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Our under 12 hurlers welcomed five other teams for the annual Liam O’Donoghue tournament on Sunday October 19. We were grouped with Feakle/Killanena from Clare and Ballinhassig from Cork, while the other group consisted of Ballina from Tipperary, Clarecastle from the Banner county and Michael Cusacks from Galway, the latter club being an amalgamation of Beagh and Kilbecanty.
Our first match was a blood and thunder clash with Feakle/Killanena, and despite having to get over any tiredness that might have lingered from the bus journey, it was the Clare lads who settled quickest, notching a goal in the opening minutes. We fought back with scores from Brian O’Meara and Dylan Scanlon, but a wonder goal from the visitors just before half time saw us trail 2-2 to 0-2 at the break.
Scores were hard to come by in the second half, but when Liam Lynch drove a free to the net half way through the half we were looking good to narrow the gap further. Conor Galvin then burst through only to see his fine shot tail agonisingly wide. We then conceded a crucial close-in free to fall four points behind. Another Liam Lynch free cut the gap to a puck of the ball once more, and Dermot Moloney launched a number of attacks with some great clearances, but try as we might we could make no further impression on the scoreboard, and went under 2-3 to 1-3.
We had no time to grieve, and were straight out again to face Ballinhassig in our second game. An early goal for the visitors seemed to spell trouble, but a quick reply from Tom Morrisson was added to almost immediately by Barry Duff to put us into a 2-0 to 1-0 lead, and we never looked back from there, winning in the end by 6-5 to 2-2, with the score of the tournament coming from Darragh O’Hagan, where he doubled on a long delivery and knocked it straight to the net. Conor O’Halloran also notched a spectacular goal, but was unlucky to see it ruled out for square ball. Odhran Dwyer and David Hassett played very well in this match as well.
This pair of results saw us come second in the group, which meant that were were in the “B” final against Michael Cusacks. We were under pressure here from the word go, and again conceded an early goal to our opponents. However a Cathal Joy goal saw us back in the match, and this was followed up by a terrific save from Harry Page in the goal to keep us in touch, though we trailed at half time 1-4 to 1-1.
We tried everything in the second half to retrieve the situation, with Conor O’Malley, Ciaran Kenny and Eamon Flahive particularly prominent in driving us forward, aided no end by Conor Murtagh, who took over the goalkeeping duties for the second half and was finding his men with precision puckouts. Keith McKeogh was unlucky to see a shot deflected wide, before an incoming shot from the Galway lads took a crazy deflection and ended up in the back of the net, effectively ending the game as a contest. We fought on to the end and eventually lost 2-7 to 1-2.
We would like to thank everyone who helped to make the tournament such a success, in particular the tournament sponsors O’Malley Griffin Insurances, whose logo features on this newsletter. Finally, congratulations to a fine Clarecastle team who were the eventual winners of the tournament.
Team: Harry Page, Conor Murtagh, Conor O’Halloran, Dermot Moloney, David Hassett, Ciaran Kenny, Odhran Dwyer, Eamon Flahive, Conor Galvin, Conor O’Malley, Darragh O’Hagan, Dylan Scanlon, Brian O’Meara, Cathal Joy, Liam Lynch, Keith McKeogh, Tom Morrisson, Barry Duff.