Casements Social Club
Junior Hurling Championship final
Gort na Mona 0-20 St. Paul’s 0-14
Dessie McClean scored 0-11 as Gort na Mona proved too good in the end for a battling St. Paul’s side who kept going right until the final whistle. The former county man gave an outstanding exhibition of free taking, landing at least four from beyond 70 meters and punished every foul that the opposition conceded.
McClean got the Turf Lodge men off the mark from a free in the opening minute before Sean O’Carroll equalised with a point from play with two minutes on the clock. O’Carroll fired over when he might have had a goal and it was Gort na Mona who went on to dominate the opening exchanges.
Patrick McCafferty restored their lead with a good point from play with Dessie McClean (free) and Thomas McCaffery moving them 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after nine minutes. Sean Lawell raised the Shaw’s Road side’s second point but Gort na Mona replied immediately through Darren Diesel Boyd as they continued to hold the upper hand.
St. Paul’s were badly in need of inspiration and suddenly they began to find a bit of momentum as substitute Cairbre O’Caireallain split the uprights and points from Colm McLarnon and Gerard Carberry had them on level terms by the 15th minute as their supporters roared their approval.
Gort na Mona were soon back on the ascendancy however as Dessie McClean pointed a ‘65’ and followed with another from 70 meters before Patrick McCaffery added another from play to leave them three in front by the 23d minute.
Cairbre O’Caireallain pulled one back for the Hoops but another couple of long range efforts from the brilliant McClean had the Gorts four in front by the 29th minute and they again looked to be taking control.
St. Paul’s were fighting with everything they had to keep in touch however and Colm McLarnon replied from two pointed frees to leave just two in it again as the game moved into injury time. The final scores of the half were to go the way of the Turf Lodge men however as Patrick McCaffery and Dessie McClean concluded the first half scoring to restore their four point advantage as the half time whistle sounded.
St. Paul’s need a good start to the second half if they were to get back into contention and Colm McLarnon raised their hopes when he pointed a free in the opening minute but as the hits continued to go in thick and fast Dessie McClean replied from frees in the 33d and 42nd minutes at the other end.
St. Paul’s were enjoying their fair share of possession at this stage but Sean O’Carroll held his head in frustration after his goal bound shot came back of an upright but they continued to press and were rewarded with a pointed free from Colm McLarnon and a superb long range point from corner-back, Chris Murray.
Dessie McClean again eased the pressure from another free but Gort na Mona were then dealt a blow when James Connolly was shown red after a dangerous pull.
Could this be the turning point in the game? The answer was a definitive no as Gort na Mona came storming forward, led by the impressive McCaffery and the big mid-fielder hit a fine point with Dessie McClean and Steven Rooney following suit to put a bit of daylight between the sides.
A Colm McLarnon free with four minutes of normal time remaining and another from Stephen Rooney gave St. Paul’s a bit of encouragement but it was too little, too late with Dessie McClean and Martin Ward concluding the Gort na Mona scoring and Rooney responding with St. Paul’s final point of the game.
A very competitive game of hurling with little quarter asked or given but it was Gort na Mona who had the greater experience and fire power and they never really looked like losing this one.
They were solid in defence where keeper Padraig Fryer, Niall Henry, Padraig McHugh and Mark Rea excelled. Patrick McCaffery and Declan Hughes dominated at mid-field while Dessie McClean and Thomas McCaffery were superb in a sharp attack.
St. Paul’s gave it everything they had and were unfortunate to come up against a Gort na Mona side who were simply flying. Joe Gillan never put a foot wrong in goals while Ciaran Hetherington, Sean Lawell, Fionntan Gamble, Colm McLarnon and Sean O’Carroll impressed
GORT NA MÓNA: P Fryers; J Connolly, N Henry, C Devlin; G McKenna, P McHugh, C McCann; D Hughes (0-1), P McCaffrey (0-2); T McCaffrey (0-1), M Ward (0-1), L Dixon; B Quinn (0-1), D Boyd (0-1), D McClean (0-12, 7 frees, 2 65s, 1 sideline). Subs: C McErlean for L Dixon (24), S Doyle for C McErlean (46), P Cournane for M Rea (54).
ST PAUL’S: J Gillen; S Rooney (0-2), C Hetherington, S Bradley; C O’Carroll, F Sewell, S Lawell (0-2); F Gamble, D Chapman; C McLarnon (0-6, 5 frees), C Ó Caireállain (0-2), C Rea; P Doyle, S O’Carroll, J Farrell. Subs: G Carberry for C rea (6), C Murray for C O’Carroll (37), D Stevenson for P Doyle (52).
REFEREE: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)