Our second string welcomed Milford to Shanballymore last Sunday morning for the first game in this year’s div 3 hurling league and after a very close game we came out on top and get off to a great start in the league. Over the last few years we have had some tough battles with this Milford team and they usually claim the victory but this time after another tough physical encounter we managed to hold on.
We lined out with a very strong group of twenty players and most of these lads had put in a hard winters training and this training really showed in the second half when Milford were putting us under pressure. It certainly wasn’t a day for nice open hurling and most of the game was played in terrible conditions with wind and rain belting down and making it very hard on the players to play.
Milford played with the aid of a very strong breeze in the first half and they had some very good scores from play and frees to hold a three point lead at half time 0-10 to 1-4. Thankfully we were able to get in for a very important goal midway through the first half when Dylan was on hand to finish to the net after a goal mouth scramble.
We had some excellent performances in this first half especially from our back line of Richard Burke, Brendan Hayes, Charlie McCarthy, Padraig Fitzgerald, Anthony Dennehy and Robert McHugh who time and time again made some great blocks and cleared their lines to avert danger. Behind them Stephen Donegan was again outstanding in goals and made three very excellent saves in this half.
The second half was played mostly in the Milford half but credit to them they defended very well and made us work hard for any scores we got. Dylan added a 1-1 to his first half tally but picked up an injury midway through the second half and was replaced by Paul Burke. Eamonn Fitzgerald was outstanding from frees and punished Milford for every free they gave away. Our midfielders Vincent Burke and Kenneth Barry put in a fierce amount of work around the middle and so did the half forward line of Niall Barry, Mick O’Donovan and Dave Twomey.
With ten minutes remaining we held a very slender lead of two points and Milford were trying hard to muster something from the game but time and time again they were stopped by some resolute defending and when Eamonn Fitzgerald added another free we held a three point lead with time almost up.
From the puck out we gained possession and Niall Barry found Mick O’Donovan who send over a beauty from the 21 yard line under pressure and this gave us a four point cushion and thankfully Milford only got in for one more point and we held out for the win to get us up and running in the league.
Team: Stephen Donegan, Brendan Hayes, Richard Burke, Anthony Dennehy, Padraig Fitzgerald, Robert McHugh, Charlie McCarthy, Vincent Burke, Kenneth Barry, Niall Barry, Dylan O’Callaghan, Dave Twomey, Mick O’Donovan, Sean Cronin, Eamon Fitzgerald, Subs: Paul Burke for Dylan O’Callaghan, Davie Barrett for Charlie McCarthy, Jimmy Burke for Sean Cronin, Brian O’Regan for Dave Twomey, John Buckley, Anthony Chalke.