Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Munster Minor and Under 21 hurling and Football draws are made

The draws for this years Munster Minor and Under 21 Hurling and Football Championships in 2015 were made by the Munster Council this evening.

In under 21 hurling, Waterford will be away to Cork in the quarter finals in Pairc Ui Rinn. Should Waterford win that game, the side will travel to Ennis in the semi finals to play Clare and if Cork come through the quarter final game, the game with Clare would take place in Pairc Ui Rinn.

The other semi final will see Tipperary travel to the Gaelic Grounds to play Limerick.

In Under 21 Football, Waterford are again on the road for a quarter final game to play Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis. The other quarter final will see Cork take on Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds.

In the semi finals, the winner of the Clare and Waterford game will play Tipperary at Thurles, while the winner of the Cork and Limerick game will play Kerry. If Cork beat Limerick the game is at Pairc Ui Rinn and if Limerick win the game is in Tralee.

In the Munster Minor Hurling Championship Tipperary will play Waterford at Thurles while Cork will play Limerick at Pairc Ui Rinn in the two first round games. The winners of both games will advance to the semi finals along with Clare while the two first round losers will play off to see who be the fourth team in the semi finals.

In the last four Clare will play the winner of the Tipperary and Waterford game. If it is Waterford that come through the game will be at Cusack Park in Ennis, if Tipperary beat Waterford the game is in Thurles.

In the other semi finals the winner of the Cork and Limerick game will play the winner of the game between the two first round losers.

In Minor Football, in the first round games, Clare will play Kerry at Tralee, Cork play Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds and Waterford will travel to Thurles to play Tipperary in the first round.

In the play off’s the loser of the Cork and Limerick game will play the looser of the Tipperary and Waterford game with the winner of this game playing the looser of the Clare and Kerry game to see who will be the fourth team in the semi finals.

The semi final draw sees the winner of the Clare and Kerry game will play the winner of the Cork and Limerick game with the winner of the Tipperary and Waterford game playing the team that comes through from the play off games between the three first round losers.

Clonea Power their way to County Final Win

In a few weeks time the Waterford GAA Board officers and the clubs of the county will sit down and review the year that we are currently in and set in place plans for the year ahead.

Such meeting’s (Conventions) in the last number of years have become rather dull events with little happening at them. Most years in fact the only think that needs to be decided and we have to be honest in saying this, is to find out who will have the first word words spoken after the Chairman throws a topic out to the floor and then to see who will have the last word before the chairman moves on the evenings proceedings to the next topic.

Again we have to be honest and admit a game is played during the evening, a simple game, one we all have played at one time or another – Musical Chairs.

Some years back Central Council introduced a rule which restricted officers apart from full time secretaries and treasurers to holding any position for more than five years.

While the ‘Five Year Rule’ as it is known is in place now with a few years, in the main it is the same people are involved at administration level in most counties as officers having to step down from one position often just move seats to take the place of another officer that has to step down as well.

December 2014 will be one of the years when ‘Musical Chairs’ is played in Waterford. Already names are been mentioned for different positions, with canvasing already believed to be going on, which at times if reports are to be believed could be likened to a person trying to fill a Dáil seat in a General or Bye Election.

One officer that has to step down this year is the County Chairman Tom Cunningham. Some weeks back reports doing the round suggested that there was four people interested in replacing the Stradbally Man in the main chair at the top table but this past weekend reports suggests that the number interested at this point could be down to two.

No doubt who ever that takes over will set out their hopes for the next few years prior to and again at the meeting and no doubt those interested in the job will make different hopes known.

One thing in the eyes of many that follow the GAA across different levels within the county that will have to be looked at is the Junior competitions within the county.

Some may be aware that every so often I can be heard on Community Radio Youghal on the stations GAA Programme on a Friday evening (GAA This Week) and while talking to the Presenter Mike O’Brien be it while on the show or before it while talking off air we might discuss games that are on in West Waterford that weekend and when it comes to talking about the Junior competitions it can get very confusing.

We have Junior ‘Proper’ Junior ‘Senior Attached’ and Junior ‘Intermediate Attached’. Try and explain Senior Attached and Intermediate Attached to someone outside the county, and then try and explain why we have Junior First string teams playing in an Attached Competition and then explain how a club that has its main team playing in the Senior Hurling or Football Championship could end up playing a second string side of a side who’s main team plays Intermediate or Junior and how a team who’s main team play Junior or Intermediate could end up playing a club who’s main team plays in the senior grades.

I may now be confusing others as much as I am confused myself at times so lets move on.

Clonea (who have their main team play in the Eastern Intermediate Hurling Championship) are Junior ‘Senior Attached’ County Hurling champions after they proved too strong for Ballyduff Upper (who have their main team play in the County Senior Hurling Championship) on Sunday afternoon last at Fraher Field.

Playing with a strong wind at their backs in the opening half, Clonea at the break were five points in front, a lead that many would have said they needed such was the strength of the wind and Ballyduff Upper were expected to come fighting back in the second half.

Clonea opened the scoring in this game with five minutes played when full forward Robert Kenny pointed.

Clonea with the wind at their backs continued to look to be the stronger of the two sides, but did not add to their tally on the score board till the tenth minute and just like a London Bus two scores came almost together.

Paul Keating was first to score, a point which was followed by the waving of another white flag, this time from a David Hallahan effort.

On the quarter of an hour mark, the sides were level on the score board after Eoin Scanlon bore down on the Clonea goal and with a powerfully struck shot with a deflection off the stick of Tony Power the ball passed the Clonea goal guarded by William O’Brien.

