The eagerly aniticpated clash between the third teams of ourselves and Rapparees had to be delayed for 15 minutes this evening due to crowd congestion, but the patient crowd were rewarded with a fantastic display of scoring from both teams, with the final score being 2-19 to 0-31 in favour of the Rapps. Despite some heavy defeats to the Rapps in the last two years at this level our lads were as determined as ever. No stone was left unturned by management, and every detail was carefully analysed. Keith Swaine got a new plastic hurl for this 2018 season as he was nearly single handedly responsible for an ash shortage in Western Europe. He also reckons it allows him to get a crisper strike and I think this evening could have been the first time ever that a foam roller was seen in a Junior B dressing room.
The game started off well with Niall O’Loughlin opening the scoring, but the Rapparees were playing with the wind and proved to be more accurate to give them a 0-02 to 0-07 lead. An over the shoulder shot from the sideline by Colm McGannon and a few frees by Niall O Loughlin helped to close the gap to only a couple of points before the Rapps got another flurry of points to lead by 0-15 to 0-08 at half time. Playing with the wind in the second half our lads were reasonably confident of closing the gap, and the second half started brilliantly with a goal from Niall o Loughlin and a point from Conall Nolan. Another two points each from James Gahan and Conall Nolan meant we closed the gap to just two points at one stage. Unfortunately, the Rapparees were able to introduce some fresh legs in their forwards and they got on top again.
Despite only missing one free, Niall O Loughlin was removed as free taker by Colm McGannon, who insists on perfection. His confidence was to be admired as he struck a long range effort from inside our own 65 straight over the bar, despite Ger Millar telling him not to take it. A second goal from James Gahan and another McGannon free once again closed the gap to just 2 points. The game was in the balance until the referee gave a harsh free to the Rapps, it was probably one of the few times in the game that Keith clearly hit the ball, but the referee didn’t change his mind despite some polite questioning from the sideline. A late flurry of 5 unanswered points by the Rapparees meant they ran out deserving winners, in what was a cracking game of free flowing hurling and some great scores.
Team: Darren Millar, Padraig Stafford, Barry Millar, Keith Swaine, Colin Hawkins, Peadar Lacey, Adrian O Loughlin, Conall Nolan, Arran Breslin, Colm McGannon, Niall O Loughlin, James Gahan, Cathal O Leary, Eugene Breslin, Micheal Stafford.
Scores: Niall O Loughlin 1-09, James Gahan 1-03, Colm McGannon, 0-04, Conall Nolan 0-03