Match report: Skehana 2-17, Ml Breathnach 1-16...aet   02/11/2012

Skehana Take Junior 1 Title and Advance to Connacht Final

Skehana 2-17................Michael Breathnach 1-16

Kenny Park, Athenry hosted the 2012 Junior 1 Final between Skehana and Micheál Breathnachs on Monday last and it turned out to be a classic encounter.

Played in front of a passionate crowd, the game was fast and open from the first whistle, with the men from the West racing to a 0-6 to 0-3 lead mid-way through the opening half. Crucially, Skehana never let the lead grow larger than a goal in that opening period and they had reduced the margin to a single point by the half-time whistle. The North Galway side would have been relieved to reach the break only a point adrift, as Micheál Breathnach's did have the ball in the net late in the half only for it to be ruled-out by the referee and his officials as the Micheál Beathnach's player was deemed to have over-played the ball in the lead-up to a blistering strike.

Playing with the aid of a slight breeze in the second period, Skehana levelled the game early in the half and then struck for the game's opening goal. A long delivery from the Skehana defence was seized upon by Brendan Costello who just managed to steer the ball past the advancing Diarmaid Ó Ceallaigh in the Micheál Breathnachs goal. However, from the resultant puck-out the ball was worked forward to Eanna O Conghaile who headed straight for goal and despite the attentions of a number of Skehana defenders, he unleashed a blistering shot to the back of the net.

Buoyed by this tonic goal, Micheál Breathnachs forged ahead with a string of fine points and were still 3 points to the good as the game entered the first of three minutes of injury time. Brendan Costello offered Skehana a lifeline when he knocked over a point and when Joey Glynn added a pointed free a minute later, we were set for a grandstand finish. With just seconds remaining of injury time, Skehana captain Jarlath Fahy gained possession about 60 metres from goal on the left wing and displayed nerves of steel to send the ball between the posts for the equalising score, 1-13 apiece.

Extra time followed and Skehana picked up where they had left off, with Joey Glynn adding another point to his personal tally. The crucial score of the game arrived soon after when Martin Connolly was first to react to a long delivery to grab his sides second goal of the game. Niall Carty added another point to leave Skehana 5 points in front at the end of the first half of extra time.

Micheál Breathnachs were not finished yet however, as they struck two points early in the second half of extra time from the stick of Sean Choil O Finneadha, bringing the wing-back's personal tally to an astonishing 7 points. Crucially however, with time running out, an equalising goal proved elusive. Joey Glynn added his 10th point of the day late in that second period to leave Skehana victorious on a scoreline of 2-17 - 1-16.

It's a well worn cliché to say "neither side deserved to lose" but on this occasion, it certainly was true. This was a fantastic game of hurling between two fully committed, skilful teams and a great advertisement for Junior club hurling in Galway.

Micheál Breathnach: D Ó Ceallaigh, C Ó Cuív, J Mac Giolla Bhríde, M Ó Béarra, M Ó Conghaile (0-1), A Ó Finneadha, S Chóil Ó Finneadha (0-7), C Ó Griallais, S Denvir (0-2), B Ó Conghaile, R Ó Béarra (0-5), O Ó Ceallaigh, C Mac Giolla Bhríde (0-1), P Mac Giolla Bhríde, É Ó Conghaile (1-0); Subs: N Ó Lionáird, C Ó Griofa

Skehana: T Hansberry, J Mannion, S Roche, J Haverty, D Costello, M Costello, P Scanlon, J Fahy (0-1), N Carty (0-1), J Glynn (0-10), F Finnerty, C O'Brien, B Costello (1-2), T Costello (0-1), E Quinn (0-1); Subs: M Connolly (1-0), C McHugh (0-1).

By The Casual Observer

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