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Minor County Champions 2016 (Evening Echo 13/9/16 - Eamonn Murphy)

Minor Hurling
ON A dirty night for hurling, goals swung two entertaining Rebel Óg Premier Minor Hurling finals in Na Piarsaigh and Blarney’s favour at Páirc Uí Rinn.

The city side struck for five against underdogs Killeagh/Ita’s, which was in keeping with their semi-final against a highly-rated Sarsfields when they blasted four goals. The heavy pitch and driving rain, as well as the threat of a Piarsaighs forward unit spearheaded by Evan Sheehan, left the Imokilly side exposed, though it must be said two of the five goals could be attributed somewhat to the weather.

Luke Fogarty, Killeagh/Ita's, is surrounded by Na Piarsaigh players Greg Healy, Ciaran O'Flynn and Dessie Roche. Picture: Dan Linehan

Luke Fogarty, Killeagh/Ita’s, is surrounded by Na Piarsaigh players Greg Healy, Ciaran O’Flynn and Dessie Roche. Picture: Dan Linehan

Still, the chances were there to be taken, with Daniel McGuire and Sheehan rattling in two apiece, and Patrick Buckley pouncing for the other. Killeagh/Ita’s did come close to goaling themselves, but Dave Ogbebor and Luke Fogarty couldn’t get past keeper Sean O’Meara, and a steely defence in which Kyle Power, Greg Healy and Dessie Roche stood out.  Roche was selected as Carrigaline Court Hotel Man of the Match afterwards, which might appear odd given the potency of the new champions’ attack, but Killeagh/Ita’s were held to just four points from play. Roche hurled the world of ball in the number two geansaí, particularly in the second half when he was out towards the wing.

The goals were still critical of course. Piarsaigh made a lightning start, 1-3 to no score ahead after six minutes, with Sheehan threatening to run riot and McGuire gambling for a neat goal. The East Cork team settled though, Kevin Murphy a powerhouse in the half-back line, while Keane Kelly-Budds, Cathal Deane, Killian Treacy and Ogbebor clicked into gear from midfield up.  They hit six points to Na Piarsaigh’s one before half-time, and then levelled through Kelly-Budds immediately on the restart. It was anyone’s game at that juncture, but the next two scores were Na Piarsaigh’s and both were goals, Sheehan’s rocket from a class Craig Hanifin pass to make it 3-4 to 0-7 the magic moment.

Hanifin put in a great shift at wing-forward, finishing with 0-3 and assists for two goals, and his aerial ability is a real plus. Expect him and Sheehan to lead the line for the Cork minors in 2017, and both would have been worthy of the Man of the Match accolade here.  Sheehan finished out what was still a decent encounter with the last 1-2, and like his first, the goal was arrowed in with uncanny power and accuracy, on the run.

Killeagh/Ita’s will of course be gutted not to have pulled off a shock in the Premier 1 final, given it was their second loss in three years, but their underage section is thriving with smaller numbers than most.


Na Piarsaigh are in a good place right now, Premier 1 U16 champs last year and minor kingpins this time out.