Back Row L-R: Management team - Fergal O’Gara, Jason Connaughton, Shane Nerney, Nicola Crosbie & Dion Hegarty
Middle L-R: Fionn Hughes, Ryan Hegarty, Russ Reynolds, Michael McGuinness, Darragh Connaughton, Will Connaughton, James Doyle, Ryan Halligan, Ronan O’Donnell, Jack Lally, Matthew Rabatin, Leo Geraghty. Front Row L-R: Jonathan Greene, Finn O’Rourke, Daniel Byrne, Samuel Godfrey, Cathal Nerney, Will O’Gara, Bobby Gannon, Cormac McGuinness, Senan Grogan, Mikey Mulhern, Sean Nugent, Tommy Hayes. Missing from photo: Cillian Butler.Also pictured, supporters Cian Mulry & Adam Gannon
Roscommon Gaels U12 hurlers had a memorable win in the U12 League County Final against Athleague-Tremane on Saturday, September 24th. On a sunny evening in Ballyforan, the Gaels played into a light breeze in the first half. Russ Reynolds in goal demonstrated a master class between the stick, clearing all ball that threatened his goal-line and remaining unbeaten on the day! Our full back line of Will Connaughton & James Doyle defended strongly in the opening half, supported by the ever-vigilant half-back line of Michael McGuinness, Sean Nugent & Will O’Gara. Indeed, it was the first-half defensive performance that set the foundation for the win. Frees from Nugent delivered at long range into our forward line relieving the pressure on our dogged and determined defence. Ronan O’Donnell, starting at mid-field and partnered by Jack Lally set the standard when dropping to shore up defence and pushing to attack when in possession as needed. Our mid-field pairing covered a significant amount of ground throughout the game.
It was Lally who struck first early in the game with a fine finish to the back of the net when a Cathal Nerney free came back off the post. Our wing-forward, Senan Grogan, was in the thick of the action early-on and unfortunately succumbed to injury early in the game when fighting for possession at the break-down. Daniel Byrne stepped in seamlessly to replace Grogan in the game in the left-wing forward position. Ryan Halligan at centre forward tormented the opposition half-back line with strong solos to advance the Gaels attack, winning several free’s during his now-trademark runs, converting a fine solo-run over the bar from distance towards the end of the first quarter. Cormac McGuinness on the right-wing providing options in attack and ensured any ball down ‘his’ wing would not be returned down the field. The starting full-forward line of Cathal Nerney and Jonathan Greene combined well to provide scoring threats throughout the game. Leading on a score-line of 1-02 to 2 points at half time courtesy of the Lally goal, a Nerney free and the Halligan point, the Gaels remained on the field to assess and plan what would be a tough second half.
As the second half commenced, some spectacular high fielding from Lally along with a point from a Nerney free saw the Gaels take a 4-point lead as we entered the final quarter. Athleague-Tremane never let their heads drop and scored 3 points without reply to close the game to the narrowest of margins with less than 4 minutes on the clock. A long range shot from Nerney, snook by the opposition goal-line into the back of the net thanks to a determined Greene closing-down on goal to apply the necessary pressure. Mikey Mulhern & Matthew Rabatin came on to shore-up the defence in the 4th quarter. Ryan Hegarty & Darragh Connaughton were sprung into action from the bench shortly after to add fresh legs in attack.
Athleague-Tremane continued to run at the Gaels defence earning a free from 20 meters which sailed inches over the top-corner to reduce the deficit to 4 points. The subsequent puc-out was won and sent with interest into the Gaels attack to Hegarty, who, attracting the attention of 2 opposing defenders had the presence of mind to spot the unmarked Greene and release the ball for Greene to put over the bar from play. This took the Gaels to a 5-point lead and was to be the last score of the game. Athleague-Tremane however continued to press at pace with the Gaels defence standing firm demonstrating great resilience and determination to fight for the win. A wonderful intercept by Connaughton in the dying minute of the game was enough to seal the victory on a score-line of 2-04 to 0-5.
The U12 hurlers enjoyed the trip back to town, followed by the customary ‘beeping’ celebration with the ‘Noel Haughey Memorial Cup’ in tow, retiring for well-deserved Pizza, Chips and drinks (kindly sponsored by the U12 management team) in the Hyde to wrap-up what was a wonderful experience for this great group of Gaels.
U12 Management would like to recognise our U13 & U11 hurling coaches who also coached the players that made up the U12 panel during the year.