Aodh Ruadh and Gaoth Dobhair hurlers serve up a cliff-hanger

Under 12 B Hurling Final
5 September 2019
Aodh Ruadh 2-2
Gaoth Dobhair 1-4
Magheragallon, Gaoth Dobhair

By Michael Daly

The spirit of Cú Chulainn was evoked in many ways in windy Magheragallon on Thursday evening as two gallant hurling teams gave us a game to remember with the final outcome, a one point win for the visitors, in doubt until the final whistle of an outstanding contest.

Gaoth Dobhair had two late chances from frees to level or better still, win this under 12 final, but a scuffy wind contrived to push both well struck efforts wide of the wavin wind-bent upright.

Honour and bravery are traits of all great sports people and we had this in abundance from both squads. You must remember that a handful of the players on view are not much bigger than a creamery can.

But height and brawn mattered little as boys and one very talented girl (Sarah Jane Hartnett) tore into each other. There was no 'simulation' here. The only diving witnessed came as players put their limbs on the line to block the sliothar. No theatrics, no moaning, no one aiming or claiming a wayward blow.

They just got on with it and their mentors and managers deserve great credit for the wonderful way they coached and coaxed their players in this very sporting contest.

And, all the time, in the background wind-wound waves danced and crashed white on the shore and the wind would cut you in two on an evening that was out of kilter with early September.

While the weather wasn't ideal, the game was blessed by the appointment of Jamesy Connors as referee. His cool head and wise words and encouragement to the players worked a treat and he was the epitome of fairness to all and was, not surprisingly, praised by both sides after the game.

Early lead
Aodh Ruadh settled quickly and went into an early lead scoring 2-1 without reply, two great goals from Corey Sheridan and a well taken point, Sheridan outstanding throughout the game.

Gaoth Dobhair clawed back 1-2 before half time leaving the score Ballyshannon 2-1, Gaoth Dobhair 1-2. The Gaoth Dobhair goal coming from the excellent Pádraig Mac Giolla Bhríde.

The second half was a spectacle of hurling with both teams going for broke. Two frees from Cianan McDaid levelled the scores with the wind now at the home team's backs. Ballyshannon made their possession pay and edged ahead with about five minutes left to lead 2-2 to 1-4, Sheridan hitting the net for a second time.

Gaoth Dobhair threw everything at Ballyshannon but couldn't get the scores they needed.

Superb work
The Ballyshannon backs cleared their lines, superb work by Garrett Brennan, Liam Doogan and their net minder, Ben Daly, was in great form, making a crucial save to deny a goal deep in added time.

Elsewhere Johnny Lin gave a man of the match performance in midfield while Dara McGloin was one of many to put in a great shift. Gaoth Dobhair also had a host of fantastic players, among them Ryan Grannell, Liam Mac Giolla Bhride, Padraig Mac Giolla Bhride and Cianan McDaid.

Match referee Connors did a fantastic job keeping these young hurlers in line, his task made easy due to their discipline and honest efforts.

There were great celebrations from the Aodh Ruadh lads on the final whistle. A one point win in any final is sweet. This rounded off a good week for Aodh Ruadh, their Junior hurlers lifted the Junior Championship recently.

A great performance from both teams, with hurling the real winner on a windy night in Magheragallon.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Gaoth Dobhair
Gaoth Dobhair: Oisin Ó Duibhir; Dallan Ó Baoill, Alan Doherty, David Geoghagan; Ryan Grannell, John Paul Ó Gallchóir, Daniel Doran; Liam Mac Giolla Bhride, Cianan McDaid (0-3); Padraig Mac Giolla Bhride (1-0); Sarah Jane Hartnett, Aidan Hunter; Tadhg Ó Baoill (0-1), Mark Boyle, Cathal Ó Duibhir; Aiden Doherty, Eoin O Hagan, Christopher Mach Giolla Bhride.
Aodh Ruadh
Ben Daly; Garrett Brennan, Callum Tierney, Joseph Gibbions, Liam Doogan, Eoghan McCadden, Jun Hui Lin, Dara McGloin, Garvey Meade, Lennon Canny, Sean O'Neill, Daithi Sheerin, Corey Sheridan (2-2).
Substitutes: Finn Doogan, Rian McCauley, Sean Maguire, Oisin McCadden, William Ryan, Shane Donagher, PJ McGee, Joey Daly, James Gallagher, Shaun McGarrigle, Eoghan Gallagher, Jayden McGrath Clyne, Shay Winters, Antoin Duffy.
Referee: James Connors (Saint Eunan's)

Last modified: Friday, 13 September 2019 at 11:05pm