It was certainly all to play for now, and further white flags from Thomas Ryan and Mairtin De Paor, tied the match up for the seventh time, at 1-12 a piece, and six minutes of normal time remaining. In what can only be described as a hectic finish, both goal areas took on a charmed existence, and before Ben Gallagher came up with a marvellous lead point for St. Mary’s in the 57th minute – however in a thrill a minute climax, when both sets of forwards had chances, it finally fell to ‘man of the match’ Thomas Ryan to snatch a 62nd minute equaliser, and even at that the Eastern champions had still opportunities to save the day, but it never materialised.

A draw then a fair result, and if the replay is only half as good again, it would be worth travelling the length of the county to see it all happen once more. Final score – St. Mary’s 1-13; Cois Brid 1-13.

 

Excelled

St. Mary’s drawn from Kill, Bonmahon, Ballydurn and Ballyduff Lower, produced their best hurling of the year, and in the likes of Tommy Raher, Ciaran Buckley, Thomas Dunphy, Niall Clifford, Martin de Poar and Ben Gallagher real hurling stars in the making – while Cois Brid were admirably enhanced by the excellence of Thomas Ryan, Shane Kearney, Bob McCarthy, Alex Noonan, Kieran Geary, Keith Hallahan and Diarmuid Ahearne.

Scorers

St. Mary’s:- Ben Gallagher 0-6, Jamie Burns 1-0, Martin de Paor 0-3, Niall Clifford 0-2, Paul Cummins and Eoin Kenny 0-1 each.

Cois Brid:- Thomas Ryan 0-7, Kevin Curley 1-0, Shane Kearney 0-2, Alex Noonan and Evan Sheehan 0-1 each.

Teams

Cois Brid:- Sean Sullivan, Diarmuid Ahearne, Bob McCarthy, Thomas McGrath, Thomas Noonan, Keith Hallahan, Cathal Herlihy, Kieran Geary, Shane Feeney, Alex Noonan, Shane Kearney, Kevin Curley, Thomas Ryan, Donnacha Mulcahy, Evan Sheehan. Subs – Maurice McNamara for Feeney, Peter O’Callaghan for T. McGrath, Barry Moroney for K. Curley.

St. Mary’s:- John Roche, Eoin Fitzgerald, Tommy Raher, Brian Flynn, Thomas Dunphy, Ciaran Buckley, Martin Scurry, Paul Cummins, Conor Hennessy, Eoin Kenny, Niall Clifford, Mairtin de Paor, Jamie Burns, Coleman Power, Ben Gallagher, Sub – Kevin Power for P.Cummins.

Referee – Sean O Conduin (Rinn ogCuanach).

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