U-14 hurlers retain Tony Forristal title
GAELIC GAMES WICKLOW WIN DIVISION 3 CROWN
WICKLOW’S U-14 hurlers travelled to Waterford on Saturday, August 30, to compete in the Tony Forristal intercounty competition.
All Wicklow’s matches were played in the County Grounds in Walsh Park. They played in Division 3 having won this competition last year with a very strong squad and in this regard the current squad were under pressure to retain the crown again this year.
This squad commenced training in March this year and made huge sacrifices and commitments and as the year went on they gelled and played in a united and very spirited manner.
In the division were Tyrone, Armagh and Mayo (Mayo hurling on a crest of a wave after their great run in this year’s Christy Ring competition where they beat Wicklow’s Senior team on the way to the semifinal).
In this type of competition it is very important that the team wins their first match and Wicklow were very well focused and prepared for their first match against Tyrone which they won by 2- 11 to 1-1.
The second match against Mayo was very competitive against a very strong Mayo side. Again Wicklow started very well leading at halftime 2-4 to 0-2, after playing with the wind.
However, Mayo came back very strong in the second-half but Wicklow’s well organised defence made it very difficult for Mayo to get the scores they needed. Jamie Byrne in goal kept a clean sheet. Wicklow only scored one point in the second-half while pleasingly holding Mayo to just one point with a full-time score of 2-5 to 0-3.
In the third game against Armagh, Wicklow used the full panel and all the players performed to a very high standard and ended up convincing winners with a score of 5-11 to 1-3.
Players to shine in this game included Kevin Byrne, Eoin Keddy, Eoin Coogan, Paul Murray, Stephen Murphy, Ciaran Mulhall, Daniel Staunton, Muiris O’Flionn, Gavin Weir, James Manley and Peter Quigley.
Finals in the three divisions were played in Walsh Park on Sunday, August 31. Both Wicklow and Mayo qualified for the Division 3 final. Pierce Sweeney who played magnificently in midfield in the three matches on Saturday unfortunately was not available for Sunday’s final.
His place in midfield in the final was taken by the ever improving and hardworking Peter Quigley to partner James Smullen.
Both played really well together with James Smullen gave an exhibition of midfield play throughout the game, working tirelessly to cover his back line and linking up effectively with the forward line.
The half-back line of Aaron Nugent, Enda Molloy and Diarmuid Masterson performed resolutely throughout the game prompting the forward line and considerably limiting the Mayo forwards’ scoring opportunities.
Any attacks that broke the half-back line were met by an extremely dependable full- back line of Luke Moloney, Conor Linnane and Cathal O Dulachain with Jamie Byrne again performing really well in goal.
All the forwards played very well as a unit getting some great scores. The half-forward line of Emmet Byrne, Jim Doyle and Wayne Kinsella worked really hard. Jim in particular gave his best performance of the competition scoring 1-2 and completely dominating the Mayo centrehalf back. This performance earned Jim the man of the match award.
The full-forward line of Kevin Byrne, Daniel Nolan and Cian O’Byrne all played their part in Wicklow’s fantastic performance. Kevin, who won his place on the team following a great performance against Armagh in the group stages scoring 2-2, went on to score the crucial first goal in the final.
The scores on the day were Cian O Byrne 0-1, Jim Doyle 1-2, Emmet Byrne 0-3, Kevin Byrne 1-1 and when young Daniel Staunton came on he got a fine goal.
Wicklow won the final 3-7 to 2-2 conceding a very late goal. Due to Wicklow’s dominance in the second-half, it was great that they were able to give all the subs a run in the final.
On behalf of the Management team sincere thanks to all who helped in the preparation of this squad including Wicklow County Board, the Wicklow clubs for the use of their facilities especially Avondale, Carnew, Kilcoole, Bray Emmets and Glenealy. To all the parents who supported their children in their quest for suc- cess. Hopefully with everyone’s support this success will be the first of many that these young hurlers will achieve.
The full Wicklow Tony Forristal panel was: Pierce Sweeney, Cian O’Byrne, Jim Doyle, Enda Molloy, Luke Moloney, Muiris O’Floinn, Diarmuid Masterson (capt.), Cathal O Dulachain ( all Bray Emmets) Stephen Murphy, John Walsh, Daniel Nolan , Wayne Kinsella, Ciarán Mullhall ( all Carnew Emmets), Jamie Byrne, Emmet Byrne, Aaron Nugent, Conor Linnane, James Manley, Daniel Staunton (all Glenealy), Eoin Keddy (Kilcoole), Paul Murray, Eoin Coogan (Michael Dwyers), Peter Quigley (Avondale), Kevin Byrne and James Smullen (Eire Og). All the lads performed exceptionally well and represented their county with pride, honour and distinction. Well done lads.
Mentors: Chris Masterson (Bray Emmets); Michael Anthony O’Neill (Glenealy); Nigel Manley (Glenealy); James Doran (Carnew) and Michael Neary (Hurling Development Administrator).