by Aimee McAtamney
Tír na nÓg u16 Hurlers won the Conor Devlin Cup for the first time in the tournaments 9 year history on Saturday when they beat Slaughtneil in the final at Whitehill
Eight teams were represented on the day across County Antrim, Derry and Tyrone with the structure of the tournament seeing four teams compete in each section. The games were 12mins a half with full rules. After the opening group stages the semi finals for the cup included Ballinascreen against Slaughneil and Tír na nÓg against Clooney Gaels. The Shield Semi Finals brought together the pairings of Na Magha against Lamh Dhearg and Kevin Lynch’s Dungiven against Eoghan Ruadh Dungannon.
Lamh Dhearg faced Kevin Lynch’s in a one sided shield final which seen the Dungiven men win on a score line of 16-16 to 0-01.
Tír na nÓg cruised to the Cup final beating Clooney Gaels on a score line of 0-15 to 0-01. However we were in for a much tighter affair in the clash of the Derry sides Robert Emmett’s Slaughneil and Ballinascreen. At full time the two teams could not be separated so it took a further 2 periods of extra time to finally separate the pair which seen Slaughneil come out on top by 4 points.
The main event of the day seen the hosts Tír na nÓg take on a strong Slaughneil outfit. The team was led by captain Ciaran O’Neill and started the stronger with points from Kevin Brady, Josh Higgins and Eamon Óg McAllister. Keeper Dominic Martin was key to the Whitehill team having only conceded 2 goals throughout the tournament and full backs Adam Reid, Brian Fitzgerald and Ricardo Conceicao give their forwards no change. Before the half Kevin Brady found the back of the net with an assist from Oliver McAtamney leaving the half time score 1-3 to 0.1.
The second half started similar to the first with points from player of the tournament Eamon Óg McAllister and skipper Ciaran O’Neill before Slaughneil tagged on two more of their own points. On the blow of the final whistle McAllister stepped up once more to point and leave the final score 1-6 to 0-3. For the first time in the tournaments history Tír na nÓg lifted the Conor Devlin Cup with special performances from Josh Higgins, Justinas Venckus and Brandon McLarnon.
Tír na nÓg would like to thank all the teams for participating in a fantastic day of Hurling with fair play at the forefront. Thanks to referees Ryan O’Reilly and Mark O’Neill who volunteered their time to officiate the games. Well done to Colm Duffin and the Devlin Family for their organisation in such a well run tournament. Thanks also to anyone who helped on the day in anyway and to Martin Hurls for sponsoring the Player of Tournament award.
Tír na nÓg Team
- Dominic Martin 2. Oliver McAtamney 3. Ricardo Conceicao 4. Adam Reid 5. Brandon McLarnon 6. Ciaran O’Neill 7. Brian Fitzgerald 8. Justinas Venckus 9. Eamon Óg McAllister 10. Conor O’Rawe 11. Joshua Higgins 12. Emmett Murray 13. Kevin Brady 14. Odhran McQuillan
Management: Robert Graham and JP McLarnon