North u21A Hurling Championship
Venue Clara - Saturday November 5th at 2.30pm
Referee: Conor Everard
O'Loughlin Gaels 1-15 to 0-7 Danesfort
A decisive run by Robbie Buckley produced the goal that would break the deadlock in this game half way through the 2nd period giving O'Loughlin Gaels the platform to dominate the game’s final quarter. It was a good days work on the field of play and keeps the lads in the hunt for this title. Well done all..keep it going. Team: B. Maher, T. Gleeson, G. Bryan, J. Leahy, J. Molloy (0-2), H. Lawlor, R. Butler, P. Deegan, R. Buckley (1-0), S. Bolger (0-6, 5f), P. Byrne, S. Mahoney (0-2), C. Loy, G. Kelly (0-2), B. Leydon. P. Collins (0-1), J. Lenihen, Ronan Buckley, D. Bolger
North u21 A Final – O’Loughlin Gaels V Glenmore
Nowlan Park, 2pm . Sunday December 13th 2015
U21s ARE COUNTY CHAMPIONS
O’Loughlin Gaels 2-13 to 2-09 Glenmore
O’Loughlin Gaels claimed the u21 Hurling Championship Title for the first time since 1981 and for only the third time in its’ history with a dramatic win over Glenmore on Sunday in Nowlan Park. Heavy downpours in the days leading up to the fixture made for very soft underfoot conditions but both teams weren’t shy about cutting up the hallowed turf. Hard exchanges and determined commitment from both sets of players made for a very entertaining December encounter.
The Gaels started off well registering a goal in the 3rd minute. Good work by Shane Mahony put Shane Parsons one on one with Glenmore’s keeper and he coolly flicked it over the head of the onrushing number one. It was looking like O’Loughlin’s day when Shane Mahony added a point almost immediately and Seanie Bolger converted a ’65 to bring the advantage to five points on six minutes after a period of sustained pressure. The Loughs were well on top at this stage and but for well a worked point from corner forward Eoin Aylward on the tenth minute Glenmore might have folded early as for the next six minutes the Gaels had five shots at the posts converting two more (Shane Mahony & David Burke). Six points ahead just after mid-way through the first half and the St. John’s side support were feeling good. Then Glenmore got a couple of good moves going ..their confidence was rising as their half back line began to take control creating the platform for their forwards to stage an attack. Goal number one came on eighteen minutes when Shane Murphy finished a good move and within four minutes Glenmore had neutralised the Gael’s lead completely, after full forward Liam Hennessy latched on to the end of a move that saw the net rattle for a second time. O’Loughlins had done all the hurling but there was no advantage showing.
It was a time for leaders – Paddy Deegan was one of those leaders as he broadened his shoulders and got to work. Those flanking him dug in - Jack Lawlor and Gary Bryan completing a powerful half back force - that sent a strong message of intent to the rest of the team. Shane Mahony was working hard and was hauled down for a free that Seanie Bolger duly converted. Then Gary Bryan launched a missile that soared between the posts to give a two point advantage back to the Gaels. It looked like normal business was resumed but Glenmore’s best player Alan Murphy was like a dog with a bone reducing the lead again with a fine point from play before winning a free that was converted to see the sides all square at the interval. A chance for a breather then as the large crowd hummed a tone that tried to decipher all that happened during an enthralling first thirty minutes.
Half time score: O’Loughlin Gaels 1-9 to 2-3 Glenmore.
The second half got underway with the Gaels playing towards the country end. No big breeze to account for so no advantage there. It was all to play for. Both teams exchanged wides before Daniel O’Connor started proceedings with a point from play. Seanie Bolger quickly added another from a free before Glenmore’s Alan Murphy returned one to bring it back to the minimum again. Ross Butler was finding his form and after a good semi-final performance marked this final with his first of two fine scores. More sustained pressure gave Bolger another opportunity to convert a free and then Butler added his second bringing them four points to the good once again. Glenmore’s Alan Murphy returned another minor score before substitute Ben Leydon reinstated the advantage to four and Sean Bolger made it five with a pointed free.
O’Loughlins were retaking control and Glenmore were having to tough it out. The exchanges were hard and with O’Loughlin’s half back line dictating proceedings the frustrations and tensions got the better of players and an off the ball incident caused a minor fracas. A number of players got involved but two were left on the ground when the situation was quickly diffused. Referee Eamonn Mansfield decided on a red card each and both teams were reduced to fourteen men for the remaining 12 minutes..most notably for O’Loughlins, Jack Lawlor, who was having a blinder all day.