The goal was cancelled out six minutes later as Clonea restored a three point advantage on the scoreboard when Robert Kenny finished to the net after a quickly taken sideline from the stand side of the field was sent into him and from close range he beat Jamie Keating in the Ballyduff Upper goals.

Gerdie Power from the middle of the field and Gavin Sheehan from out near the sideline added further points for Clonea to increase their lead to five before Ballyduff Uppers most industrious player on the day Eoin Scanlon pulled a point back in the first minute of added time, but Clonea would restore their five point advantage after Paul Keating pointed just before half time.

The expected fight back from Ballyduff Upper apart from a short period mid way through the third quarter never happened.

Gavin Sheehan opened the second half with a brace of pointed frees which was followed by a point from the impressive Paul Keating which gave Clonea am eight point lead five minutes into the second half.

That lead was cut a minute later after Ballyduff Upper won a free inside their own sixty five metre line struck by Eoin Scanlon appeared to go all the way to the Clonea net, although on route a number of hurleys from both sides tried to connect with the ball.

The same player hit two more points for Ballyduff to leave just three (1-9 to 2-3) between the sides with forty one minutes played, but this was as close as it got for Ballyduff Upper.

David Hallahan pointed for Clonea on forty-four minutes which was followed with point from Paul Keating and another from Gavin Sheehan in extend their sides lead and when Sheehan stuck for a second Clonea goal on forty six minutes after he was set up by Robbie Flynn the game was as good as over as a contest.

Eoin Scanlon pulled a point back for Ballyduff on forty-seven minutes but it was followed by a brace of Gavin Sheehan frees.

Ballyduff had a chance to cut the lead somewhat seven minutes from time when they won a twenty metre free just right of the right hand upright as Ballyduff played into the road goal but substitute Wayne Power saw his effort for goal rise over the crossbar.

Two further frees from Gavin Sheehan went between the uprights for Clonea to give them a 2-16 to 2-5 lead with four minutes remaining. Sean Tanner pulled a point back for Ballyduff but the impressive Paul Keating in added time closed the scoring for the afternoon in this game when he struck his fifth of the game in added time to help his side to an eleven (2-17 to 2-6) point victory.

Clonea: William O’Brien; David McNamara, Tony Power, Kevin Dunne; Aidan Flynn, Anthony Power, Peter Foran; Liam Mulligan, Gerdie Power; David Hallahan, Paul Keating, Robbie Flynn; William Brazil, Robert Kenny, Gavin Sheehan. Subs: Noah O’Brien for David McNamara (50 mins), Seanie Lacey for Robert Kenny, Eamon Cahill for William Brazil (both 59 mins), Simon Kenny for David Hallahan, Christopher Mackey for Gavin Sheehan (both 60 mins).

Scorers: Gavin Sheehan 1-8 (0-6f), Paul Keating 0-5, Robert Kenny 1-1, David Hallahan 0-2, Gerdie Power 0-1.

Ballyduff Upper: Jamie Keating; Conor Hannon, Aidan Feeney, Denis McDonagh; Kenneth Geary, Michael Drislane, Colm Horgan; Eoin Scanlon, Sean Brackett; David Walsh, Tommy Feeney, Edward Molumphy; Colin Keane, Martin Feeney, Kevin Moroney. Subs: Wayne Power for Martin Feeney (33 mins), Sean Tanner for David Walsh, Seamus Mills for Edward Molumphy, Conor Geary for Kevin Moroney (all 48 mins), Sean Drislane for Colin Keane (57 mins).

Scorers: Eoin Scanlon 2-4 (1-2 f), Wayne Power, Sean Tanner 0-1 each

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Modeligo)

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Nire celebrate 21st Anniversary of first senior county final win with a seventh county final win

In Ireland certain mile-stones are marked. Not many of us get to celebrate our 100th Birthday and when ones come’s around, it is only right to celebrate the occasion. For many of us, down the years our 21st Birthday was a big occasion. That in more recent years transferred to out 18th.

It’s not only Birthday’s that we celebrate. Other Anniversary’s such as marriage ones and other significant occasions are also marked.

The 21st is something that many of us celebrate and this past weekend one team within the county celebrate a significant 21st.

A teacher I had at Saint Anne’s Post Primary School in Cappoquin (one I can’t remember the name of at this moment) often said to me, often sarcastically when I might have been bored out my mind or paying little attention (which often happened) in a class used to say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

Shortly before the start of this year’s JJ Kavanagh & Sons County Senior Football Championship final between The Nire and Stradbally, for some reason something came into my mind. It was 21 years since The Nire won their first ever Senior Football Championship when they beat Dungarvan 2-7 to 1-9 on a very wet day at Cappoquin, the last venue outside of Fraher Field or Walsh Park used to stage such a final, and in winning they denied the Old Boro what would have been a four in a row of finals.

That was a day that I remember well. The rain that fell that day was terrible but it did not stop a big crowd gathering to see the game. I was one of the lucky one’s that day, I was able to get into the sideline and sit in the dug out along side a man that would in later years become a friend of mine Irish Examiner journalist – John A Murphy. Johnnie as he was known to so many was not a native Dungarvan man, but he was it like the Normans back along the years who became more Irish than the Irish themselves, Johnnie became more of a Dungarvan Man in his 60 plus years in the Old Boro than many a person born and who lived in Dungarvan all their lives. During the game, not for the first time and not for the last when Dungarvan were playing, Johnnie got very excited on the day and more over when Dungarvan were behind and making mistakes. After the match, heading back to the car parked near Lincons shop there was at least one Dungarvan man that was not too down in the dumps about the win as well known Dungarvan singer Joey Sullivan had many people standing listening to him sing despite the rain that was falling.

