Moneygall/Clonakenny - County Minor ‘B’ Hurling champions. Back row: Roger Quigley, John Doughan, Joe Stapleton, Brian Toohey, Daire Ryan, Cian Ryan, Stephen King, Sean Stapleton, Killian Toohey, Tadgh Whyte, Andy Hoolan, Cormack Murray. Front row: Andrew Murray, Bobbie Gleeson, Eoghan Doughan, Dylan McCormack (Captain), Oisin O’Dwyer, Adam O’Brien, Paddy McCormack, Cormack Hoolan, Shay Gleeson, Jim Hoolan. PHOTO: MICHAEL BOLAND

Minor ‘B’ glory for Moneygall/Clonakenny

GAA: County Minor ‘B’ Hurling Championship Final

Moneygall-Clonakenny 2-14

Gortnahoe-Glengoole 1-10

Report: Michael Dundon in Dundrum

A strong finish by Moneygall-Clonakenny endorsed their superiority over Gortnahoe-Glengoole in a most entertaining County Minor ‘B’ Hurling final on Saturday.

The North side were in the driving seat thanks to two first half goals but a determined Gortnahoe-Glengoole third quarter rally had the fair-sized attendance on its feet as the Mid lads sought to reel in opponents who had gone eight points clear. They cut the lead to three points, but Moneygall-Clonakenny showed maturity and character beyond their years as they re-asserted themselves in the closing stages to come through with a somewhat flattering winning margin.

It was a fine contest, played in exemplary spirit and an excellent advertisement for the game at this level. Moneygall-Clonakenny are worthy champions, but Gortnahoe-Glengoole were hugely disappointed at the scoring chances which went abegging both from play and frees, opportunities which, if converted, could have changed the complexion of the game.However, taking one’s chances in an integral part of the game, and in this regard Moneygall-Clonakenny excelled.

A lively start saw each side score four points in the opening twelve minutes. County minor Damien Corbett was Gortnahoe’s key attacker, but he was well policed by Andy Hoolan while the industrious Oisin O’Dwyer and Shay Gleeson were prominent for the combination. Conor Gleeson was a dominant figure at the heart of the Gortnahoe-Glengoole defence.

The first of two decisive first half moments came after fifteen minutes when Adam O’Brien got on the end of an Oisin O’Dwyer delivery to shoot a Moneygall-Clonakenny goal for a 1-4 to 0-4 lead.

It gave the combo a huge lift and though Gortnahoe hit back for a brace of Corbett points, which Eoghan Doughan countered for Moneygall-Clonakenny, the winners got a second significant boost in the 28th minute when an Oisin O’Dwyer effort was fumbled by the Gortnahoe defence and Dylan McCormack punished the error with their second goal.

At the break, Moneygall-Clonakenny were 2-7 to 0-6 ahead and looking good. Gortnahoe-Glengoole pushed talented centre back Conor Gleeson into a more attacking role in the second half as they sought to make up the leeway. Kevin Laffan sent a shot whizzing wide as they piled on the pressure, but they were rewarded after 43 minutes when Damien Corbett got the final touch to a Conor Gleeson delivery that brought them within a goal of their rivals, 1-9 to 2-9.

It was the break Gortnahoe needed, and it asked serious questions of Moneygall-Clonakenny facing into the last quarter. Gortnahoe were driving forward with purpose, but a tenacious defence kept them at bay. Eoghan Doughan pointed after 49 minutes. Corbett again cut the lead to three points but then Tom Whyte came to the fore with a delightful Moneygall point after 55 minutes. Cian Ryan, a quality centre back, added another. Eoghan Doughan was on target at the hour mark, and Whyte seat the seal on the win with his third point of the day in injury time.

Referee Tadhg Lonergan’s final whistle was greeted with justifiable delight by the Moneygall-Clonakenny team and supporters. The merit of their win could not be disputed even if the margin flattered them a trifle. They had heroes all over the pitch with eye-catching performances from Cian Ryan, Sean Stapleton, Oisin O’Dwyer, Eoghan Doughan, Andy Hoolan and Shay Gleeson.

Gortnahoe-Glengoole will regret the chances they missed. They did not have the same quality in attack as their rivals but in Conor Gleeson they had a player of real promise. Damien Corbett did well but was given little scope while Jason Kelly, Aaron O’Dwyer, Kevin Laffan and Lorcan Bourke were others who never stopped trying to inspire a recovery after the setback of the first half goals.

Player of the Match: Cian Ryan (Moneygall/Clonakenny)

Moneygall-Clonakenny: Paddy McCormack; Cormac Murray, Andy Hoolan, Stephen King; Sean Stapleton, Cian Ryan (0-1f), Brian Toohey; Killian Toohey, Cormac Hoolan; Shay Gleeson (0-2), Oisin O’Dwyer (0-1), Eoghan Doughan (0-6, 4f); Tadhg Whyte (0-3), Adam O’Brien (1-1), Dylan McCormack (1-0).

Gortnahoe-Glengoole: Lee Norton; Paddy Norton, Brandon Webster, David Stanley; Billy Hogan, Conor Gleeson, Eamon Long; Jason Kelly, Aaron Dwyer; Thomas Meaney, Kevin Laffan (0-1), Max Sheppard (0-1); Lorcan Bourke, Damian Corbett (1-7, 0-6f), Declan Teehan (0-1). Sub: Darren Ryan for Stanley (HT).

Referee: Tadhg Lonergan (Kilsheelan/Kilcash)