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U-16's Defeated in the 2011 Connacht Final

posted 10 Dec 2012, 05:11 by Unknown user   [ updated 10 Dec 2012, 05:11 ]

Tooreen 1-13

Abbeyknockmoy 0-9

SOMEONE won the National Lottery in Abbeyknockmoy on Saturday night but it was Tooreen who hit the jackpot in style on Sunday when they captured the Connacht U-16 hurling title. And richly deserved were the honours on the day. The gracious supporters of the Galway champions joined in their tributes to the Mayo lads when famed Tooreen once again covered themselves in glory.

A pale winter sun bathed the western countryside for a time and the booley bush stood sentry above Cappagh village. The iconic symbol of Tooreen rests deep in the psyche of local lore and it was gracious on the horizon on Sunday as history beckoned for the latest crop of young hurlers.

True, they were not the first to be conferred with provincial honours because, a few years ago, Tooreen were awarded the title after Beagh of Galway walked off the field in Ballyhaunis. But this group encountered no such controversy, delivering a classy performance which, by halftime, had the title in the bag.

A grand crowd from both clubs gathered in Tooreen for the showdown and the local officials and committee ensured a great welcome for one and all. The ladies committee excelled in the hospitality extended to all visitors. And it was lovely to see former Galway All Ireland medal winner Michael Coleman (1987 and '88) in Tooreen helping out with the young Abbeyknockmoy lads. He was one of the true gentlemen of Galway hurling in those glorious years when the Tribesmen reigned supreme.

The only goal of the game arrived after ten minutes and heralded the nature of this ambitious Tooreen team. David Kenny, who provided the early whirlwind that helped shape this challenge, struck a '65 that dropped towards the Abbey posts. Young Joe Henry (son of the legendary Joe) rose highest in a style reminiscent of the great Tony Doran of Wexford to fetch the ball and deliver the ultimate strike over the shoulder to the Abbey net.

Tooreen had staked their claim and they pushed on with courage and enthusiasm. Central to achieving that purpose was the composure and accuracy of Fergal Boland. By halftime he had raised seven white flags for the homeside. It was a vintage display by the young hurler.

In contrast, Abbeyknockmoy struggled for long spells of the half. Cathal Mannion landed a spectacular point midway through the half but they only managed two others prior to halftime, both from frees by Paul Cooley and Daniel Flaherty.

Seven points clear at the break, 1-7 to 0-3, and after playing against the wind, the Tooreen players left the field to a warm round of applause.

Fergal Boland continued where he had left off with a fine display of accuracy which saw him shoot over six further points during the second half, accounting for all of Tooreen's points on the day.

The Galway lads, to their credit, fought gamely to the end, even though they were never really in with a chance of overhauling the lead amassed by the Mayo champions. But they did have some exceptional players and chief among them were Paul Cooley and Daniel Flaherty, both of whom gave outstanding displays for Abbeyknockmoy. John Burke at fullback and Cathal Mannion, Kenneth Garvey, Caelon Mulry and Matthew Mills were others who put in strong performances.

But this golden day belonged to Tooreen. Fergal Boland was presented with the player of the match award by Christy Phillips. He was a worthy recipient. But one must also mention the magnificent contributions of Daniel Cunnane who was a colossus at fullback and the inspirational David Kenny at midfield. John Judge excelled too while Conor Kilkenny and John Morley were just a few of the others to shine in this exceptional team performance that brought honour and glory to Tooreen.

Mick Burke from Tubbercurry, on behalf of the Connacht Council, presented the trophy to a delighted Tooreen captain, David Kenny. And for the mentors, Marty Harrison, Michael Cunnane, Joe Henry and Vincent Judge, and all associated with Tooreen hurling, this was a momentous day in the history of the club and, indeed, hurling in Mayo.

Tooreen: D Freyne; C Kilkenny, D Cunnane, C Harrison; N Robinson, D Flannery, J Judge; D Kenny, J Morley; D Harrison, F Boland (0-13, 8f), C Lyons; D Condron, J Henry (1-0), L Conboy. Subs: B Morley for D Condron, S Groarke for D Harrison, S Kenny for L Conboy.

Abbeyknockmoy: A Devane; T Ward, J Burke, C Murphy; F Garvey, N Garvey, P Cooley (0-1f); C Mannion (0-2), Caelon Mulry; D Flaherty (0-6, 4f), K Garvey, M Mills; M Finn, D Maher, E Loftus. Subs: L McCarthy for F Garvey, B Loftus for M Finn (inj), J Flaherty for D Maher.

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).

Many thanks to Michael commins of the Mayo News for this report