J J Kavanagh & Sons Junior Hurling Championship Round 1: 9-10-2021
Mooncoin 3-30 Galmoy 3-19 (After Extra Time)
This Junior Championship game, played in beautiful sunshine in Callan on Saturday, had everything. Goals,controversy,drama and some fine fine individual performances, all contributed to some serious entertainment for the large crowd assembled. In the end ,it was a final spurt in the second half of extra time, that pushed Mooncoin over the line .But pushed they were, all the way, by a hugely competitive Galmoy side.
A cracking individual goal by Billy Drennan, after an Oisín Phelan pass, set the tone for what Galmoy were going to bring to the occasion. Drennan rounded two defenders before striking off his right past Eoin Purcell. The impressive Patrick Walsh opened the Mooncoin account from a free in the 3rd minute, but points from Conor Drennan and Kevin Duggan saw Galmoy lead 1-2 to 0-2 at the first waterbreak after a low scoring opening quarter. Mooncoin reset at this break and hit three unanswered scores immediately, the most important being a Patrick Walsh goal after a superb catch and pass by Adam Croke. In fairness, Galmoy goalkeeper Joe Dollard had earlier denied Walsh with a point blank save.
A foul on Kevin Duggan saw Conor Drennan pull one back for Galmoy, but Mooncoin dominated that second quarter and hit some fine points per John Fitzgerald, Adam Croke and Patrick Walsh. Galmoy plucked one more before the interval, when Oisín Phelan took a pass from Conor Drennan to leave it Mooncoin 1-8 Galmoy 1-4 at the half time break.
John Fitzgerald had been impressive for Mooncoin with some fine striking as he operated about 40 metres from goal. Mooncoin were playing a very composed passing game with a measured build up from the back before picking out a forward in space. The problem for them at this stage was, that they had hit nine wides as opposed to one for the men in blue. While Mooncoin’s forwards were making inroads, they well thwarted on a few occasions by Brendan Phelan and Colm Smith who were up for the fight in the Galmoy defence.
Midfielder Sean Gannon carried an injury into the game and he was replaced by his brother Martin at the break. It didn’t unduly affect his side however, as Mooncoin began strongly, with further strikes from Fitzgerald, Adam Croke and one from long distance by the impressive Paul Henebery. Nigel Stanley sent in a low delivery which Conor Drennan gathered and converted, before Kevin Duggan put Frank Phelan clear to point also, as Galmoy tried to stem the tide.Two points
on the trot from Billy Drennan reduced the gap to four points after 40 minutes of play. Conor Drennan added a free before Ciarán Quilty won a good ball in a ruck and struck over on the run to leave Mooncoin four ahead at the second waterbreak 1-13 to 1-9.
Conor Drennan shipped a heavy tackle to win a free which he converted but the next five scores in a row belonged to the southerners. The first was after an excellent three man move which ended with Kevin Crowley splitting the posts.Patrick Walsh, Adam Croke and Martin O Neill also got in on the act to leave it 1-18 to 1-10 after 55 minutes of play.To be honest, they owe an awful lot to their goalkeeper Eoin Purcell as he brought off three impressive saves in this final quarter.He firstly denied Billy Drennan, before bringing off a quick double save from Conor Drennan and Brian Kelly at a time when a Galmoy goal would have been more than welcome .
That goal did eventually come, however. In the 57th minute, wingback Ryan Murphy was fouled in front of the stand. Conor Grace took the free and from fully 85 metres, his low trajectory shot went all the way to the Mooncoin net. This reduced the gap to five points ,but more importantly for Galmoy ,it was a lifeline. And boy did they accept it. Playing with a new found vigour they ran at the Mooncoin defence and were rewarded with points from Conor Grace and Billy Drennan as well as two more Conor Drennan frees. Patrick Walsh pulled two back for the southerners, who now lead by three with four minutes of injury time played. Galmoy summoned one last effort .Conor Drennan soloed up the middle and let fly a goalbound shot from 30 metres. Once again, Eoin Purcell was equal to the task, but quick as a flash, Billy Drennan flicked home the rebound to level the game. Shortly afterwards, Kieran Canavan blew the final whistle. The controversy arose when the scoreboard indicated a one point win for Galmoy, but the referee correctly had it dead level and so extra time ensued.
Galmoy took heart and began impressively once again. Conor Drennan hit three points in succession to leave his side two points ahead after Patrick Walsh put over another free. Midfielder Conor Brophy and Paul Henebery struck back for Mooncoin, before Billy Drennan put Galmoy a point to the good as half time approached.The next score proved to be the most influential score of the day. Strong centreforward Martin O Neill set off on a solo up the right hand side and ,after riding three tackles in succession, he batted the sliotar past Joe Dollard to leave Mooncoin ahead 2-23 to 3-18 at the last interval.
Upon resumption, Mooncoin were buoyed on by this vital score and they now took control .After Patrick Walsh added a point, they won a line ball on the right hand side and when it was delivered across goal, John Fitzgerald got the vital touch to slip the ball to the Galmoy net and in doing so he dashed any remaining hopes that the northerners might have had. Mooncoin went on to hit six further points with just one sole reply from Gearóid Phelan as Galmoy’s challenge hit the rocks.All in all, a great game of hurling fought in an amazing spirit throughout by both sides.
Mooncoin:Eoin Purcell,James Delahunty,Aidan Doyle,Niall Madden(Capt.),Cormac Daly,Paul Henebery(0-4,0-2frees),James Aylward,Conor Brophy(0-1),Sean Gannon,Kevin Crowley(0-1),Martin O Neill(1-1),Ciarán Quilty(0-1),Adam Croke(0-6),Patrick Walsh(1-10 ,0-5 frees),John Fitzgerald(1-5)
Subs:Martin Gannon for Sean Gannon 31 mins,Sean Walsh(0-1) for Ciarán Quilty 49mins,Oisín Henebery for Kevin Crowley 55 mins,Sean O Dwyer for Conor Brophy 65 mins
Galmoy:Joe Dollard, Colm Smith ,Brendan Phelan, Matt Delaney,Conor Grace(1-1,1-0 free), Gearóid Phelan(0-1),Ryan Murphy,Nigel Stanley,Oisín Phelan(0-1) ,Kevin Duggan(0-1), Billy Drennan(2-4), Brandan Phelan, Sean Phelan, Conor Drennan(Capt.)(0-10,0-6 frees) Frank Phelan(0-1),
Subs: Jack Delaney for Frank Phelan 39 mins,Brian Kelly for Matt Delaney 47 mins,Tom Corcoran for Sean Phelan 48 mins,Patrick Doyle for Brandan Phelan 55 mins.Brandan Phelan for Brian Kelly 72 mins,Sean Phelan for Oisín Phelan(inj.)74 mins
Referee: Kieran Canavan (John Lockes)