For the next ten minutes it was all hands on deck..legs were tired as this energy sapping encounter drew to a close. It was Glenmore’s Alan Murphy who seemed to have the legs for it now and he was responsible for the next four points (3 frees) leaving the game on a knife’s edge going into injury time. Everyone was on their feet and O’Loughlin supporters were wondering was this going to be another bitter pill to swallow. Glenmore had two opportunities to lob the ball towards goal but Huw Lawlor and goal keeper Gary Kelly were assured all day. The ball cleared, it was moved to attack and a moment of brilliance from Sean Bolger saw the sliotar rattle the Glenmore net on thirty two minutes to a huge relieving roar from the top left corner of Ardán Breathnach. The final whistle sounded and the weariness in the legs was quickly taking over with leaps of joy and smiling faces.
This was a determined performance from a team that built well throughout the whole campaign. Players had felt the pain of defeat earlier in the season and were determined not to feel that pain again. Huge effort was put in by all the players and a massive credit must be afforded to the management team led by Pat O’Grady and including, Brian Dowling, Brian Hogan, Paul Cleere and Mark Bergin. Well done and congratulations to everybody on capping a great year for O’Loughlin Gaels.
Team. Gary Kelly, Jay Leahy, Thomas Gleeson, Huw Lawlor, Jack Lawlor, Gary Bryan (0-1), Paddy Deegan, David Burke (Capt., 0-1), Ross Butler (0-2), Daniel O’Connor (0-1), Shane Mahony (0-2), Sean Bolger (1-5, (5f)), Robbie Buckley, Shane Parsons (1-0), Cian Loy. Ben Leydon, Daniel Bolger, Paul Denieffe, Pat Byrne, James Lenihan, Daniel O’Driscoll, Vincent Wallace, Lyndon Brannigan, Eoin Croughan, Brian Buckley, Tervince Wallace, Shane Maher.
Manager: Pat O'Grady. Selectors: Brian Dowling, Brian Hogan, Paul Cleere, Mark Bergin
Saturday November 28th, Freshford at 2.30pm
Referee : Eamonn Mansfield
O’Loughlin Gaels 4-15 to Emeralds 0-9
Considering the amount of rainfall during the hours leading up to the throw-in the Freshford venue was in good condition for this encounter. A decent crowd gathered to witness this one and with O’Loughlins having the wind advantage in the first half they were the ones looking to get the early lead. It was Emeralds who started the better though going two points clear on four minutes with points from Brian Webster and James Kenny following a livelier start than their opponents. One minute later however and O’Loughlin Gaels found the net through full forward Shane Parsons who enjoyed his new role in attack for much of the day. O’Loughlin Gaels picked up the pace somewhat now but couldn’t capitalise on their dominance and it was Urlingford’s full forward Conor Martin who registered the next score to equalise the game. More pressure from an eager looking O’Loughlins attack yielded a free that Sean Bolger dropped short. It should have been dealt with by the Emeralds defender but the cold conditions saw it bounce from the defenders hand harmlessly into the net. But for this fortune however O’Loughlins would not have been taking their three point half time advantage to the dressing room. Emeralds were the more threatening thanks to the efforts of Conor Martin and Brian Troy and had their chances, but would hit eight wides in that first half spell. Half time score O’Loughlin Gaels 2-4 to 0-7 Emeralds GAA.
O’Loughlin Gaels came out in the second half in a much more business like mood. Sean Bolger tacked the first three points within a six minute spell before Conor Martin returned with the first of only two overs for the Emeralds men in the second 30mins. Two points from placed balls in the second half would be Emeralds tally and was never going to be enough to advance to the next round. A strong defence was the platform for which O’Loughlins could launch assault after assault and it rewarded them with two more goals before the game was ended. A second from Shane Parsons who capitalised on a difficult dropping ball from the hardworking Sean Bolger. Bolger made a winding run from midfield and lobbed the ball between goal keeper and defender and Parsons pounced onto the ensuing confusion. O’Loughlins kept tapping over the scores when the opportunities arose including a fine point for Ross Butler who linked well with David Burke at midfield. It was a good performance by the city lads who finished well and looked hungry for the ball for much of the day. There was a healthy spread of scorers with four of the starting forwards and both midfielders finding the target, which will please the O’Loughlin Gaels management. Substitutes Danny Bolger and Ben Leydon also found their range including a well finished goal by Leydon on 53mins, the St. Johns side fourth, to make sure of the tie. O’Loughlin Gaels advance now to the Northern Final when they will face Lisdowney GAA.
