9-a-side Schools Final

Gurteen N.S. 4-11; Tullykyne N.S. 6-11: Report by Martina Donnellan. St. Kerrills N.S. relinquish Cumann na mBuncsol after 32 score epic. The large crowd of supporters from both Gurteen and Tullykyne (Moycullen) National Schools were enrapt by a cracking game of school hurling in the 9 a-side Cumann na mBunscol hurling final played in the Centre of Excellence in Claregalway today. St. Kerrills N.S. relinquished their Cumann na mBuncsol crown in a 32 score epic which equated to on average a score just over every 90seconds in 50 minutes of hurling. (40 mins of normal play and 10 mins of extra time). Tullykne’s two goals in the 2nd period of extra time proved decisive on a day which tested the mettle of both hurlers and scorekeepers alike. The game finished 6-11 to 4-11 to Tullykyne N.S.

There was fantastic drama, right to the end with only the puck of a ball in it. The game could have gone either way but in truth the hurling Feile over the weekend, football and club hurling may have taken its toll on this group of players. It was extremely tough going with the opposition a big physical side to contend with while the game was lightening fast. Tullykyne had 1-3 on the board within 6mins with the aid of a strong breeze; 1-2 from play and a converted free. Paddy Kenny got a smashing goal to get Gurteen off the mark, with a low hard effort. Gurteen replied with 2 points from play; the first supplied by Jonah Donnellan after Conor Walsh andamp;amp; Ronan Hynes were involved in the move. Paddy Kenny put over from a long distance as the resultant puck out broke to him.

Both teams traded scores, Tullykyne from a free and Jonah Donnellan from play after 9 year old Sean Kelly’s inch perfect pass found him. Harry Mitchell who had the game of his life, was called upon to make his first point blank save. At the opposite end, Paddy Kenny drew a great save from the goalie as he blasted low and hard in a lovely build up involving Conor Walsh, Ronan Hynes and Jonah Donnellan. Mitchell entertained the supporters with another classic save, this time by diving to his right to turn the ball around the post.

The resultant 65’ was converted by Tullykyne’s No. 8 to put two points between them. Gurteen’s next point was their best move of the half involving almost every player on the field. Ross Lally found Conor Kelly who unleashed a massive clearance to the forwards where Jonah Donnellan, Ronan Hynes andamp;amp; Sean Kelly had a hand in play before Paddy Kenny scored a beauty straight over the black spot. Kenny caught the resultant puck out to level matters 1-5 apiece at half time.

In the 2nd half Donnellan converted an early free which he won himself. Harry Mitchell had parents, grandparents, siblings and teachers punching the air in delight with another top drawer save. The resultant clearance from Gurteen’s defence however, fell to Tullykyne who pointed from play. At this stage it was tit for tat, Donnellan with a free after Ronan Hynes was fouled and Tullykyne from play to keep the game tied at 1-7 apiece as young Darren Moran was introduced for the injured Conor Walsh.

Mitchell made yet another superb save and followed up with a long clearance but then came a sucker blow as Tullykyne goaled which Harry got the hurl to but deflected in off the post. Paddy Kenny had another goal effort saved on the line as both goalies were in top form. Then Gurteen hit a purple patch and scored 2-2 in quick succession. David Walsh scored a long range point as the breeze picked up in Gurteen’s favour. Young Sean Kelly’s ground stroke found the net after Paddy Kenny’s initial effort was saved and Gurteen looked to be in a good position when Paddy Kenny goaled after a quick one-two with young Seaneen.

Paddy Kenny fetched the resultant puck out to put it straight over the bar as Gurteen looked to have all the hard work done, 3-9 to 2-7 in charge with 4 mins to go. But the Moycullen side came back again in true style as they goaled again when a long range effort bounced to evade Harry. As they pressed for another goal Harry had to dive full stretch to deny them. Tullykyne scored two more points from play right at the death as neither players, supporters or team mentors could have kept the score totted up. The ref adjudged the game to be level 3-9 apiece and signalled for 5 mins a half extra time.

On the resumption, Tullykyne quickly scored 1-1 to put Gurteen on the back foot chasing the game. Ronan Hynes put Gurteen right back in it as he scored a tonic goal in a move involving Paddy Kenny which Hynes finished perfectly. Jonah Donnellan finished another superb point in a move involving Conor Kelly, David Walsh, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Ronan Hynes andamp;amp; finished by Donnellan to tie the game up at 4-10 apiece. Justice was speaking aloud: was it fair for anyone to lose this game. Moycullen scored a free before half time of extra time to put them 1 point to the good.

Straight from the restart and Moycullen scored a sucker goal; a severe blow to the Gurteen boys. They bounced straight back with a point from Ronan Hynes to put just a goal between them. However, the nail was drove deeper well into the 2nd period of extra time when Tullykyne scored another goal and there was no way back for an extremely gallant Gurteen side who finished unrewarded after an absolute classic.

There were some great performances and none more so than Harry Mitchell who delivered an absolute masterclass performance in goals while Paddy Kenny has an engine like no other. After the game, Tullykyne’s manager commended both teams on a classic game as there was simply no other way to describe it. Just a pity about the result but hurling was the real winner in the end.

Scorers: Paddy Kenny 2-4; Jonah Donnellan 0-5 (2F); Ronan Hynes 1-1; Sean Kelly 1-0; David Walsh 0-1.

Panel: Harry Mitchell, Ross Lally, Conor Kelly, Conor Walsh, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, David Walsh, Ronan Hynes, Sean Kelly, Darren Moran, Ciárán Hogan, Cathal Hynes, Diarmuid Ryan, Eoghan Ryan, Jack Kenny, Keith Kitt.