In previewing the game before the final, I said I would love to see the club next door my own club (Sliabh gCua/St Mary’s) pull off a win in a county final just as another club on the other side of the parish – Modeligo had done a week earlier at the same venue, but said I felt that Stradbally would come out on top.

After it clicking that The Nire was looking to win a seventh county senior football final twenty-one years after they won their first senior county final, I was wondering could they mark that win with a win. After all would there be a better way of celebrating that first win. Stradbally went into the game as favourites, but favourites do not always win, even in a two horse race.

On the day, there could be no disputing the fact that the better team won on the day. All over the field they won every battle.

Teenager Conor Gleeson was the press member’s choice as Man of the Match on the day, scoring five points in his first senior final, which is no mean achievement. But in truth the award could have gone to a number of other players as Brian Wall one of two 35 year olds starting the game was also magnificent, as was younger brother Diarmuid while Michael O’Gorman also had an outstanding game, not allowing the fact he had his head bandaged for 48 minutes plus the added time affect him.

Great credit was given to Stradbally for their semi final win over 2013 champions Ballinacourty in the semi finals a week earlier, while many people talked down the chances of The Nire for their narrow win over An Rinn, but not many praised the Gaeltacht Club for the part in the semi final game, and did not recognise the fact that a number of clubs, An Rinn being one of them are fast closing in on the big three within the county when it comes to challenging for honours.

From the off The Nire were always the better side of the two in this game.

They were unlucky not to have hit a goal inside the opening two minutes of the game, when Michael O’Gorman was put through by Conor Gleeson but the 28 year old Farmer somehow had his shot stopped from reaching the goals to test Eoin Cunningham in the Stradbally goal.

Shane Ryan opened the scoring for The Nire on three minutes. The 21 year old is one of the most under-rated footballers in the county and is as good and maybe sometimes better than some of those that we often say are the best footballers within the county.

Over the past few years he has become the side’s regular free taker and using a stance identical to older sister Michelle who is one of the leading ladies footballers in the county he kicked a free.

Eight further minutes passed before another score was registered, going in the direction of Stradbally courtesy of Michael Sweeney who was the youngest player involved in this years final, whose effort went over the crossbar but for a moment just before going between the uprights it looked as though it could rattle the Nire net.

On thirteen minutes Stradbally went in front when Shane Ahearne put over a free, however it was not to be his day kicking frees as just over a minute later, his side won another free and playing against a very strong wind, for what to him normally would be an easy kick at goal went wide of the near post as he looked at the target.

Liam Lawlor levelled matters for The Nire on fifteen minutes which was followed with a brace of scores from Conor Gleeson on sixteen and seventeen minutes.

Michael O’Gorman put The Nire three points up a minute later and two further minutes later, The Nire kicked the last score of the half through Shane Ryan from a free.

Playing towards the road goal and with the wind at their backs for the second half, many felt that Stradbally would come right back into the game, but they fell further behind on thirty three minutes when man of the match Conor Gleeson hit his third of the game.

David Grey pulled a point back for Stradbally from a free on thirty five minutes but the score failed to ignite Stradbally as many of the Cove Men’s supporters would have liked to see happen.

Shane Ryan and Shane Ahearne swapped scores, both from frees in a two minute spell before David Grey and the brilliant Conor Gleeson swapped points to give The Nire a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Down the last number of years since Stradbally began to dominate the football scene in Waterford many of the games they won were won in the last few minutes of the game.

They hit a point through Andy Doyle on fifty two minutes which had those supporting the reds hoping that the score would start a late surge.

But this score would prove to be Stradbally’s last of the game.

In the eight minutes plus the stoppage time that remained, as was the case for the majority of the game, The Nire proved to be the stronger of the two sides.

Conor Gleeson kicked his fifth and final score of the game six minutes from the hour mark and in added time Shane Ryan hit his fourth score of the game, all from frees to extend his sides lead to five.

The Nire now march on to the Munster Club Championship. Down the years they have come very close to recording a first Munster Championship win for Waterford. They will head into this years competition confident of putting a good run together. They begin their quest to do so in two weeks time when they play Limerick champions Ballylanders which would be an interesting game for at least one household in the Ballymacarbry area between now and then.

Should The Nire come through that game they will face the Clare champions Cratloe in Dungarvan which could well prove to be an interesting game if the East Clare side were to beat Ballygunner in this weeks hurling quarter final game at Walsh Park as it would mean that they would have only a seven day turn over from their semi final against the Tipperary champions and have to turn attention from hurling to football.

The Nire: Tom Wall; Justin Walsh, Thomas O’Gorman, Tommy Cooney; Seamus Lawlor, Brian Wall, Diarmuid Wall; Shane Walsh, Craig Guiry; Michael O’Gorman, Maurice O’Gorman, Jamie Barron; Conor Gleeson, Shane Ryan, Liam Lawlor. Subs: Michael Moore for Michael O’Gorman (BS 8-12 mins), Michael Moore for Craig Guiry (41 mins), Jack Guiry for Justin Walsh, Keith Guiry for Maurice O’Gorman (both 56 mins), Dermot Ryan for Conor Gleeson (BS 59-61 mins), Alan Lawlor for Liam Lawlor (62 mins). .

Scorers: Conor Gleeson 0-5, Shane Ryan 0-4 (4f), Liam Lawlor, Michael O’Gorman 0-1 each.  

Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham; Paddy Doyle, Shane Lannon, Kevin Coffey; Jack Mullaney, Michael Walsh, Luke Casey; Paddy Kiely, Robert Ahearne; Shane Ahearne, John Coffey, Ger Power; Michael Sweeney, Shane Ahearne, David Grey. Subs: Andy Doyle for Luke Casey (30+1 mins), Kevin Lawlor for Paddy Doyle (36 mins).  

