Murphy Office Systems Mid Under 14 ‘C’ Football Final
Thurles Gaels 4-03 Durlas Óg 4-02
The final of the Murphy Office Systems U14C football championship turned out to be a cracker of a match between two evenly matched and well prepared sides in Thurles Gaels and Durlas Óg, with Gaels taking the honours by the slenderest of margins in what was a nail biting finish to quite a remarkable game. A glorious and welcome summers evening in the Ragg provided the perfect backdrop to this fascinating tussle, where one wondered if both sets of players could keep up the intensity with which they started the match throughout the game, such was the pace, but yes they did and with some to spare.
The game wasn’t two minutes old when Christopher Carew had the first of the flags flying as he smashed the ball to the roof of the net for Durlas Óg as they powered forward from the off. Two wides followed before Thurles Gaels made their first assault on the Durlas Óg defence as Ronan McGuire was denied a goal by a fine save from Eoin Kerrane. However, Curtis Ryan, who was running in support, found the rebounded ball at his feet, made no mistake in hitting the net with a low ground shot with the keeper out of position.
Gaels then hit two wides also, before they took the lead from an Alan Heaney shot from the right hand side which made its way to the net.
Patrick Moloney followed up with a point from a free for Durlas Óg which was soon cancelled out by a McGuire effort for Gaels to put a goal between them again. As possession ebbed and flowed there was great performances from both sides in the middle of the park, with McGuire, Ryan and Jamie Hackett impressing for Gaels, and Evan Moore, Seamie Doyle and Michael Stakelum doing likewise for Durlas Óg.
It was Durlas Óg who then gained momentum as Philip Ryan hit the net to tie it all up again with seven minutes to the break. Almost immediately, Durlas Óg were in front when the menacing Carew caught a long ball in over the Gaels defence bore down on goal and with the keeper diving to his left, Carew picked a spot opposite to raise his second green flag of the evening. This left the half time score reading 3-01 to 2-01.
Durlas Óg piled on the pressure in the second half with William Creedon, Stakelum and Doyle centre to all of their movement. Creedon eventually found his range as he opened a four point lead when he kicked over in the fourth minute.
The Thurles Gaels defence was equal to the task nonetheless with Darragh Byrne and Dannon O’Dwyer mopping up an amount of ball. In their forwards Tommy McGuire was inspired by now and was creating havoc for the Durlas Óg backs. Daniel Moloney had to be at his very best as he superb snuffed out a run from McGuire when danger beckoned. The Gaels pressure soon paid off as Kevin McLoughlin’s kick from out on the right deceived the Durlas Óg keeper as he desperately tried to get his fingers to the ball only to see it drop under the crossbar for Gaels third goal. It was end to end stuff for the next twelve minutes of play with nothing between them. McLoughlin then restored parity with seven minutes left as he pointed for Thurles Gaels.
Former Players Haunt Us
This then set up a nerve wrecking finish for both sides with extra time looming large. Philip Ryan though tipped the scales in favour of Durlas Óg as he goaled his second of the evening following a superb ball in from Doyle.
Never!! Give Up
Collecting the ball in midfield Tommy McGuire then went on another of his solo bursts for Gaels as he tore down the right in the twenty second minute. He was subsequently fouled on the edge of the twenty metre line and he dusted himself down to take the free. At first glance his kick appeared destined to go over the bar and with the Durlas Óg defence not contesting; the ball dropped and found the top left hand corner of the net to level it once more with three minutes left. A minute later McLoughlin pointed to put Thurles Gaels ahead by one, a lead on which they held out with in a pulsating finish.
Great credit then to both teams on a wonderful sporting and lively encounter fitting of an “A” grade final, where Mid Bord Vice-Chairman, Willie Clohessy, presented the cup to winning captain Curtis Ryan, with Paul Murphy, sponsor, also in attendance.
Thurles Gaels: Colin Shaughnessy, Paudie O’Gorman, Darragh Byrne, Dannon O’Dwyer, Dylan Molumby, Paul Murphy, Shane Ryan, Jamie Hackett, Curtis Ryan (C) (1-00), Ronan McGuire (01), Kevin McLoughlin (1-02), Kieran Considine, Chris Munroe, Alan Heaney (1-00), Tommy McGuire (1-00f), Subs: Mark Murphy, Jack Murphy, Taylor O’Meara, Brian O’Halloran, Seamus Houlihan, Joey Dee, Ayrton Ryan-Casey.
Durlas Óg (B): Eoin Kerrane, Daniel Moloney, Adam Derby, Ryan McDonnell, Anthony Cooney, Evan Moore, William Creedon (C)(01), Patrick Moloney (01f), Seamus Doyle, Michael Stakelum, Aaron Martin, Christopher Carew (2-00), Eoin Hickey, Philip Ryan (2-00), Sean Barrett, Subs: Liam Power, Bill Shanahan, Patrick Bowden, Shane Fitzpatrick, Jack Croke, Adam Hickey, Jason Cullen, Jack Bambrick, Shane Dunne, Michael Mulcair.
Referee: Edward Costello (Drom-Inch) Match Report by Joe Bracken, PRO)