Creggan win as keepers excel

U15B Hurling League

Gort na Móna 2-12, Kickham’s GAC Creggan 5-07

Pics: Joe Rice

It might seem like a strange thing to say about a game featuring seven goals, but Tuesday evening’s U15b hurling league game between Gort na Móna and Kickham’s Creggan is probably best described as a game of two goalkeepers. In the first half, the Gort na Móna ‘keeper withstood a barrage of high balls, batting most of them to safety. Similarly, Cillian McEldowney in the Creggan goals, made a number of important high catches and blocks which contributed massively to a narrow Creggan win.

The home side took an early lead, but in the 6th minute Creggan’s Harry McKay won a ball inside the ’13 and fired to the net. Creggan added further points from Ronan Colgan and Sean O’Hara, before the home team took complete control of the scoreboard. In a period of eight minutes they scored an impressive 2-02, with the teams exchanging points just before the short whistle, to leave the half-time score line on Gort na Móna 2-04, Creggan 1-03, Conor Loughran having reduced the deficit for the visitors.

Whatever was said in the half-time Creggan huddle appeared to have done the trick as within seven minutes of the restart Ronan McGuckian, who impressed all evening in the forward line, had fired home a goal, later followed up by a point from play, with Conor Loughran following up with another shot to the net. In the third quarter Creggan had scored 2-01 to the home side’s 0-02, to go into the final period leading 3-04 to 2-06.

Perhaps understandably, given the way that the game was tipping backwards and forwards, the final quarter became tense, and was characterised by a lot of frees, and became a very stop-start affair. Gort na Móna took full advantage on the scoreboard and fired over three consecutive frees, with Sean O’Hara responding with a nice point from play from an increasingly acute angle. Gort na Móna continued to profit from some indiscipline from the visitors, firing over two further frees, and a nice point from play. These were answered in the 24th minute by another McGuckian goal to leave the socre line on 2-12 to 4-05 to the home side approaching injury time. Having seen his younger brother raise a green flag in the first half, corner-back Domhnall McKay decided to get in on the action. Collecting the ball out of a ruck, McKay ran clear inside the ’21 and fired to the roof of the net. Creggan added two further points from Conor Loughran and Ronan Colgan to seal a four point win.

There was very little between these two teams, and both deserve a lot of credit for a battling performance. Even after Creggan’s late goal, the home side continued to push forward, and even though Creggan had squeezed ahead in the final minutes, the points only felt secure with the sound of the final whistle. Next up for Creggan is a visit from fellow South West team Clooney Gaels, while for Gort na Móna it is a visit from near neighbours O’Donovan Rossa.

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