Scorers: Shane Ahearne, David Grey 0-2 each (2f each), Michael Sweeney, Andy Doyle 0-1 each.  

Referee: Dessie O’Leary (Erin’s Own)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Stradbally and The Nire to meet in County Senior Football Final for the seventh time

For the seventh time since 2002, the county senior football championship will be decided by a clash between Stradbally and The Nire.

There can be no doubting that these two sides have dominated the football scene in Waterford over the past decade and a half.

Stradbally have won eight finals since the turn of the Millennium and appeared in three other finals.

Their opponents this weekend have won three finals since the Millennium year and have appeared in five other finals, making them the second most consistent team in this period, behind the Cove-men.

Battles between the two down the years have been closely fought battles. In three of the County Final clashes between the two, a kick of the ball separated the sides, and in the other battles between the two, seven points has proved to be the winning margin between the sides, that coming in 2004 when Stradbally won fourth of their five in a row finals, winning the game on a 2-8 to 1-4 score line.

While winning margins between the two in finals has often been small, along the way there have been occasions when the two sides could not be separated and should this latest clash of the two be just as close few if any would be surprised.

The most recent clash of the two in a final came in 2012. On that occasion a replay was needed to decide a winner and even then it needed a late David Grey score for Stradbally to help them to a 1-8 to 0-10 win.

This clash is the second between the two this year.

They clashed at Fraher Field in the third round of games in the league section of the competition, a game that The Nire won 3-11 to 3-6.

On that occasion all the drama enfolded in the last five minutes of the game. At the break, The Nire held a comfortable 1-7 to 0-4 lead, the goal coming half way through the half, Shane Ryan fisting to the net from a Jamie Barron pass.

The winners hit a second goal ten minutes into the second half when Diarmuid Wall finished to the net to give his side a 2-9 to 0-4 lead and ten minutes later they had stretched their lead by one to 2-11 to 0-5.

With five minutes of the hour remaining, Michael Sweeney finished to The Nire net after he was put through by Christopher Casey.

A minute later, it was Christopher Casey’s turn from goal provider to goal scorer after he was put through by Kevin Lawlor.

The Nire broke the momentum in Stradbally’s flow with a Liam Lawlor goal one minute from the hour mark after he was set up by Keith Guiry who intercepted Michael Walsh, and while Stradbally would add a third goal through John Coffey it proved to be a mere consolation score.

Going on the respective form of the two sides in the semi finals, Stradbally will go into this weekend’s final as the favourites.

They had a good but hard fought win over holders Ballinacourty, while The Nire had a narrow win over An Rinn and in the process failed to score for the last twenty plus minutes of the game.

Both sides would be expected to field along familiar lines for this game but they could well be a number of positional changes to both sides.

Against An Rinn, Shane Ryan finished top scorer for The Nire with four points, two from placed balls, with Shane Walsh and Liam Lawlor chipping in with two points each with Brian Wall and Tommy Cooney also getting on the score sheet.

They will be looking for big performances from these players once more and will also require big performances from other players if they are to capture the Conway Cup for the first time since 2008.

Stradbally on Saturday evening last relied on Shane Ahern to kick seven of their scores. Robert Ahern was the next highest scorer with a goal while David Gray and Tommy Connors also go on the scorer sheet. If they are to win this weekend they will need these and other players to be on top of their game.

Regular readers of what I have to say will be only two well aware that when sides meet in recent proximity in the same competition, I often tend to favour the side that lost the first day to win the second clash.

Will I change my rule of thought for this game and say that The Nire will record a second win over Stradbally this year. If you are a Nire supporter, as much as I would like to see the club next door to my own win as I did last week with Modeligo, I think for The Nire to win here they will have to put in the best performance they have put in for a long time.

In recent battles between the two at this stage of the competition, Stradbally have the upper hand over The Nire. Stradbally have won five of the six finals between the two. On many of these occasions, they were prepared to do so by a small margin and will again this time around.

The Nire’s only victory over Stradbally in a county final came in 2005 when they won 1-5 to 0-3, a result that stopped Stradbally win a first ever five in a row of senior football championships in Waterford.

Should Stradbally win on Sunday afternoon they will move to within one title of the record nineteen titles won by Dungarvan. While most will be aware that Stradbally may not be as strong a side as they were a few years ago, there is still some great hunger within the club. Some of the team have some mileage on the clock, and somewhere in the back of their minds they might be thoughts of dropping down to play in the junior grade where the same demands would not be on them for a few years before hanging up their boots, but if they were to be part of a winning team on Sunday afternoon such thoughts may well be put to the furthermost past of the mind for another year or two.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Modeligo prove too strong for Bunmahon

The nominations for this year’s different players and club of the year along with the other various awards presented by the Waterford GAA County Board are set to be announced in the coming days or weeks.

To be honest, sometimes trying to second guess those charged with selecting the various winners and even the final three, four or five contenders is a difficult task. Often the winners are well received and at times the winning list takes a little thinking about.

Last year, many were somewhat dismayed for example that Ballysaggart were not amongst the final three in contention for the Club of the year.

I know it is not the case, but sometimes when the winners are announced you can’t but feel that the judging was done on the result of one or two games.

Whoever is named winners of the different awards this year I am sure will be winners on merit. Owing to circumstances beyond my control this year I cannot stick my head out and pick the top three or five adult and underage footballers and hurlers, but I will stick my head out and say that if Modeligo are not in the final running for the position of club of the year then I will be shocked.

Over the past twenty years or so some great work has been put in by the older members of the club with the youngsters in the area, working with them in the local community centre over the winter months and in the summer months with the local Naomh Brid Club.