O’Loughlin Gaels: G Kelly, P Denieffe, H Lawlor, T Gleeson, G Bryan, P Deegan, J Lawlor, D Burke (0-2), R Butler (0-1), D O’Connor (0-1)r, J. Lenihan, S Bolger (1-8, 5f), P Byrne, S Parsons (2-0), C Loy (0-1). D Bolger (0-1), L Brannigan, B Leydon(1-1), T Wallace
O'LOUGHLIN GAELS 0-13 TO 2-6 ERIN'S OWN
U21s DIG OUT FIRST ROUND WIN
After several hours of heavy rain and strong winds the pitch conditions at Freshford were not ideal for classic hurling. However in fairness to both sets of players they endeavoured to provide a spectacle in front of the large crowd in attendance. Slippery underfoot conditions and a strong breeze conspired to prevent a free flowing game but couldn’t dampen the players determination. The first half saw Erins’ Own benefit from two long range frees. With the wind in their backs the speculative shots both found the O’Loughlins net. The first came on seventeen minutes when the ball was dropping short and ricocheted off a score of raised hurls grappling for procession. The sudden change in direction was always going to beat a goalie already dealing with a crowded area. The second came seven minutes later when a high dropping ball looked like it was safely in hand except the sliotar didn’t cooperate with the hapless defender and bounced over his shoulder to the net. Two needless goals gave a false impression of an Erin’s Own dominance as they left the field at half time 2-5 to 0-3 to the good. The first half period saw the O’Loughlin Gael players suffer most from the slippery surface and missed a few of their own opportunities as a result. Robbie Buckley showed signs of a better half to come from him with a decent first half performance that yielded him a point. But for the slippery conditions Cian Loy would surely would have had a better return than a single point for his first half efforts. And Sean Bolger pointed a free from a placed ball at the end of the half giving us an indication of what we could expect from him in the final 30mins.
With the wind in their backs in the second half the O’Loughlin’s lads set about reducing the deficit from the start. Paddy Deegan, Robbie Buckley and Daniel O’Conner each pointed from play in the first five minutes and the St. Johns support began to relax a little. Robbie Buckley was causing untold damage around the middle of the park and there was a lot more urgency in the O’Loughlin attack now. Shane Mahony, Huw Lawlor and Paddy Deegan took charge of the half back line pressing up into midfield with every opportunity. Jack Lawlor was immense in defence and was involved in every clearance from the O’Loughlins 21 yard line. Sean Bolger brought his form from last week’s minor performance and added the next three O’Loughlins points ( a 65, 1 from play and a pointed free). During the same period Erins Own returned with their only score of the second half, a pointed free on the 50th minute. Erins Own were still ahead but it was clear they were hanging on for dear life. Robbie Buckley was brilliant and his energy allowed him to push forward and steal a further point from play to equalise the match on 28mins. Paddy Deegan pointed his second a few moments earlier and O’Loughlins were chomping at the bit in search of the winning score. It looked like man of the match Robbie Buckley was going to be the provider but he was unceremoniously hauled down after he turned his defender and the opportunity was presented to free taker Sean Bolger. Sean didn’t miss a free all afternoon and even with the tight angle and the precarious breeze he didn’t miss this. O’Loughlins stayed ahead and managed to defend that lead to the final whistle for a well deserved win and an advance to the next round.
It was a good performance all round and one the management can use going forward. There’s plenty to improve on and with a combined determination this team has the ability to work their way through this competition. Well done to all concerned.
Team. Shane Maher, Thomas Gleeson, Huw Lawlor, Jack Lawlor, Shane Parsons, Paddy Deegan (2 pts), Gary Bryan, Robbie Buckley (3pts), Shane Mahony, Sean Bolger (6pts – 1 65, 4 f) , David Burke, Ross Butler, Ben Leydon, Daniel O’Connor (1pt), Cian Loy (1 pt), Vinny Wallace, Pat Byrne, Jay Leahy.
U21s Gallant effort pitted at the post.
