U15B HC semi-final
Rossa 3-20 Naomh Padraig 6-10
It took over 70 minutes to separate these sides in a compelling game of hurling in the U15B Hurling Championship in Ahoghill today. In a game full of twists and turns it was a free from Niall May with the last puck of the sliotar, deep into extra time to swing it Rossa’s way and break the hearts of a gallant Naomh Padraig side.
It was Rossa who were first to register and they raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead early in the game as Naomh Padraig took time to settle but driven on by the impressive Callum Cane at mid-field they began to gain a foothold.
Cane was to have a massive influence as the game progressed and his free taking was right out of the top drawer but he was unfortunate to see two of his early efforts come back of the upright. From the second however Ryan Watson gathered the sliothar before firing to the net to level the contest.
Watson added a second goal when he wormed his way through a packed defence to move the North Antrim side ahead but Rossa replied with a goal from Liam McEnhill and with Corey Walsh, Niall May, Keevan Grieve and the towering McEnhill firing over some excellent points, they went on to lead by 1-9 to 2-3 at the half way stage and appeared to be taking control.
On the resumption of play it was Naomh Padraig who took the early initiative and Ryan McQuaid fired to the net after 30 seconds with Callum Cane pointing a number of excellent long range frees and his fourth of the half from a ‘45’ moved the North Antrim side four in front by the 10th minute.
Corey Walsh pointed a 12th minute free and the strong running Niall May added another before placing Liam McEnhill for a goal from close range to edge Rossa ahead again by the minimum at the second water break.
McEnhill was beginning to have a strong influence for the Shaw’s Road side as he moved them two ahead at the start of the final quarter and then Kieran McToal came to his side’s rescue with a good save as Rossa continued to press.
At this stage the momentum was with the South Antrim side but not for the first time Naomh Padraig found a response with Callum Cane pointing two excellent long range frees and when Ryan Watson got on the end of a long delivery to finish to the net from close range, Naomh Padraig were three in front.
The North Antrim lads looked on their way to the final at this stage but Rossa responded once more and a goal from Liam McEnhill tied the contest once more with three minutes of normal time remaining.
The superb Cane looked to have won it for Naomh Padraig as he edged his side ahead again from a free in the 30th minute but there was still time for one last attack and McEnhill split the posts deep into injury time to send the game into extra time.
The intensity and excitement of the contest continued as extra time got under way with Niall May moving Rossa one ahead after 30 seconds but the initiative was soon back with Naomh Padraig as Callum Cane sent a 70 meter free directly to the Rossa net through a crowded goalmouth.
Liam McEnhill and Colm Boyle replied with Rossa points to tie it for the umpteenth time and a point from Keevan Grive edged the Jerimiah’s one in front as the referee signalled for half time.
It was clear that this one was going to go right down to the wire as Liam McEnhill edged Rossa two in front as the second half of extra time got underway and a great point from Keevan Grieve moved the South Antrim side three in front and looked like sealing it for the Rossa.
Naomh Padraig were having none of it and substitute Calum Hughes fired to the Rossa net with time almost up and we looked to be heading for a replay. There was still time remaining however and Niall May pointed a close range free to pinch it for Rossa and break the hearts of a brave Naomh Padraig.
Both sides deserve massive credit for producing one of the best games of hurling I have seen for quite a while with both sides enjoying periods of ascendancy at different periods of the game and it was a pity there had to be a loser in the end.
Rossa: Oisin Boyle, Fionn Cregan, Shea Cunningham, Josh McIvor, Shea Flynn, Conall Shortt, Jude Collins, Corey Walsh, Colm Boyle, Keevan Grieve, Niall May, Ruairi McDonagh, Dara Boylan, Liam McEnhill, Daniel McGurk. Subs: Darra Morgan, Rossa Taylor
Naomh Padraig: Kieran McToal, Corey Quinn, Andrew McGarry, James McNeil, Ciaran Magee, Shay McGinley, John Magee, Callum Cane, Charlie Douthart, Brendan McQuaid, Ryan McQuaid, Liam Magee, Calum Magee, Ryan Watson, Jacob Newcombe. Subs: Seamus Mulholland, Calum Hughes, Junior Wilson.
Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)