On Sunday afternoon last the fruit of that hard work was reaped when the club won the County Junior Hurling final for the second time in six years and now will go on to represent the county in the Munster Club Championship over the coming weeks.

Modeligo have a hard act to follow in Ballysaggart. For many years Waterford’s interest in the Munster Club Championship at Intermediate and Junior level was more than disappointing.

But Ballysaggart changed all that last year when after winning the Western and County Junior Hurling finals they went on to win the Munster Final on a never to be forgotten December Sunday afternoon in Mallow and then went on to play the All-Ireland Final in Croke Park which would end in a draw but lost the replay in Mullingar.

There is some that will tell you that Modeligo are a more all round better team than what Ballysaggart were. Modeligo may not have a Stephen Bennett operating on the edge of the square to put up a high score in each game but what they do have is a bigger number of players who can register smaller amount of scores, and at the back marshalled by former inter county player Pat Fitzgerald they are a strong outfit. Another plus for the side heading into the Munster Championship is that the likes of Paudie McCarthy, Pa Walsh, Sean Hennessy, Tom Cashman who all started in the stand on Sunday afternoon are all experienced players.

Modeligo went into the game with Bunmahon as the warmest of favourites. This is often a dangerous tag to have on your shoulders going into any game, but it did not effect Modeligo, who won this game with ease and maybe could have won it by a lot more than they did on the day.

The opening exchanges of the game were close. Kieran McCarthy opened the scoring on three minutes, and extended that lead when Patrick O’Donovan pointed moments later.

In the Eastern Final Fionn Buckley proved to be Bunmahon’s main score treat and he opened their account in this game with a pointed free on eight minutes.

Bunmahon two minutes later had the chance to pull level when they won what appeared to be a easy free, just over thirty metres from goal, but slightly more than half way between the upright and the sideline. Fionn Buckley’s effort went wide of his near upright. Had it gone between the uprights, would we have got a different result to the game, we will never know, maybe the final result might be closer.

Both sides swapped scores through Jamie Troy and Fionn Buckley to keep two between the sides, but efforts from Jamie Troy and younger brother Michael with a brace gave Modeligo a 0-6 to 0-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Modeligo in the second quarter upped their game a gear and at the break they held a -13 to 0-5 advantage.

Jamie Troy and Patrick O’Donovan hit points early in the second quarter for the side in green and white but Michael Harney would pull one back from a free to leave five between the sides with twenty-one minutes showing on the score board clock.

Two of the three O’Donovan brothers Nicky and then Patrick as well as Jamie Troy all hit scores for Modeligo before Ciaran Buckley hit Bunmahon’s fourth of the game with four minutes of the half remaining.

Modeligo however would finish the half without dropping the pace. Jamie Troy hit a point only for it to be cancelled out with a Fionn Buckley effort but Modeligo would hit the last score of the half through Michael Troy.

Holding an eight point lead coming out for the second half, Modeligo did not ease up in their attacking play.

Jamie Troy put over a brace of early points and then he did brilliantly to pick out Tom Devine with an excellent pass on forty minutes and from close range the winner of an All-Ireland Minor Medal and winner of All-Ireland ‘A’ and ‘B’ Colleges medals made no mistake.

Modeligo still refused to let up and they went fourteen points in front when Kieran McCarthy pointed a minute after Tom Devine’s goal. Within second’s Modeligo went even further in front when Michael Troy cut in from the stand side of the field towards the road goal and smashed a second Modeligo goal past Bunmahon net minder Pa Queally.

A brace of Tom Devine points followed seconds apart to give Modeligo a 2-18 to 0-5 lead with the game now entering its final quarter.

Bunmahon reduced Modeligo’s lead by two when Michael Harney and Fionn Buckley scored but the scores were soon cancelled out with efforts from Sean O’Donovan and Man of the Match Jamie Troy.

Bunmahon’s last score of the game came from the stick of John Roche eight minutes from time.

Modeligo still refused to take their foot off the accelerator and they hit late scores from Jamie Troy, Patrick O’Donovan who put over three of his sides last five scores of the game and Tom Devine to help Modeligo to what was a comfortable 2-25 to 0-8 victory.

Modeligo: Donal O’Keeffe; John McGrath, Brian McCarthy, Robbie Buckley; Sean O’Donovan, Pat Fitzgerald, Shane Troy; Kieran McCarthy, Thomas Walsh; Nicky O’Donovan, Jamie Troy, Pa Donovan; Michael Troy, Tom Devine, Rian Reddy Subs: Pa Walsh for Kieran McCarthy (BS), Louis Queally for Nicky Donovan, Pa Walsh for Kieran McCarthy, Sean Hennessy for Rian Reddy, Paudie McCarthy for Robbie Buckley, Richie McGrath for John McGrath

Scorers: Jamie Troy 0-9 (3F), Patrick O’Donovan 0-6, Tom Devine, Michael Troy 1-3 each, Kieran McCarthy 0-2, Nicky O’Donovan, Sean O’Donovan 0-1 each. 

Bunmahon: Pa Queally; John Fenton, Tommy Power, Martin Malone; David Crowley, Patsy Casey, Niall Queally; John Roche, Ciaran Buckley; Micheal Harney, Finbarr Power, Conal Queally; Richie Walsh, Fionn Buckley, Dylan Power. Subs: Ricky Power for Niall Queally, Kieran Roche for Patsy Casey, Dylan Power for Richie Walsh, Brendan Murphy for Finbarr Power, William Harney for Charlie McKeown.

Scorers: Fionn Buckley 0-4 (1f), Michael Harney 0-2 (2f), Ciaran Buckley, John Roche 0-1 each.

Referee: Tommy O’Sullivan (Cappoquin/Affane).

