Midleton capture Minor County Hurling Title

25 October, 2010

Long wait ends as Midleton capture Minor County Hurling Title

Midleton 1-15 Na Piarsigh 0-12

Declan Barron reports from Pairc Ui Rinn

Midleton were crowned county Premier Minor Hurling champions for the first time since 1989, bringing a long wait to an end for the Magpies, who were fully deserving winners, of a well contested final. None of these lads were even born when Midleton last won this title so it is a welcome win for Midleton who will also be in action on this Thursday night in the East Cork U21 A Hurling final.

Indeed it took a deflected goal from Stephen Moore to give Midleton a little breathing space on the scoreboard after Danny Morrissey had brought the sides level for the 4th time ten minutes into the second half. Moore’s goal following a long delivery from Leslie Coughlan was the spur Midleton needed and once they got their heads in front they held their composure to earn a well deserved but hard fought victory against a gallant Na Piarsigh side that lost nothing in defeat.

Midleton drew first blood in this encounter with team captain Conor Lehane firing over a splendid point. Midleton knew they were in a dogfight however as the Na Piarsigh reply was strong with the excellent Alan Kenneally shooting three points in a row as Na Piarsigh led at the end of an interesting opening quarter by 0-3 to 0-1. The Midleton cause was not helped by a blood injury to Finbarr O’Mahony who had to depart and was replaced by Elliot Mulcahy until half time when O’Mahony resumed.

By half time however Midleton had regained the initiative as they played some of their best hurling in the second quarter with Pat White, Danny Morrissey with a pile driver and Stephen Moore all adding points from play while Conor Lehane converted two frees to give Midleton a one point advantage as Na Piarsigh finished the half well with points from Alan Hogan, Alan Kenneally and a superb effort from Keith Buckley leaving Na Piarsigh trailing by 0-7 to 0-8 at the interval. It might well have been more but goalkeeper Keith Harris did well to save from Pat White in the second minute with both sides very much in the hunt at the interval.

Midleton started with Danny Morrissey, (who made his senior debut for Cork city on Friday night) in attack and the speed merchant certainly earned his keep with three superb points over the hour, two of which could easily have been goals. On the restart it was Na Piarsigh who drew level with Kenneally converting another free. The Blackpool side might well have had a goal after Midleton keeper Joe Loftus seemed to drop the ball but referee Diarmuid Kirwan awarded a free out much to the annoyance of the Na Piarsigh fans in the fine crowd. Alan Kenneally put Na Piarsigh back in front with his seventh point of the afternoon before Midleton levelled through Danny Morrissey.

The Stephen Moore goal then arrived followed by a superb point from Pat White and suddenly Midleton were now four points in front. That breathing space was needed as Paul Cumming and Cian Buckley added points for Na Piarsigh who by now were pushing hard to remain in contention. Midleton too had made some switches with Ian Kennefick going to midfield and with speedsters Morrissey and Lehane on the wings, Midleton were always a threat going forward. Morrissey struck over his third point with seven minutes remaining after intercepting a sideline ball and he was just off target with a pile driver after receiving a good pass from Ian Kennefick. Had that ball gone in it would have been curtains for Na Piarsigh who brought the deficit back to just two points as Alan Hogan pointed.

Na Piarsigh needed a goal and they tried might and main to get it but found a Midleton defence well marshalled by Patrick O’Mahony, Leslie Coughlan and Paudie Farrell to be in superb form while goalkeeper Joe Loftus made one good save as well to keep Na Piarsigh at bay. At the other end Stephen Moore saw his drive come back off the butt of the post with the title still up for grabs.

When the need was greatest however Midleton showed they had the bottle to go on and win as team captain Conor Lehane took the game by the scruff of the neck as he rifled over three superb points from play before Stephen Moore had the final say in injury time as Midleton had ended the long wait with a magnificent victory. Gallant losers last year when Blackrock just edged them out, on this occasion they were worthy winners of a great final.

County Minor board chairman Peter Hogan presented the McGrath Cup to proud Midleton captain Conor Lehane, while Shay Livingstone of the Rochestown Park Hotel named Patrick O’Mahony as the man of the match as he had a terrific game in defence.

Midleton: C Lehane 0-7, S Moore 1-2, D Morrissey 0-3, P White 0-2 and C Walsh 0-1.

Na Piarsigh: A Kenneally 0-7, A Hogan 0-2, P Cumming, C Buckley and K Buckley 0-1 each.

Midleton: J Loftus, L Coughlan, N O’Regan, P Farrell, P O’Mahony, F O’Mahony, K Burke, T Wallace, C McCarthy, C Walsh, I Kennefick, C Lehane, P White, S Moore and D Morrissey. Subs used E Mulcahy and N Madden.

Na Piarsigh: K Harris, A Bell, L Connery, A Dennehy, Adam Dennehy, C Joyce, K Buckley, C Buckley, D Morrissey, P Cumming, A Hogan, D McMahon, A Kenneally, E Connolly and S Duggan. Subs used J English and C O’Connor.

Referee, Diarmuid Kirwan Eire OG.