Silver Hill Foods Minor Hurling Championship Final
Clontibret 2-11 Castleblayney 0-13 8/5/11
Clontibret retained the MHC title with a four-point win over Castleblayney in an entertaining final at Gavan Duffy Park, Monaghan on Sunday. Goals by Liam Savage and Shane Askin proved crucial for Clontibret, who never fell behind in a keenly-contested game where both sides showed a lot of skill and work-rate.
Brian Greenan, Gareth Brennan, Liam Savage, Conor Boyle and Michael O’Dowd were to the fore for Clontibret, while Niall Garland, Tony Forde, Fergal Rafter, Liam McCooey and Patrick Finnegan worked hard throughout for Blayney.
Clontibret got the first score through Michael O’Dowd and although Tony Forde equalised for Blayney, Conor Renaghan restored Clontibret’s lead after a good pass from Gareth Brennan. Aodh Curran added a point for Clontibret, who moved four points clear on seven minutes when a shot from Liam Savage went over the head of Blayney keeper Matthew Gormley and into the net. Jason Walsh replied for Blayney, but a Brian Greenan point kept Clontibret in charge. A Kevin Smith point and a 30-metre free by Fergal Rafter, after Savage had been penalised for over-carrying, halved Blayney’s deficit to two, but Greenan responded from a free after a foul on Conor Boyle. Rafter hit a point from a 70-metre free after a foul on Barry Duffy, but Greenan sent over a fine point after a pass from O’Dowd and he then won and scored a 30-metre free. Rafter converted a 45-metre free for a foul on Niall Garland, but Clontibret struck for their second goal in the 25th minute when Shane Askin diverted a loose ball to the net after Dáire McKeown has sent a centre from O’Dowd towards goal. Garland got a point back for Blayney, but Clontibret still led by 2-7 to 0-7 at half-time.
Greenan hit a point from a long-range free after a foul on Renaghan to increase Clontibret’s lead, before their keeper Lorcan Murphy was quick off his line to clear the danger when Barry Duffy looked set to capitalise on a long ball in from Liam McCooey. Rafter and Greenan swapped points from frees after fouls on Tony Forde and Greenan himself, before Blayney gave their hopes a shot in the arm with four unanswered points. Liam McCooey got the first before Patrick Finnegan fired over an inspirational score and Forde added a well-taken point. A ’65 by Rafter was adjudged by the umpires to have crept over the bar despite the best efforts of Clontibret keeper Murphy, but the defending champions came back with their first point in 16 minutes, scored by Aodh Curran. Greenan had a shot blocked by Gormley before O’Dowd took his point from a goal chance when he had been put through by Curran. Blayney sub Jason McDonald got on the end of a long free from Rafter to close the gap to four points, but Clontibret held on to repeat last year’s victory against the same opposition.
Clontibret: L Murphy; F McNally, C Murphy, D Moorehead; R McNally, G Brennan, K Duffy; L Savage (1-0), C Boyle (Capt.); C Renaghan (0-1), B Greenan (0-6, 4f), D McKeown; S Askin (1-0), A Curran (0-2), M O’Dowd (0-2).
Sub: C McDonald for Askin (43 mins).
Castleblayney: M Gormley; N Flanagan, C McNally, K McCooey; L McCooey (0-1), P Finnegan (Capt., 0-1), C Daly; F Rafter (0-5, 4f, 1 ’65), N Adair; N Garland (0-1), T Forde (0-2), B Duffy; J Walsh (0-1), J Beatty, K Smith (0-1).
Subs: C McGeough for K McCooey (26), D Byrne for Adair (37), J McDonald (0-1) for Flanagan (54).
Referee: S McKenna (Carrickmacross).