Rossa clinch U-16 Hurling championship
By Kevin Herron at Colaiste Feirste
Rossa were convincing winners in Friday evenings South Antrim U-16 final against St John’s under lights at Colaiste Feirste.
In truth the game was one-way traffic – the fact there was a game at all is credit to the fourteen St John’s players who pulled on their shirt with pride and failed to shirk responsibility, including Matthew Mallon on his first appearance back after a leg-break and goalkeeper Luca Caggese who pulled off a string of impressive stops to prevent at least six clear Rossa goals.
Daire Murphy hit the net for Rossa within the opening two minutes and Paul McLaughlin hit his sides opening point, with Owen May and Murphy following suit.
Murphy doubled his goal tally for the evening and the lively Eoin Trainor did likewise – however St John’s goalkeeper Luca Caggese was at full-stretch to turn Conor Rooney’s drive away from danger in between.
St John’s responded through a point from danger man David McGowan from a converted free and McGowan was unfortunate to watch a further effort drop low as Rossa goalkeeper Liam Groves scrambled the ball to safety.
The Whiterock side found it difficult to breach a determined and tight Rossa defensive unit as Dylan Magee, Patrick Moyes and Ben McAuley kept the back door shut as their team mates drove forward from the front.
Paul McLaughlin was proving a handful in full-forward and claimed his second point of the evening and further goals followed courtesy of Daire Murphy and Ruairc Murray.
Murphy conjured back to back points and Ruiarc Murray and McLaughlin were accurate before corner-forward Murray struck to the net for the second time.
Ruairi Murray, Conor Rooney and Murphy added further scores before the break – Ruairc Murray hit the net again but Luca Caggese pulled off an excellent save to deny Owen May moments before the break.
Conor Rooney and Eoin Trainor struck to the net early in the second-period and Daire Murphy and Trainor added points before Rossa began to run their bench.
Fionn McIlroy was impressive for Rossa all evening and secured a point and a goal and Daire Murphy and Paul McLaughlin also rifled home before the evening was out as Rossa claimed the U-16 Championship and earned a spot in the all-county decider against Cushendall next weekend.
It may have been an evening to forget for St John’s although their youthful squad refused to throw in the towel and many will feature in Wednesday evenings U-14 Stout McDonald Shield final against Brid Og in a bid to land some silverware this season.