Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 4-2
Liatroim Fontenoys 4-10
In what was surely one of the most thrilling games played this season in the U12 calendar, Cumann Pheadaír Naofa travelled to Fontenoy Park, knowing that a win would put them top of the league with two games left to play. The big crowd of home supporters were in for a real shock, having seen their side score 29 goals in their last three fixtures and winning all their games by a twenty-point margin (and more in some cases), they fully expected their Fontenoy side to end the day with another massive 20-point victory. With 10 minutes gone there were still no score although both Liatroim and Cumann Pheadaír Naofa came very close to breaking the deadlock. Man of the Match Darragh Austin who had just recovered from illness was in inspiring form between the sticks, making several vital saves and interceptions with his clearances often finding Tiernan Kelly and Liam O’Connor in the middle of the park. Up front Ben Lock, Jarlath Donnelly, & Senan Magone found the going tough up against a physically taller and stronger opposition. The young blues who had been given an inspiring talk before taking to the field knuckled down and kept putting the Liatroim boys under serious pressure and when the sliotar landed in the square the smallest player on the field, Jarlath Donnelly pulled and was rewarded with the opening goal of the game, within minutes a high ball in from Tiernan Kelly fell to the edge of the square, Ben Lock turned and returned the sliotar back across the square for young Jarlath to flick the sliotar home at the far post. Liatroim were in shock, two goals down midway into the half and being matched all over the field, never before had they been in a position where they faced a team that could threaten their eighteen-month unbeaten record in league/championship. In defence James Sweeney was as resolute as ever mopping up and keeping the Fontenoy danger men at arm’s length. Liatroim did eventually find the net, after forcing a triple save from Darragh Austin the sliotar was forced in for Liatroim’s first goal. A twenty metre free and a well taken goal and point saw the Fontenoy boys edge their noses in front. But in response the blues managed to get the sliotar to Mark Campbell, whose pass in to Liam O’Connor saw him unleash a thunderous shot which found the back of the net. With five minutes of the half remaining a foul on Rauirí McIntyre resulted in a free thirty metre out. Oran Murney stepped up to take the free and his looping strike deceived everyone as the sliotar ended up in the back of the Liatroim net. Liatroim were in real trouble now, down at half time 4-1 to 2-2.
The second half was even more tense as Matthew Duffy, Niall Rice and Tiernan Burns hassled and tackled every attack that came their way, Liatroim were not going to win this game so easy. A Liam O’Connor point saw Warrenpoint stretch the lead to six points, but from then Liatroim brought out their full back to put more pressure on the Cumann Pheadaír Naofa backline, forcing them in to making several errors. Unfortunately for the blues every one of these mistakes resulted in a pointed free and Liatroim, slowly, but surely crept back into the game to take the lead. By now the home support had become more vocal and cheered on their side as the Cumann Pheadaír Naofa were punished by a succession of pointed frees. By now the game approached the last ten minutes and Liatroim really pressed hard for the killer goal which came with two late strikes to seal an eight-point victory for the Fontenoys. Credit must be given to both sides for a thoroughly entertaining game of hurling as both sides gave 110% over the sixty minutes and for those who travelled to see the boys in blue, they were not down hearted as this had been a real tough encounter and a game that no one outside of the blues management had expected to be so close.
CPN U14 were: Jarlath Donnelly 2-0, Liam O’Connor 1-2, Oran Murney 1-0