Cappoquin back as a senior hurling club for 2015

Down the years, clubs in Waterford as well as up and down the country have undertaken a research of the Club’s history, or had someone to do it for them, and the final product coupled with photographs have been put together in book form and often sold as a fundraiser for the club.

I am not sure if a History of the Cappoquin/Affane Club and the clubs prior to their merging in the 1960’s has ever taken place. If one has not ever been done, I know for a fact that there is plenty in the area well equipped to putting it together and that it would be well received locally and in the wider GAA community especially those that have connections with the Corner-stone Club down the years but maybe no longer reside in the area.

Should one have been put together, another chapter would have to be added in the near future as the club on Sunday afternoon last won its first piece of major silverware in hurling at adult level since the 1970’s when they beat Saint Saviours in this years Intermediate Final at Fraher Field, and will now take their place in the senior championship for the first time since they lost it in the 1990’s.

Since then, Cappoquin have gone close to going back into the senior championship but it was not to be, as along the way they fell to defeats in games they were expected to win.

The work to begin preparations for their return to the senior grade will not begin when they return to training for their upcoming Munster Championship game, nor will it begin in the late winter or early spring months when they return to training for the 2015 championships.

The work began in the 1990’s when the likes of the late Mick Lacey a member of the Waterford Senior Hurling winning team in 1959 and the then Curate of the Parish Fr Connie Kelleher seeing that the required work was not being put in got players to the GAA field when previous to this the bulk of the work with the youths in the area was being done by the local soccer clubs.

However the real work began to begin towards the end of the 90’s when Michael ‘Magoo’ Murray and Tommy O’Sullivan began to take charge of the clubs youngest players. They would later be joined by the likes of Fintan Murray and Billy Tobin amongst others.

Cappoquin went into Sunday’s game as the clear favourites in the eyes of many. But for long sections of this game they were made work very hard for their win by a hungry Saint Saviours team.

Most reading this will be aware that I never got to play in a competitive game of hurling, but it has not stopped me taking a keen interest in the game down the years.

There is some that feel that unless you have played the game you are not qualified to speak out on certain things within the game.

Forward’s often get all the credit when a team wins a game, but I think if I had the chance to play I may have been a back, my height would have restricted me on becoming a goal keeper, but it is these positions I often look to when I watch a game and down the years some of the best players I have seen are those that have filled the shirt numbers one to seven.

One of the best of these is former Cork goal keeper Donal Óg Cusack. Many people have strong views on the Cloyne Club man, but one thing regardless of our views on him is that for many years he was one of the best in the game of his era.

People speak of legacies when players retire or die and the same is often done of Politicians.

When it comes to Donal Óg his legacy is possibly the short puck out, something I am sure that most will know is something I hate.

Over the years modern day coaches have looked at other teams play and decide when they see something done that works they decide that they must introduce it into the game plan of teams they are coaching.

The unfortunate thing about the short puck out is that while it worked for Donal Óg Cusack and it worked for Cork, for the majority of teams it does not work and when it goes wrong it puts a team under a lot of pressure.

On Sunday afternoon Saint Savours had a game plan. From the restart after the ball had gone behind the goal post they were finding, the same one or two players who were often dropping short were to be found and on more than one occasion, the plan went wrong but it was still persisted with.

To me, hurling is a simple game but is often made very complicated. The main aim or tactic should be to get the ball from your own end of the field to the other in a quick as possible way and that is often done hitting a long straight ball down the field. Hitting a long straight ball it should be remembered does not always mean landing it into your centre forward or full forward. A long straight ball can also be hit to the wing or corner forwards.

In the 30 plus hours since the end of Sunday’s final I still cant but help wondering had Saint Saviours more often than not played a more direct long ball game would they have won, as they possibly had the more physically built forwards, something that can be got naturally for hurlers by playing football at a fairly serious level.

Cappoquin had a good start to this game with Man of the Match Shane O’Rourke and then Shane Coughlan splitting the posts from a ’65 and from play respectfully by the fourth minute.

After Shane Coughlan’s score Saint Saviours attacked the Cappoquin goal and got the ball into John Paul Jacob who made no mistake in beating Donal O’Rourke who was back between the posts for the Corner-Stone men after missing the Western Final win over Ballinameela through injury.

Shane O’Rourke hit his second of the game to draw Cappoquin level bit the side from just off the Cork Road exiting Waterford city (or entering, depending on what direction you are travelling) would not be long behind as John Paul Collingwood and Nicky Jacob put over scores to give them a two point advantage.

Cappoquin at times seemed intent in going for goals in this game and on thirteen minutes they tried their luck for the first time. Keith Landers with a ground strike, something that we don’t see enough of in the modern game had his goal bound effort taken off the line by Kieran Murphy and when the ball was brought out of defence by the side in Black and White stripes, it was worked down the field and when it came to Dan Connors he made no mistake in extending his sides lead.

Shane O’Rourke pulled a point back for Cappoquin, and shortly afterwards they missed another chance to have a green flag waved when Andy Molumby crashed his shot off the crossbar and under pressure the Saint Saviours defence was forced to play the ball over their own end line conceding a ’65 which Shane O’Rourke converted to leave one between the sides.

Andy Molumby levelled matters and Shane O’Rourke followed up with a point on twenty four minutes to give Cappoquin the lead once more.

Saint Saviours fought back to level from an Adam Brophy free and when the same player pointed from between his own ’45 and ’65 metre line, they were back in front, a lead that went to two points thanks to an effort from John Paul Jacob on twenty nine minutes.

Had Saint Saviours gone to the dressing rooms leading few would have complained. However it is important to keep going till the loud shrill of the referee’s whistle is sounded to end the half or the game and credit to Cappoquin they kept going and were rewarded with virtually the last puck of the half when Shane Coughlan finished a Keith Landers pass past Derrick Murphy for his sides first goal of the game which saw them retire with a 1-7 to 1-6 advantage.

