At the start of this year it was unknown whether we would be able to participate in the Under 14 age group with such a paucity of boys on the actual 14 age but aided by those on a younger scale we managed to muster up a panel and were positioned in the Division Three tier of the competition.
Despite not able to qualify from our group in the Feile competition last May it did manage to show that all the sides were of equal ability and that the championship would be keenly contested.After a hard fought victory in the Western Final against Clashmore our appearance in the County Final was certainly a welcome bonus.Such was the case last Saturday afternoon when we headed over to famed Fraher Field where our opponents were Passage a side who did actually qualify for that Feile competition in Cork.
On what was a beautiful Summers day conditions were ideal for Hurling so there wasn’t going to be any excuses. This being the first time that we would have played in the Fraher Field never mind our first County Final we were very nervous from the start and this showed in the early exchanges as the more alert Passage lads took control of the game to race into an early lead with some well taken points.Indeed it could be said that our goal was living a charmed life with one attack seeing the sliothar ricocheting off the crossbar. Our case back there was also helped the performance of goalie Leon Lannon who performed heroics in the goal throughout the whole fifty minutes. Gradually we began to settle down as the nerves disappeared and our defense well marshalled by both Darragh Murphy and Robbie Wall began to get to grips with the lively Passage forwards.Outside them the half back line of Matthew Coles,Carmello Crivello and Luke Irwin were the instigators in not only gathering that 50-50 ball but releasing it to our forwards which would eventually lead to us registering our first scores.
Some fine point scoring from Brian Curran kept us in touch and come half time we trailed by 0.4 to 0.6. That the scoreline was just two points was testament to the hard working midfielders of James Maye and Darryl Harty who despite the sweltering conditions worked tirelessly throughout. Heartened that there was just one puck of a ball between us gave us some glimmer of hope as we headed out for the second half . However we were hit with a hammer blow when Passage struck with a powerful goal to probably put them in a position their dominance deserved.
We were now put to the test to see if we had the resilience and determination within us to get back into the game or could this five point deficit prove insurmountable. We hadn’t to wait long to find our answer.An alert Eddie Burke took his opportunity to slam a free to the Passage net. Indeed Eddie,a hat trick hero in the Western Final,was putting in a tremendous performance again on the half forward line ably assisted on the other wing by Brandon Dillon experiencing life in the forwards for the first time and excelling in the role. Inside them we had the youngest line on the field with the two eleven year olds John Meehan and Tony O’Donnell born within a day of each other in September 07 who both worked tirelessly to the end.
Our efforts were now been rewarded as slowly but surely we were clawing at their lead.With confidence sky high and Hurling to their best abilities with just five minutes remaining we managed to get level on a 1.9-1.9 scoreline. We now had the momentum and a terrific double block by Eddie Burke saw him release the powerful Brian Curran who was now bearing down on goal with the conundrum in his mind of an easy point to lead or a goal to really seal it. Been from that infamous Curran household it was the latter that prevailed as his shot made its way to the Passage net. We had managed to edge in front for the first time in the game .
A further Eddie Burke point was to prove the insurance point and incredibly at full time we had emerged victorious on a 2.10 to 1.9 scoreline after a terrific game. A team is only as good as its panel which was helped out on Saturday by Darragh Healy,Callum Daly,Callum Bulfin,Raymond Kelly,Pierce Quann and Jacob Dalton. Unfortunate not to line out but whose contribution was immense throughout the year was Luke Power who is currently on the injured list after sustaining a hand injury recently and we wish him a speedy recovery. Also unfortunate to miss out as they were away on Holidays were Will Healy,Zach Power and Billy Hickey with the Dungarvan Jersey draping over the sun lounger in Sunset Beach posted up by Billy on his instagram page on Saturday night a clear indication of his delight.
To the delight of the many supporters who attended and whose support was much appreciated by the lads ,captain Brian Curran received the shield from Bord Na nOg chairman . After a visit back to Clogherane to view the conclusion of the Hoolie long puck it was to Tony’s for a well deserved meal.
Final Facts 1-Carmello Crivello becomes the first Italian to win a County Final medal with Dungarvan . 2-Darryl Harty’s mother Louise Tobin was once part of an under age boys group coached by present long serving mentor Chris Meehan 3-Facebook updates on the match were coming from Megan Daly who was unbelievably out in Saigon.