Wolfe Tones, Mostrim . . . . 3-2 Longford Slashers . . . . 2-4
On the May Bank Holiday Monday the title holders Wolfe Tones took on Longford Slashers in the U-14 Feile naGael Hurling Final in Devine Park for the right to represent the County at the forthcoming National Finals to be held in Limerick on the first weekend of July.
The game was played in a very competitive but sporting manner with both sides displaying excellent skills of the game. The Edgeworthstown side played with the advantage of a strong breeze in the first half and opened the scoring with a fine point from Maithiu O’Donohoe. Slashers were struggling to gain a foothold in the game and only for some sound defending from full-back Shane McGuire and a point blank save from the impressive Jordan Kelly they could have found themselves in serious trouble early on. The early dominance from Wolfe Tones paid off in a fortuitous manner when a speculative long ball from Maithiu O’Donohoe deceived the Slashers defence for a goal.
Slashers got in on the scoring soon after with a fine point from Robert O’Connell. They added another soon after from the stick of Sean Creevy but this was countered by another point from Colm Gilchrist.
The Wolfe Tones defence was on top with Jake Montgomery and Joe Gaffney to the fore and the constant supply to their forwards resulted in another goal from Dylan Cassidy. Just before the half-time whistle Slashers added another point to trail by 2-2 to 0-3 at the break.
Now with the aid of the wind the Slashers side increased the tempo in the second half and they got their reward soon after the break with an opportunist goal from Cian Quinn. This was followed up with a lucky enough goal which deceived Ian Campbell and found the Wolfe Tones net, thus giving Slashers a slender one point lead with only 8 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Wolfe Tones management team decided to bring on Rafeke Alaran to attempt to give their side a fresh impetus and this he did in style. With virtually his first strike of the ball he slipped inside his marker to score a goal and regain the lead for the Edgeworthstown side.
This set up a tense finish and the deficit was reduced to a single point with another score from Robert O’Connell. Slashers continued to pile on the pressure and it required many robust tackles by the Wolfe Tones defence to prevent an equalising score.
Credit must be given to both teams and management for preparing so well for the final and despite losing out on this occasion it is evident that the work being done by Niall Ward in Slashers will result in success in the not too distant future.
Most prominent for Slashers were Shane McGuire, Rory Howlin, Sean Creevy, Cian Quinn, Dylan Smith and goalkeeper Jordan Kelly while best for Wolfe Tones were Joe Gaffney, Jake Montgomery, Maithiu O’Donohoe, Rafeke Alaran and Dylan Cassidy.
WOLFE TONES: Ian Campbell, Ronan Noonan, Joe Gaffney, Keith Galvin, Jake Montgomery, Padraig Walsh, Padraig Joyce, Keith Grey, Oisin Stakem, Maithiu O’Donohoe, Even Murphy, Evan Tully, Dylan Cassidy, Shane Campbell, Colm Gilchrist.
Subs:- Michael Purcell for E Tully; Rafeke Alaran for C Gilchrist.
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Jordan Kelly, Darragh Maher, Shane McGuire, Kian Morgan, Oisin Ganley, William Tunstead, Rory Howlin, Sean Creevy, Mark Howlin, Rionn Cox, Robert O’Connell, Gerard Flynn, Cian Quinn, Dylan Smith, Ronan Kenny.