Roinn A Final Nowlan Park 19/6/2014St. Canice's 2-7. Gaelscoil 2-5
Houdini Hat Trick
Amazing, unbelievable, fortunate, daylight robbery, lucky, brave - any or all of them might describe how we won this Roinn A final in Nowlan Park yesterday evening. Our two point victory looked extremely unlikely when we trailed by 5 entering the last ten minutes, but this group of hurlers showed an incredible desire and persistence, and when Sean Cleere blew the full time whistle, there were scenes of great joy from the large crowd of Canice's supporters. But also amid that joy, there was a huge sympathy for the young hurlers from Gaelscoil, and their mentors Nioclas and Brian. To have a victory snatched from you in such a fashion is a cruel thing, and their graciousness after the game, their guard of honour for us entering the tunnel, their kind words in our dressing room; it was the epitome of sportsmanship.
Our captain Padraic Moylan won the toss and we took the advantage of the slight breeze blowing towards the town goal. The story of the first half( and the whole match until the last 7 minutes) was the dominance of both defences. Our young attack found it difficult to make progress against a solid Gaelscoil defence, while our defenders were on top throughout. We opened the scoring with a Liam Moore free- an incredible strike from the new stand sideline. He landed another from play from midfield shortly afterwards to put us two up. The next score was a Gaelscoil goal- their full forward was first to react to a high ball batted out- and he gave Ronan no chance in goal. For the remainder of the half, the Gaelscoil added two points, while two converted Liam Moore frees, and an Aaron Murphy point from play lefts the sides level 0-5 to 1-2 at half time.
Gaelscoil began the second half with serious intent. They were gaining the upper hand at midfield, and when they added 1-2 without reply, it was not looking too rosy for us. Indeed, our opposition could easily have led by more: a shot hit the bottom of the post, and on another occasion Ronan showed great bravery when leaving his line in a one on one situation.
Sean Maher came on midfield- he was super. Eoin Dalton, Ger Byrne and David Kelleher all came on in the forwards. Timmy Clifford had fought tirelessly for his team. Liam Moore went midfield and Padrauc Moylan went centre back. David Delahunty(another star today) went full back- and with 7 minutes left, everything began to change. It began when the brave Ger Byrne won possession and was fouled just outside the 21. Padraic came up and blasted just over the bar- not the desired result, but it was to be a turning point. Shortly afterwards, a mishit free from Liam Moore in front of the ( now gone) old stand was grabbed by Patrick O Shea about 25 yards out. Under severe pressure, and striking from his left he managed to drill the ball low into the corner of the net- suddenly a one point game. Now our positional changes were luckily making a difference: Padraic was unbeatable at centre back- and when it did go behind him, Cian, David D and Luke were a watertight unit. Liam was masterful in supplying ball. Niall, David Walsh and Sean Maher all showed true grit, and with time all but up, another sub, Eoin Dalton, scored a beautiful equaliser with that lovely strike he possesses.
Out of jail, and readying ourselves for extra time, the clock ticked into injury time. When David Conway, the heartbeat of our attackers all year, gained one last possession near goal, and surrounded by at least three strong defenders, his chances looked slim. But he showed the guile of a seasoned professional, and with no room to swing his hurley, he cleverly kicked with his right foot into the right corner of the net: an incredible 3 point lead!
Two and a half minutes of extra time led to a Gaelscoil free about 25m from our goal. We lined it well, and when the ball crossed the bar, we knew that victory was ours.
This was a superb game. It was played in a tremendous spirit by both teams, and without doubt, the Gaelscoil warriors were extremely unlucky to loose in such a fashion. Their acceptance of their ill luck, their guard of honour- perhaps the most memorable deed on an evening of great sport in Nowlan Park.
We all travelled to the Pembroke for a meal and refreshments afterwards, and were royally treated, as always. We enjoyed our three in a row ( never before achieved by any other team), and before long, we started to talk about next year. We mentioned our three 4 th class starters today: James Carroll, Cillian Hackett and Rory O Connor, what a trio! And the other numerous boys waiting to take the places of our 6 th class leavers this year. Next year, next year ............
C Rowe P Moylan(0-1,f) L Morrissey
D Delahunty L Moore (0-4, 3f)N Rowe
PO Shea(1-0) D Walsh
T Clifford D Conway(1-0) J Carroll
R O Connor A Murphy(0-1)C Hackett
Eoin Dalton(0-1)S Maher D Kelleher G Byrne
I O Keeffe K Fitzpatrick J Delaney S McEvoy Z McHardy E O Reilly ADorney M. Clifford T Carroll N Doheny B Manogue P Fitzgerald S Dermody E O Neill