Saint Saviours began the second half by drawing level courtesy of another Adam Brophy free on 32 minutes.

Second later Cappoquin had another chance of a goal, a long ball was played into the inside forward line where Killian O’Sullivan opted to try and kick the ball to the net but he failed to get the required power into the shot and it was cleared by the Saint Saviours defence, but when the ball fell to the same player a moments later, he made no mistake in splitting the posts.

Saint Saviours were back on level terms on 38 minutes when Adam Brophy again scored from a free.

On 41 minutes Cappoquin stole a huge march on the city side. County Minor Andy Molumby attempted his luck for a second Cappoquin goal but his effort was kept out by Derrick Murphy in the Saint Saviours goal making a good save but he was powerless to stopping Killian O’Sullivan rattle the net for a second Cappoquin goal.

This score proved decisive as Shane O’Rourke and Keith Landers landed points for Cappoquin but John Paul Jacob pulled one back as Cappoquin lead 2-11 to 1-8 heading into the final quarter.

Cappoquin went 2-14 to 1-9 in front with 12 minutes to play, but a 21 metre free which was cracked to the net by Adam Brophy who proved there is nothing wrong with the current penalty ruling if the ball is struck right followed by a Dan Connors point left four between the sides with six minutes to play.

The Saint Saviours support inside the ground must have been wondering if their side could do as Passage did in the 2013 senior final and hit a run of late scores that would record a win that few expected.

But Cappoquin would finish the game the stronger of the two sides.

Shane Coughlan and Adam Brophy traded scores which was followed with efforts from Shane O’Rourke (2), Andy Molumby and Killian O’Sullivan secured a 2-19 to 2-11 victory.

Cappoquin: Donal O’Rourke; Kevin Looby, Colm Looby, Timmy Looby; David Cahillane, Conor Murray, Shane Murray; Paul Murray, Finan Murray; Shane O’Rourke, Keith Landers, Andy Molumby; Shane Coughlan, PJ Curran, Killian O’Sullivan. Subs: Colin Landers for PJ Curran, Patrick Morrissey for Shane Coughlan, Paudie Landers for Killian O’Sullivan

Scorers: Shane O’Rourke 0-12 (5f, 2 ’65), Shane Coughlan 1-3, Killian O’Sullivan 1-2, Andy Molumby, Keith Landers 0-1 each.

Saint Saviours: Derrick Murphy; Brian Quinn, Kevin Boland, Darren Tuohy; Paul Holohan, Kieran Murphy, Peter Crowley; Adam Brophy, Joseph Phelan; Dean Crowley, Nicky Jacob, Dan Connors; Shaun Corcoran, John Paul Jacob, John Paul Collingwood. Subs: Brian Jacob for JP Collingwood, Keylin Cassidy for Paul Houlihan, Stephen Whelan for Nicky Jacob

Scorers: Adam Brophy 1-5 (1-4f, 1 ’65), John Paul Jacob 1-2, Dan Connors 0-2, John Paul Collingwood, Nicky Jacob 0-1 each.

Referee: Michael O’Brien (Portlaw).


Friday, 10 October 2014

Ballinacourty and The Nire fancied to retain winning ways in Senior Football Quarter Finals

They, whoever they are, often say if something is not broken, then don’t try and fix it.

This weekend, the Waterford G.A.A. County Board have pencilled in the two semi finals of this year’s JJ Kavanagh and Sons County Senior Football Championship, with the two games set to take place at Fraher Field on Saturday and Sunday evening.

This year the same four teams have qualified for the semi finals this year as last year. No real surprise there as they were the top and second seeded teams in the two groups in the league section of the competition.

In the past five years three of the teams in action this weekend have qualified for the semi finals four times, the odd man out – The Nire who lost in the quarter finals to Stradbally in 2010.

For what its worth, here is a question for you. Is the Waterford Senior Football Championship broken? Some may take offence to the word broken, I don’t know why, but for me, when I use it, I am wondering is there a better way we can run the championship.

For me, the answer is yes, and while this piece is to do with football and this weekend’s semi final’s the same very much so could apply to hurling.

The first question to be asked is do we have 12 senior football (and hurling) teams in Waterford. For what it is worth, I don’t think we have. Having said this, I am wondering if clubs will vote to cut the numbers playing in the championship. The answer could be summed up by saying Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas each year.

So if clubs are not going to vote to cut the numbers playing championship (in my view), then how can we improve the way we run out championship.

Having a county senior football league and a league style championship to me does not really work. Maybe we should be thinking about making the championship a knockout one.

Maybe we could think about putting the twelve teams playing senior into one group in a league, which would guarantee each club eleven games. That is one more game that clubs are currently guaranteed in the current County Leagues and League style championship.

We could well have league semi finals and a final, but the biggest prize on offer to the top four teams in the league would be a bye to the quarter finals of a knockout championship.

For the teams that finish from fifth to twelfth, there is two available ways of conducting the first round draw for the championship, the first and possibly the one that clubs would go for given such an option would be that the fifth placed team would play the twelfth, the sixth play the eleventh and so on. The second option would be that the names of the teams that finish from fifth to twelfth would all go into a hat and they would be randomly drawn out.

For the quarter finals, the top four teams in the league would be seeded and could not meet each other. The names of these clubs would go into one hat or bowl, the four first round championship winners into another hat or bowl with one team drawn out from bowl one and play a team from bowl two. The semi finals would be an open draw.

However, we cannot really talk about what could be for now and have to put up with what we have.