At a blustery Freshford O’Loughlin Gaels and Bennettsbridge squared up to each other for this u21 Roinn A Northern Hurling semi-Final. Both teams contributed to a fine game of hurling battling it out to the very end. Free taking was always going to be a big factor in this game with all first six scores coming from placed balls. Willie Murphy opened the scoring for Bennettsbridge from the placed ball but this was negated soon after by a fine point from a free by O’Loughlins goal keeper Billy Leydon after 5 minutes. O’Loughlins took hold of the game for a period with Danny Lenihan and Davey Burke dominating on the half forward line and O’Loughlins put up two good points from frees again by the excellent Shane Maher. O’Loughlins were doing all the hurling at this stage and needed to get their scores up to impose their wind advantage. However it was Bennettsbridge who took hold of midfield and good work by Michael Shiel on the wing resulted in the first of a brace of frees slotted over by Willie Murphy. Two more points from O’Loughlins, D. Bolger and a Shane Maher free settled the St. Johns side and they dominated the last ten minutes of the half. From a Huw Lawlor clearance, who was solid in full-back, Ross Butler, Vinny Wallace and Gary Bryan combined to set up Danny Bolger for a well taken goal to put a little distance between the sides. It looked like Bennettsbridge might rue their misses as free taker Willie Murphy hit three wides from placed balls before slotting over his final score of the half from a free. Paddy Deegan of O’Loughlins quickly followed up with a fine point from play. On the puck out Bennettsbridge launched a rare attack on the O’Loughlins rearguard with good work from Hugh O’Neill down the line allowing Willie Murphy to skin the O’Loughlins defence but his shot at goal fell foul of the goalmouth conditions and hit the post. The half would finish with a further Bennettsbridge wide and O’Loughlins full forward Danny Bolger ending the scoring with a fine point.
Half time O’Loughlin Gaels 1.7 – 0.4 Bennettsbridge
The second half started well for Bennettsbridge. Within 12 minutes of the restart they would rack of 1-4 without reply. Good play by Bennettsbridge resulted in Jason Cleere getting himself a fine individual point. Almost immediately and Bennettsbridge were on the attack again, this time it was Dylan Walsh finished to the net after good work by Cormac Wafer and Hugh O’Neill. Davey Burke of O’Loughlins did try to stem the tide but his blast towards goal after some good individual work was deflected by Bennettsbridge goalkeeper, Shane Nolan, for a 65 that was not converted. Bennettsbridge pushed on now and Willie Murphy converted two more frees as O’Loughlins struggled to compete with Bennettsbridge dominance at mid-field. The ‘Bridge were beginning to play with confidence again now and good work from half back Aiden Cleere set up Willie Murphy to put them 1 point clear on the 45th minute. O’Loughlins’ Jack Lawlor and James Lenihan came from the bench to steady the ship somewhat resulting in the next two scores coming from St. Johns men, Paddy Deegan and Shane Maher (f). From here the game ebbed and flowed and the crowd gathered were treated to a tense final 15minutes. Confusion from a side line gave Bennettsbridge the resulting side line cut that broke to the very alert Dylan Walsh who swiped a ground strike to the O’Loughlins net. Bennettsbridge took hold again when Cormac Wafer won a clean ball delivered to Sean Morrissey who duly pointed leaving Bennettsbridge three points clear with 10minutes remaining. The Gaels found another gear however and caused some discomfort in the Bennettsbridge half back line and three consecutive frees were converted by the ever accurate Shane Maher. Liam Blanchfield who up to now had been subdued by O’Loughlins full back Huw Lawlor got clear to climb for a sublime catch and turn to put his team back in front by the narrowest of margins in the final minute of normal time. From the puck out O’Loughlins Danny Lenihan caught and broke clear but was fouled and Shane Maher stepped up to equalise. One final score in injury time allowed Bennettsbridge to seal the deal from a placed ball.
This was a very entertaining game with the blustery conditions forcing teams to play defensively while playing into the wind. Well done to the O’Loughlins lads and management team for all their efforts as we know as always 100% was given.
Final Score O’Loughlin Gaels 1-13 to 2-11 Bennettbridge
Bennettsbridge; Shane Nolan, Paul O’Neill, Robert Lennon, Shane Byrne, Jason Cleere (0.1), Enda Morrisey, Aiden Cleere ,Cormac Wafer, Kevin Blanchfield, Sean Morrissey (0.1), Hugh O’Neill, Michael Sheil, Dylan Walsh (2.0) Liam Blanchfield, (0.1) Willie Murphy (0 .7, 1f), Sub: No. 19 for Willie Murphy (0.1,f)
O’Loughlin Gaels; Billy Leydon (0.1), Danny O’Driscoll, Huw Lalor, Shane Parsons, Fearghal Brennan, Robbie Buckley, Vinny Wallace, Paddy Deegan (0.2), Ross Butler, Danny Lenihan, Gary Bryan, Davey Burke, Daniel O’Conner, Danny Bolger (0.2) Shane Maher (1.8)
O'Loughlins 2-15 Lisdowney 0-09
A bright and calm, but cold, Jenkinstown was the venue for O'Loughlin Gaels u21A championship quarter final against Lisdowney on Sunday afternoon. The O'Loughlins boys, bouyed up no doubt by the Minors success a week earlier, came through this encounter successfully after a very stiff first half challenge from Lisdowney. In truth however O'Loughlins dominated much of the game and were worthy of their final scoring advantage.
