Fan­tas­tic week­end of hurl­ing ends in con­tro­versy and dev­as­ta­tion for Dwyers

Bray People - - SPORT -

LAST week­end the Wick­low Féile hurl­ing cham­pi­ons trav­elled to West­meath for the an­nual Féile na nGael un­der-14 hurl­ing tour­na­ment which was be­ing hosted by Gal­way and West­meath clubs.

Trav­el­ling more in hope than ex­pec­ta­tion, the lads were pit­ted against for­mi­da­ble op­po­si­tion in their group.

This in­cluded the West­meath (Clann na Gael) and Derry (Swartagh) cham­pi­ons plus our hosts South­ern Gaels from Athlone.

Hav­ing trav­elled the two and a half hour jour­ney from west Wick­low in glo­ri­ous sun­shine the lo­cals put on a great re­cep­tion with a pre-match bar­beque for all play­ers and sup­port­ers.

First up was game against pre-tour­na­ment favourites Clan na Gael who we were told had a host of very strong county un­der-14 play­ers.

The game started slowly for Dwyers but with some great de­fend­ing form keeper Adam Wil­liamson, Char­lie Cham­ley, Finn Be­han and Ross Sheri­dan we man­aged to con­tain the Clann threat and went in level at half-time with two points each.

Un­for­tu­nately we lost one of our main scor­ing threats, Matt Miley, in the first 10 min­utes.

We now knew that we had ev­ery chance to take this side and so tore into the op­po­si­tion in the first 10 min­utes and scored 1-1 with­out re­ply with the goal com­ing from the ver­sa­tile James Boland and Austin Brennan tack­ing over a long range free.

It was now backs to the wall stuff as Clann threw ev­ery­thing at us but could only man­age one point and so Dwyers has won the first bat­tle on a score of 1-3 to 0-3.

One of the highlights of this game was the man­ner in which young Rian Wal­ters man­aged to con­tain the tow­er­ing cen­tre­back from Clann. This could be our week­end!

Next up were the Derry cham­pi­ons form Swa­trtagh and with such for­mi­da­ble names as An­thony To­hill who was a fan­tas­tic hurler as well as a foot­baller in their club we knew th­ese boys would not be found want­ing.

Again we started very slowly but man­aged to break down their strong run­ning game and with the out­stand­ing Sam Gough in mid­field and Cian Deer­ing, Conor Richard­son, Eoin Sheri­dan Conor Man­i­fold and Luke Byrne win­ning lots of possession we even­tu­ally came through on a score­line of 1-2 to 0-3. This was one hell of a bat­tle but we could now rest, gather our thoughts and make our plans for the fol­low­ing morn­ing where we played the hosts on their home pitch in Athlone.

On an­other scorch­ing day in the mid­lands, South­ern Gaels were our only ob­sta­cle to a cup quar­ter-fi­nal. This proved to be one of our eas­ier games and lead­ing 2-3 to one point at half-time we were now in the driv­ing seat and even­tu­ally ended up win­ners on a score­line of 2-5 to 1-3 and with all of our 24 play­ers get­ting game time.

Some great per­for­mances were put in by some of our younger play­ers with Andy Cor­ri­gan, Brian Richard­son, Sean Darker, Daniel Byrne, Pa­trick Dunne and Conor Car­mody to the fore.

All roads now led to the famed foot­ball nurs­ery of Clann Na Gael, Roscommon home of the four times All-Ire­land club foot­ball fi­nal­ists of the 80’s and 90’s.

Our op­po­si­tion was none other than the old­est hurl­ing club in the GAA – Com­mer­cials, Dublin.

This turned out to be a very tough, tense and tight af­fair with no scores in the first half just in­cred­i­ble tack­les, hooks and blocks to the fore.

Even­tu­ally af­ter her­culean work by Ciaran Coyne and Austin Brennan in de­fence we man­age to get on top and a point by Jack O’Toole and a won­der­fully worked goal by Ivor Fen­ton gave us a four-point lead lead­ing into in­jury time.

Com­mer­cials then scored a free and in the fifth minute of in­jury time we con­ceded a goal from a 65 which trick­led into the corner of the net.

But from the re­sul­tant puck out we were awarded a free 65m out on the side­line which was pointed by Austin Brennan but as it popped over the bar the ref­eree in­cred­i­bly sig­nalled a free out for a square ball and then blew up for ex­tra-time from the re­sul­tant free.

The lads re­ally gave their all for the ex­tra 10 min­utes but Com­mer­cials man­aged to sur­vive on a score of 1-3 to 1-1. They even­tu­ally won their semi-fi­nal by 14 points and their fi­nal by seven.

It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all in­volved, play­ers, coaches and par­ents alike and no doubt there will be many, many sto­ries re­galed in time to come of OUR Féile na nGael 2018 ex­pe­ri­ence.

the Michael dwyers team ahead of their de­par­ture for the 2018 Féile na nGael.

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