The first semi final this weekend on Saturday evening see’s last years champions Ballinacourty take on Stradbally their near neighbours and the side they recorded a much easier win over in last years final than most had anticipated.

Ballinacourty have qualified for this year’s final with a 100% win record, while Stradbally qualified having lost just one of their games, that against group two winners The Nire.

Ballinacourty in the quarter finals had a very easy win over Saint Saviours in Fraher Field. That came after a number of week’s void of any championship games. While they won last weekend, they would no doubt have preferred to have a much tougher battle as they always knew that they faced a much tougher battle this weekend, and could possibly have done with a sterner test.

Ballinacourty at this stage are a very experienced outfit. They are set to be without John Hurney who is a big loss from any team. However, they have a big pick to choose from and will have plenty of options open to them to fill in.

Stephen Enright is one of the best goal keepers in the business, not just in the county and will start once again between the posts for Ballinacourty.

In front of them, the Ballinacourty selectors will have the option of playing different players in different positions. Conor Moloney, Sean O’Hare, Shane Briggs, Richie Foley, Brian Looby, David Collins, Ronan Sheehan and Gary Breen are all options available to them in defence.

In attack, Sean O’Hare, Gary Hurney, Shane O’Donovan and Jason O’Mahony are amongst the management teams options while in attack, Ballinacourty are at their most dangerous been able to call on the likes of Gary Hurney, Patrick Hurney, Mark Ferncombe, Jason O’Brien, Michael O’Halloran, Mark Fives and Mark Gorman are all options and all know only too well where the posts are and are able to put the ball over and under the crossbar.

What Stradbally have achieved since the turn of the Millennium is remarkable. Eight county finals out of fourteen is an excellent return. For a while people spoke of the players that had won five, six or seven medals. May of these players have retired from the game, but there is still some who were around in the early days of the sides great run of success still about.

Stradbally may not have set the underage scene alight in the past two decades or so, but they have a great knack of bringing players through to the senior team which is what should be happening. And in the last couple of years, they have managed to bring some new exciting prospects through.

This year they are without one of their finest servants in the past decade or so – Tony Grey who picked up a serious injury earlier this year. Tony is a player that is undervalued by some at times. In the modern era, where wing backs and even corner backs break into the other half of the field and kick some important scores, Tony is one of the best at it.

Up to now, he is hardly missed from the side as apart from the defeat to The Nire, Stradbally have had things relatively easy up to now.

However it is from here on in that all remaining sides will want all of their best players out on the field where experience could well prove to be vital around some of the younger players on view.

Stradbally will possibly go into the game against Ballinacourty fielding a team that will be similar to that which beat Kilrossanty in the quarter finals.

Eoin Cunningham will be between the posts. Jack Mullaney, Kevin Coffey and Andy Doyle could form the full back line with Shane Lannon, Michael Walsh and Luke Casey playing in the half back line.

Paddy Kiely will start in the middle of the field where he will be joined by one of Robert or Shane Ahern.

Ger Power, John Coffey and Tommy Connors could well be the half forward three-o, with Robert or Shane Ahern operating on the edge of the square with Michael Sweeney and David Grey on either side of him.

The second semi final this weekend on Sunday evening will see the two sides beaten in last years semi final do battle against each other.

Over the past few years, An Rinn has shown great promise, but they have yet to make the breakthrough their efforts deserve.

The Gaeltacht club in the past four years have made the quarter finals, making them possibly the most consistent of sides outside of the sides considered to be the top three within the county.

This is the second year in a row that they have reached the semi finals. The last time they had a finish to match it was almost a century ago. Last year they hosted the Comortus Peil competition, reaching the final of it loosing out to Ghaoth Dobhair from Donegal. An Rinn made the Donegal side fight very hard to record that win which again shows the progress they are making.

For this weekend’s game with The Nire, An Rinn could well field along the lines of their quarter final win over De La Salle.

Tomás Ó Cadhla will be between the posts. In defence, Cillian Ó Murchadha, Ray Ó Ceallaigh, Shane Ó Cuirrin, Jamie de Barúin, Tadhg Ó hUallachain and Noel Ó Murchadha will fight it out for the six defensive positions.

In the middle of the field Ferdia Ó hAodha and Cathal Ó Cuirrin could well again prove to be their partnership and in attack Lorcan Ó Corraoin, Ferghal Ó Ceallaigh, Billí, Donie and Christy Breathnach, Ferghal Ó Cuirrin, and Liam Ó Lonáin will be fighting it out for place for places.

The Nire will go into this weekend’s semi finals as one of two teams with a 100% win record.

They are without a competitive game now in a number of weeks. Their quarter final win over Rathgormack was played a few weeks back now. No doubt they have played a challenge game or two since, just to keep ticking over, but as good as these games can be at times, nothing beats competitive games on a regular basis.

They will possibly line out along familiar lines meaning Tom Wall will be between the posts, with Justin Walsh, Jack Guiry, Thomas and Maurice O’Gorman, Tommy Cooney, Diarmuid and Brian Wall as well as Seamus Lawlor in front of him.

The middle of the field paring could well be between Michael O’Gorman, Craig Guiry and Shane Walsh, with the one loosing out winning a place in attack along side the lines of Dermot Ryan, Jamie Barron, Conor Gleeson, Shane Ryan, Keith Guiry, Stephen Ryan and Liam Lawlor.

Both semi finals could well go down to the wire. There is a possibility that winners in one or both games will not be decided inside the sixty allotted minutes.

To say with confidence that one team over the other will come though from the two games is not easy. However, with two of the teams going into the game with a 100% win record, both Ballinacourty and The Nire have to regarded as favourites but the chances of An Rinn and Stradbally cannot and should not be written off too quickly.