Lisdowney started well going 2 points up after 4mins through their centre-forward and free taker Michael Kenny, who was probably Lisdowneys best player on the day. However good work from Daniel O'Connor and Ross Butler up front assisted Danny Lenihan in getting O'Loughlins first score on the 5th minute. This was quickly followed up by three quick scores from Daniel O'Connor whose workrate was telling and was proving to be a handful for the lisdowney defence. A goal and two points from Doc was quickly followed up by a well struck Shane Maher free earned by the industrious Davey Bourke. Lisdowney did get a point back when a shot on goal was superbly deflected over the bar by the very alert goalkeeping of Billy Leydon. O'Loughlins had by now got a firm grip on the game but Lisdowney freetaker Michael Kenny was keeping his team in with three more post splitting frees and a further point from play. However O'Loughlins dominance in midfield was proving to be the key factor of this first half. Fearghal Browne got himself on the score sheet and immediately from the puck out O'Loughlins intent was signalled by a superb catch from Davey Bourke who was hauled down by his marker for an O'Loughlins free. Quick thinking saw a short diagonal free aimed at Robbie Buckley who had cleverly ghosted to the wing and hit a superb point off his left to see O'Loughlins finish the half 1-08 to 0-07 in front.
The second half got underway with a blistering start from O'Loughlins with Ross Butler pointing and Daniel O'Conner reaping the maximum rewards by taking on the defence and hitting the net yet again. The writing was now on the wall after just two minutes of this second half. The dominance of O'Loughlins at midfield was further enhanced by 3 points from play by James Lenihan and 1 from Davey Bourke. Doc finished his total tally of 2-3 with a point before before the game was out. This was a good performance overall by O'Loughlins who move now to the semi-final stages of this competition with a good awareness of what they need to do to advance to the final.
O'Loughlins: Billy Leydon, Gary Bryan, Huw Lawlor, Shane Parsons, Vinny Wallace, Paddy Deegan, Robbie Buckley 0-1, James Lenihan 0-3, Davey Bourke 0-1, Ross Butler 0-1, Danny Lenihan 0-1, Fearghal Brennan 0-1, Shane Maher 0-4(fs), Daniel O'Connor 2-3, Danny Bolger. Sub's: D. O'Driscoll, Jack Lalor, Cian Loy, Paul Denieffe, Sheamie McGrath.
Management Team: Joe Nolan,Jimmy Comerford, Andy Comerford, Maurice Nolan, Paul Cleere.
Match report: Eoin Lawlor
The O’Loughlin Gaels clubhouse was the place to be on Saturday last. Our U-21 hurlers were presented with their medals by the Vice-Chairman of Kilkenny County Board – Conor Denieffe, to mark their success as U21 Roinn A North Champions. The lads overcame Lisdowney, Freshford, Ballyragget and a much fancied Castlecomer to take the title. The following is an excerpt written about the team – in summary of their inspired displays last Autumn:
Sammy Johnston had a great five game campaign between the posts. He commanded his square well and his distribution was top drawer. The full back line of O’Driscoll, Butler and Parsons were solid “in around the house” all season and won the key battles in the air and on the ground. Special mention should also go to Anthony Forristal, who played a key role in the defeat of St Lachtains, before being sidelined through injury. Deegan, Lawlor and Meaney formed a formidable half back unit throughout the campaign. They were aggressive in the tackle and decisive in turning defence into attack.
The dynamic midfield pairing of Burke and Wallace struck fear into oppositions. The combination of Burke’s crafty stick work and Wallace’s sheer athleticism proved too much for opposing teams throughout the season. It’s important also to remember the contribution of James Lenehan, who was forced to leave the field of play against Freshford – due to injury.
Lenehan, Nolan and Brennan were a constant threat throughout the championship. Nolan’s radar was set to POINT over every dead ball and his two wing men were primed to shoot on sight at all times. The full forward line of Leydon, Doyle and Quan was lethal in front of goal. Their ability to dig out vital scores under severe pressure belied their youthful demeanour.
The panel also played a huge role both in training and when called into action. Mark & Eoin Croghan, Brian Cantwell, Stephen Hawe, Seamus McGrath, Corey O’Neill, Ben Leydon and Kevin McGarry are owed a debt of gratitude from O’Loughlin Gaels for their dedication and commitment.