Sunday morning on the AWP St Johns Minor hurlers took on Fingallians in the semi-final of the Minor B Championship. The weather conditions were not favourable for hurling with a severe wind blowing down the pitch from BCS end. A great crowd from both sides took whatever shelter they could and settled in for a thrilling match. Fingallians had wind (gale) advantage in the first half and went about trying to put a score up which would be difficult for St Johns to chase down.
St Johns mentors set the team up with two in the forward line and rest of the team behind the ball. It was pressure on the St Johns backs right from the start. The lads scrapped and fought for everything in the first half making it difficult for Fingallians to get easy scores. Simon O’Reilly and Paddy Hopkins drove their backs on and made the opposition work hard for every ball. Up front Micheal Cronin and Tom Ahearne worked incredibly hard to hold whatever ball came up to them for as long as possible in difficult circumstances. Fingallians were playing good hurling picking scores off from play and slotting over frees. Supporters worried if St Johns could stay with them and keep the deficit down. A few good breaks out of defence led by Patrick O’Reilly and Barry Mannion in midfield helped St Johns pick off a couple of scores. Sean Casserly had his shooting eye in from frees which would make a difference right through the match. Fingallians picked their scores but couldn’t break down the Ballinteer defence to get that elusive goal. The first half ended Fingallians 0-11 St Johns 0-4 and supporters debated if the deficit could be overhauled in the second half.
When the teams turned around for the second half you could see the focus from St Johns players. They immediately pushed up and knocked over two lovely points. It was a case of patience, playing clever hurling, no wild shooting and take your points. As in the first half Sean Casserly was superb from the dead-ball with a personal tally of 10pts from play and frees. St Johns kept the pressure on and got back level with about 15 minutes to go. Barry Mannion and Patrick O’Reilly chipped in with a couple of super scores to put St Johns two up. Fingallians were not finished and started to come back in to the match. Supporters were getting anxious as they felt another couple of scores were needed. Then Fingallians won a free around the Ballinteer 21 meter line on left hand side. They played the ball back to a free player who was winding up to slot the ball over. Barry Mannion raced out and executed a superb block. He picked up the ball broke out and played it forward to Padraic O’hEither who pucked it over the bar. This was the turning point in the game as it went from Fingallians potentially pulling the match back to a one point game now it was 3 points ahead for Ballinteer. After that moment it was a matter of St Johns playing the game out for the last few minutes eventually coming out winners with the final score Ballinteer 0-18 Fingallians 0-12. Well done to all the players and mentors on a fantastic achievement. Thanks to all the supporters who braved the elements it was worth it. The win gives everyone in the club a Minor County Final to look forward to.
Team: Jack Kennally, Patrick Hopkins, Simon O’Reilly, Stephen Mulvaney, Ciaran Rafter, Eoghan FitzPatrick, Joe Waters, Patrick O’Reilly 0-2, Barry Mannion 0-3, Jack Ball 0-1, Sean Casserly 0-10, Padraic O’hEithir 0-1, Micheal O’Cronin, Tadhg Brennan 0-1, Tom Ahearne. Subs: Cathal Kissane for Ahearne, Cian Shelly for Ball, Cian O’Dwyer for Brennan, Michael Sutton Jack Walsh, Sean Roe, Eoin O’Callanain.
Mentors: Shane Casserly, Hugh Carroll, Fionan Clabby and Oisín Power.