Passage U14 Hurlers Secure Hurling League Victory

Passage 3-14 St.Vincents 2-5

In an exhilarating match last Wednesday night in Knocknaheeney, the Passage U14 hurlers emerged victorious, clinching the hurling league title. This triumph marked the second time in just a few weeks that a young Passage team had travelled away to St. Vincent’s, displaying their tenacity and skill to bring home the trophy.

Throughout the game, Passage demonstrated their commitment and determination, standing toe to toe with their opponents. While Vincent’s put up a strong fight, it was Passage who ultimately pulled away in the second half, securing a remarkable victory. It is important to acknowledge the overall achievement of Passage U14 hurlers, who overcame formidable challenges to secure another remarkable victory on their journey to success. The players’ unwavering dedication, skill, and mental fortitude were instrumental in their victorious campaign. With this latest triumph, Passage has further solidified its position as a force to be reckoned with in underage competition. The future appears bright for these young hurlers, who, buoyed by their recent achievements, will undoubtedly approach future games in the coming years with renewed vigour and confidence.

Straight from the throw-in Vincents were the quickest out of the blocks scoring two points in the first minute. Passage replied with an excellent point from Morgan Kelleher after a great solo run through the Vincent’s defence. Straight from the puck out Vincents won the ball and fired over their third point. They could have increased their lead only for poor shooting, missing two scorable chances. The Passage defence of Finn Brady, Finn O’Connor, Ruben Ring, Ollie O’Neill, captain Sean Cash and Morgan Kelleher were slowly coming into the game and were outstanding throughout hooking blocking and giving their opponents no peace throughout the game. Half-forward Brian Griffin narrowed the Vincent’s lead with an excellent point out by the sideline, after great work from David O’Connor and Fionn O’Flaherty to set him up. Philip Heavey pointed a free to level the scores after Fionn Flaherty was fouled. In the next play, Morgan Kelleher caught the sliothar and went off on another solo run. The Vincent’s midfielder who was one of their better players fouled Morgan and the referee sent the Vincent’s player to the line. As can sometimes happen Vincents seemed to be galvanised by the sending-off. They quickly scored the first goal of the game and were denied another one only for the heroic defending by Ruben Ring.

Luckily for Passage Vincent’s shooting again left them down in the next few minutes, they missed two scorable frees and another easy chance from play in front of goal. Goal poacher Austin Horgan then scored a great goal for Passage against the run of play after great play from Aidan O’Connor and Daniel Collier. Sharpshooter Philip Heavey fired over a quick point almost immediately afterwards to give Passage the lead for the first time in the game. Passage suffered a blow when the excellent Ruben Ring had to go off injured. He was replaced by Daniel Mooney who slotted in effortlessly playing an excellent game up to the final whistle, clearing numerous balls. Passage had two wides from Philip Heavey and David O’Connor in the next few minutes before Vincents drew level with a long-range effort from the middle of the park. Midfielder Matthew Sheedy who battled away all night won the puck out and sent in the sliothar to the Vincent’s back line. Fionn Flaherty won the ball and somehow managed to break free from the Vincent’s players marking him to set up Philip Heavey who fired over the bar.

David O’Connor was fouled in the next attack and Philip made no mistake from the resulting free. The exchanges were tough and some of the tackles going in were not for the faint-hearted. Austin and David O’Connor had two wides in the next minute before Vincents scored a well-worked goal. Vincents gained some confidence from the score and were denied another goal opportunity when Eoghan O’Bryne and Ollie O’Neill combined to clear the ball. Philip missed a free to level the scores before the referee blew the half-time whistle. The halftime score Passage 1-6 Vincents 2-4.

Like the first half Vincents were first out of the blocks. They created a goal-scoring chance immediately but Eoghan O’Bryne managed to save the shot after a goalmouth scramble. Morgan Kelleher and Finn O’Connor worked the ball out to clear the danger. Vincents were fired up and thankfully only managed one point in the next few minutes from four shots on goal. Daniel Mooney and Finn Brady cleared a lot of balls in these minutes also. Full forward David O’Connor lifted the siege with a well-taken point from a pass from Brian Griffin. Philip Heavey then took over proceedings with a majestic display up to the final whistle. He scored a great goal after another solo run from Morgan Kelleher. The goal lifted the whole team and it was one-way traffic now. Philip fired over three points from play in the next five minutes. When Vincents managed to get back up the pitch Finn Brady, Sean Cash, Finn O’Connor, Ollie O’Neill, Daniel Mooney and the leader of the defence Morgan Kelleher ensured there was no way through. Behind them, Goalkeeper Eoghan O’Bryne was excellent all night with his puck-outs. The forwards were doing their part also half forwards Aidan O’Connor, Brian Griffin and Fionn O’Flaherty working their socks off all night. Inside them despite limited ball going in Daniel Collier, David O’Connor and Austin Horgan were all winning their battles.

Philip scored another goal midway through the half after Aidan O’Connor and substitute Sam Flynn combined to set up the scoring opportunity. Sam was fouled in the next play which allowed Philip to add to his scoring tally with another well-taken free. Ruben Ring re-entered the arena for the final ten minutes which added an extra layer of protection up to the final whistle. David O’Connor won a ruck to set up Brian Griffin for another point in the next passage of the play. It was all Passage now and Philip fired over another free after corner forward Daniel Collier was fouled. Brian Griffin then produced a moment of magic out by the sideline flicking the ball over his man and firing a shot which went inches wide. It would have been a score for the ages had it gone over. Tom Killen and Hugo Murray came on for the final ten minutes and both were quickly in the thick of the action. The tackles were still flying despite the scoreline.

Workhorse Matthew Sheedy scored the final point of the game with two minutes left on the clock. Tempers threatened to spill over in the closing minutes when Morgan Kelleher gave his marker a perfectly timed shoulder by the crowded sideline. The match was held up for a minute or two as the referee tried to clear people off the pitch. On the restart, he blew the final whistle and Passage had secured another trophy in what has been a year for the ages. Special call out to the players who didn’t play on the night. Mark Barry who played all the games during the year but unfortunately was injured for this game. Corey Browne was also injured and played his part during the year. Youngsters Darragh Walton and Padraig O’Driscoll can be proud of their contributions during the year and finally Noah Joyce who was injured for most of the season and it’s great to see him back playing. All that was left now was for captain Sean Cash to lift the trophy his second of the year. Well done to all the players, management and supporters.

Team: Eoghan O’Bryne, Ollie O’Neill, Ruben Ring, Finn O’Connor, Finn Brady, Morgan Kelleher, Sean Cash(capt), Matthew Sheedy, Philip Heavey, Brian Griffin, Aidan O’Connor, Fionn O’Flaherty, Daniel Collier, David O’Connor, Austin O’Connor.

Subs used: Daniel Mooney, Sam O’Flynn, Hugo Murray, Tom Kileen.

Scorers for Passage: Philip Heavey 2-9 (0-4 frees), Austin Horgan 1-0, Brian Griffin 0-2, Morgan Kelleher 0-1, Matthew Sheedy 0-1, David O’Connor 0-1