City Junior B Champions 2019!

Kildimo/Pallaskenry 2-14 Crecora/Manister 2-10

Kildimo and Pallaskenry joined together for the purposes of adult hurling in 2012 and, for the first time as a unified club, we have raised the Junior B City Championship title as we defeated Crecora/Manister in Crecora! We have been strong at this grade over the last couple of years, but it shows the growth of the club that its second team are improving year on year, with a healthy mix of youth and experience. We’ve been waiting a long time for this final to be played but it was a strong team that took to the field, with plenty of options on the bench also! The team showed their ability to play in a number of ways: some very intelligent and free-flowing hurling particularly in the first half but also the grit to dig out a result in a more physical second half!

We were certainly the better team in the first half and had opened up a healthy lead by the half-time break. Player/manager and main marksman, Danny O’Sullivan, opened the scoring with a placed ball following a foul on Kieran O’Brien. Kieran was part of an experienced midfield duo with Brendan O’Shea, both covering a lot of ground and contributing in both attack and defence in the first half. Another one of the experienced heads, Mikey Dillon, was involved in our second score: he cut a lovely sideline in towards Danny at full-forward, who broke it for Ryan, who flicked the ball over the bar for the opening score from play.

Our lead extended to five points when we hit the first goal of the game; a ball was dropped in around the square and although it looked as if the Crecora/Manister defence had dealt with it, Paudi Hartigan was alert to flick the ball away from the crowd and then pull on it on the ground, the shot flying past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner! Paudi was a real handful with his pace and movement, feeding well off Danny at full-forward. Down the other end, James Mason was called into action to make a smart save following a decent run by a Crecora/Manister forward before they hit their first score from a free.

We hit a couple of wides during this period but our midfield duo settled us again with some very composed play; Brendan O’Shea picked up a loose ball as he did all afternoon and picked out Kieran O’Brien in space, who opened the shoulders and let fly from out the field. Our opponents then struck a ’65 before Danny got on the scoresheet again with another free, after Paudi Hartigan was fouled. This would be the first of three scores in a row for Danny, which would see our lead extend out to seven points. Evan Considine’s dangerous dropping ball forced the goalkeeper to concede a ’65, which Danny slotted with ease before Brendan Meskell, who got through an amount of work from centre-forward, was fouled for another free from Danny!

Our opponents then struck another free before the excellent Mikey Dillon was fouled, as he emerged from defence. Evan Considine came forward from full-back to take the free and he made no mistake from long-range! The next score was arguably the score of the game, it involved a lot of very good movement off the ball and some very clever interplay. Mikey Dillon was again first to a break and got the ball into his hand with consummate ease and he linked up with Kieran O’Brien. Kieran found midfield partner Brendan O’Shea, who delivered a ball inside towards Danny O’Sullivan. Danny eased his marker off the ball, allowing Paudi Hartigan race onto it and he checked inside, before popping over the bar!

The home side then struck their first point from play to close the gap, before Paudi Hartigan, who continued to torment their full-back line won a free after referee, Kevin O’Brien, deemed there to have been no advantage. Once again, Danny O’Sullivan made no mistake with the placed ball, bringing his tally for the first half to 0-5. We opened our lead out to nine points when a very clever quick free from Evan Considine spotted the equally-clever run of Matthew Lucey. The movement into space allowed him the time to settle and strike the ball over the bar for his first point of the afternoon! However, Crecora/Manister did finish the half strongly and hit a point from play and another pointed free before the break to leave the half-time score: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-10 Crecora/Manister 0-6.

We had played some nice hurling in that first half, our full-forward line always looked a threat but the second half was a completely different affair as our opponents upped matters in the physical stakes and raised their intensity. The second half did start like the first half, however, with Kieran O’Brien being fouled and Danny O’Sullivan slotting the free. But then a dangerous ball was dropped in around the square and an overhead pull saw the ball flash to the back of the net for a goal for Crecora/Manister and it was very much game on again! They followed this score up with a point from play to reduce the gap to just four points.

James Pomeroy, who put in an absolutely huge shift in the second half in particular, played a vital role in our next score which was key to respond to their goal! He made a brilliant overlapping run down the left wing from wing-back and left the Crecora/Manister backs with no option but to drag him down. Once again, Danny O’Sullivan struck the free straight between the uprights as he brought his tally to 0-7. Our opponents hit back with a point from play before we had another goal chance; Paudi Hartigan played a ball across to Danny, who tried to double it on first-time but the ball flew wide. However, we did hit a second goal when Evan Considine drove a free in from out the field which hung dangerously before ending in the top corner as no one dealt with it! It brought Evan’s tally for the day to 1-1, not bad for a full-back!

It looked like this had given us control of the game once more, but we would hit a lot of wides in a row which would have allowed us to pull clear of the home side! They would close the gap to six again before team captain, Brendan O’Shea, stepped up to settle our nerves and fire the ball between the uprights. We had this seven-point lead as we headed into the final ten minutes but the game was now a real battle, with a lot of big hits all over the field! The likes of Mikey Dillon and James Pomeroy in defence really stood up in this period, as they drove out of defence with an awful lot of ball! But Crecora/Manister would hit a second goal to close the gap to just four points, before excellent defensive play from James Pomeroy prevented them from getting a third. Jai Chaudri, Eoin O’Brien, Evan McCarthy and Brian Howard were among the other players putting their bodies on the line to prevent any scoring chances arising.

Darragh O’Brien came in at wing-forward and put in a big shift also, and he was involved in the build-up for a move which resulted with Mikey Dillon stepping into space and releasing a shot from inside in his own half which sailed over the bar, to just settle us once more! Crecora/Manister would hit one more score from a free but they were unable to breach our defensive rearguard for another goal, although we would not add any more scores ourselves. But referee, Kevin O’Brien, blew the final whistle which meant it was a four-point victory for us and a first ever Junior B City Hurling Championship title as an amalgamated club!

It’s been a long year but it’s great to come away with silverware at the end of it all! A big effort has been put in by the players this year, many of them training since early February and are well-deserving of their rewards now! A big thank you to the players and also to their management team of Danny O’Sullivan, Brendan O’Shea, Mikey Dillon, Gary Dillon, John Maher and also to John Chawke! The lads have put in a huge effort in keeping things ticking over even while we had no competitive fixtures. Well done to all involved, we’re keeping the trophy cabinet well-stocked!

Team: James Mason; Evan McCarthy, Evan Considine (1-1, frees), Jai Chaudri; Brian Howard, Mikey Dillon (0-1), James Pomeroy; Brendan O’Shea (0-1), Kieran O’Brien (0-1); Ryan Kelly (0-1), Brendan Meskell, Naoise McGarrigle; Matthew Lucey (0-1), Danny O’Sullivan (0-7, frees), Paudi Hartigan (1-1)

Subs: Darragh O’Brien for Ryan Kelly (half-time); Chris McMahon for Naoise McGarrigle (41 mins); Eoin O’Brien for Evan McCarthy (52 mins); Jason Daly for Matthew Lucey (52 mins); Cathal O’Shaughnessy for Brendan Meskell (61 mins)