Clough­duv master con­di­tions bet­ter


CLOUGH­DUV fol­lowed in the re­cent foot­steps of some great Cork ju­nior hurl­ing sides by claim­ing the Mun­ster Ju­nior Hurl­ing ti­tle in Mallow last Sun­day.

In front of a cou­ple of thou­sand hurl­ing fans the boys in green stood firm against a Bal­li­nameela side that in truth never re­ally lived up to their pre-game billing, but Clough­duv did ex­actly what they had to do in con­di­tions that were in truth less than ideal for ex­pan­sive hurl­ing. Great pitch con­di­tions but se­ri­ous wind blow­ing di­ag­o­nally across the field.

This win was ground out in the first half as Clough­duv played against the strong wind in the open­ing 30 min­utes - but still man­aged to come out on top by two points at the break. Bal­li­nameela were re­ally done at the half point mark and de­spite bat­tling away to the fin­ish it was al­most an im­pos­si­ble task for them to stop what had be­come a Clough­duv side des­tined for glory.

Clough­duv’s ti­tle win has been a long time in the com­ing and that is what made last Sun­day’s win all the more spe­cial. There were tears of joy from play­ers and fans and who could blame them. Clough­duv have se­ri­ous his­tory in the game and many in the club felt that this was their chance – their only chance of mak­ing it on the big stage.

Led on the pitch by Mark Ver­ling, along with his brother and tal­is­man Brian, Clough­duv kept the scoreboard tick­ing over which is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors in any fi­nal, never mind in the heat of bat­tle at pro­vin­cial fi­nal stage. Clough­duv’s scor­ing was con­sis­tent through­out the game which was a real pos­i­tive for all con­cerned. The for­wards and mid­field­ers showed a will­ing­ness to shoot all game with six of the front eight man­ag­ing to bag scores on the day.

Up front the Ver­ling’s were im­pres­sive with Joe Ryan bat­tling hard in the first half to lit­tle avail how­ever a good spell in the sec­ond saw the full for­ward bag two vi­tal scores. An­drew Cronin and James Moyni­han also shone how­ever out the field the en­deav­our shown by U21 star Mark Walsh was sig­nif­i­cant in a mid­dle third that was packed for most of the game.

Walsh was im­mense all game with two ter­rific scores and a work ethic that made him the dom­i­nant force in the piv­otal cen­tral role.

“This is in­cred­i­ble re­ally,” said the in­flu­en­tial num­ber eight. “Two years ago, in the mid-Cork we got beaten by Balli­nora in the sec­ond round and we were dis­gusted with that. Then we prob­a­bly were a lit­tle too cocky go­ing into last year’s cham­pi­onship and we got knocked out first round of the county but this year has been in­cred­i­ble.

“I just can’t be­lieve it. I have my older brother there Kevin com­ing on and this is his sec­ond Mun­ster (He was with Canovee when they won be­fore) so it is in­cred­i­ble for him as well. Fair play to the backs there at the end they cleared some ball. We were up against it at times. They hit the cross­bar and put us un­der pres­sure, maybe the score­line could have been a bit closer but fair play to all the lads.

“It was packed in the mid­dle of the field all game. Who­ever was puck­ing out into the wind pulled men into the mid­dle and the ball would get stuck in there. At one

stage the ball didn’t get picked up for about two min­utes – there were fel­lows pulling all over the place but thank­fully at that time and at the end we pulled through for this great win. It is a huge win for us.

“It was a though first half for us. They hit us hard with the first two scores but we fought back quickly to get ahead. We worked hard and I think we de­served the win. We will have a short cel­e­bra­tion now be­cause there are seven of us (in­clud­ing Walsh) in­volved in the U21’s on Wed­nes­day night but I am sure we will get a chance to cel­e­brate prop­erly in the com­ing weeks.”

For those of us that were sit­ting pitch-side with­out that much info on the Water­ford cham­pi­ons the word on the street was that Bal­li­nameela were a se­ri­ous out­fit with plenty of prom­ise but to be fair to the Deise side they re­ally didn’t show that for long pe­ri­ods. Dur­ing the fi­nal 15 min­utes (when you would ex­pect the kitchen sink to be thrown) Bal­li­nameela seemed to be out of pace, power and pas­sion and from 46 min­utes out this one (bar a catas­tro­phe) was al­ways go­ing the Rebel side’s way.

Clough­duv will now face Dun­na­m­ag­gainof Kilkenny in the All Ire­land semi-fi­nal and while that chal­lenge is still a bit away yet it would be hard to ex­pect play­ers and men­tors to not be dream­ing of their chance at an All-Ire­land Fi­nal at head­quar­ters.

Clough­duv’s Ai­dan Mur­phy gets away from Bal­li­nameela’s Kevin Phe­lan

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