Ger Gavin North U19 A Hurling Championship Final
Roscrea claimed their first U19 north hurling title as they produced a very assured and assertive sixty minute performance outclass Ballina in the decider in Toomevara this Wednesday evening.
Conor Dooley and Jamie Ryan were the stars of the show for Roscrea as between them they registered 2-7 of their sides total, the majority of which coming in the first half as they had far too many answers to any questions Ballina could pose on the night.
Goals win games, and that was the deciding factor in this game, as all of Roscrea’s green flags came at the right times, two of which came at the start of the second half from Jamie Ryan and Leigh Loughnane to quench any hope of a Ballina fightback after going in at half time seven points to the good.
Roscrea started the game the stronger and really put their dominance to good use on the scoreboard, despite Charlie King giving Ballina the first score of the game in the fifth minute.
Conor Dooley was very effective in this opening ten minute period, where Roscrea bagged 1-3 on the trot with the goal a real well taken effort from Dooley, latching onto a whipped ball along the ground before bearing down on goal and shrugging off his marker as he unleashed an unstoppable shot off his hurley into the top corner as Ros’ took a 1-3 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes.
Ballina were trying to stifle the early Roscrea momentum, but were shooting themselves in the foot rather than over the bar, as they missed numerous frees in the next ten or so minutes, as Roscrea continued to dominate, scoring further points from Conor Dooley, Conor Phelan, and Diarmuid McLoughlin to open up a eight point lead coming up to the 23rd minute, as Ballina struggled for anything to get them going.
Conor Dooley was in flying form and had his third point of the game in the 26th minute after linking up with Kenny Lee to score, but Ballina did finish the half with some scores through the frees from Cathal O’Donnell and a long range score from captain Kian Donnelly as Ros’ led at the break by 1-8 to 0-4.
There was hope yet that Ballina could make more of a game of the second half to tighten up proceedings and provide the big crowd in Toomevara with a close finish, but that quickly evaporated after the restart, and despite a Kian Donnelly score for Ballina from the throw-in, Roscrea made their move with substitute Leigh Loughnane reacting fasted after a long range free was batted down in front of goal to finish the rebound to the net.
That, in essence, made the comeback for Ballina very unlikely considering how the game was going to that point, and when Ros’ bagged their third goal eight minutes later from a similar effort from Jamie Ryan, it was all she wrote with the only outcome to be decided being the final score.
In fairness to Ballina, they made a better fist of the final quarter as the moved Jack Collins up into the forward line with some reward as the nicked a few points in a row to cut the gap to eight points by the 50th minute, but it wouldn’t be enough as late scores from Jamie Ryan and Leigh Loughnane wrapped up victory for the reds to claim their first U19 north title.
Scorers: Roscrea: Conor Dooley 1-4, Jamie Ryan (1-3, 0-1f), Leigh Loughnane 1-1, Conor Phelan 0-3, Diarmuid McLoughlin, Oisin Maloney 0-1 each.
Ballina: Cathal O’Donnell (0-4, 0-3f), Jack Collins (0-4, 0-3f), Charlie King, Kian Donnelly 0-2 each, Brian Burke 0-1.
Roscrea: Harry Loughnane; Aaron Delahunty, Conor Phelan, Jake Thompson; Oisin Maloney, Lee Doran, Brian O’Rourke; Kenny Lee, Robbie Tynan; Josh McMahon, Michael Fitzgerald, Diarmuid McLoughlin; John Donovan, Conor Dooley, Jamie Ryan.
Subs: Eoin Larkin for McMahon (HT); Leigh Loughnane for Donovan (33); Sean Synnott for Thompson (44); Sam Dooley for McLoughlin (48).
Ballina: Simon Grace; Shane Kelly, Zach Egan, Jack Quinn; David Coughlan, Jack Collins, Brain Cleary; JP Mbokha, Daniel Tighe; Cillian Ryan, Cathal O’Donnell, Brian Burke; Charlie King, Kian Donnelly, Ian Larkin.
Subs: Tristan Giroudiere for Quinn (44); Jack Grace for Larkin (49); Charlie Grace for Tighe (53); James Frahill for C Ryan (60).
Referee: Peter Carroll (Burgess)
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