U14 Hurling Div2 League Champions Celebrating Success

Éacht ! Gaisce ! Ba mhaith le Cumann Naoimh Eoin treaslú le curaidh iomána faoi 14 de chuid an chlub. Bhuaigh siad Roinn 2 le déanaí, rud a chiallaíonn go mbeidh siad ag imirt I Roinn a haon an bhliain seo chugainn. Nach iontach an sceal é !

What an unbelievable year it has been for these marvellous young hurlers! The superb management team of Shane Casserly, Martin Tully, Colman Morrisey, Ronan Kelly and Eric Graham had their backs to the wall from the outset due to the limited number of players at their disposal – 16 at last count! Nevertheless, Shane had utter belief in this team and his hopes and ambitions for them were boundless. How angry we all were then that the elements had conspired against this exceptional group of young hurlers on that weekend in May when they were obliged to play in the group stages of the Féile in horribly wet and cold conditions, conditions which hindered rather than enhanced good hurling and hurlers.

The failure to do well in the Féile, rather than proving a barrier acted as a catalyst to both players and mentors alike. It was as if they felt they had underachieved and that they all felt obliged to knuckle down even more and show how good they really were. And did they do this in style? They surely did!!

It is a joy to see and marvel at how well these young men play the game of hurling. Throughout the season the team had a solid spine, starting off with Zak Bowker in goal, Fionnán Church at full back, Iain ó hÉithir mar leathchúlaí lár, Séamas Fenton and Jack Kelly in midfield, Dáire Casserly and Fiachra O’Muirgheasa in the half forward line and Páraic MacLochlainn istigh ar an gcearnóg. The other players all played their part and rather than being a group made up of some very talented individuals, it was a team made up of a sum of its parts. Each member was seen as a key cog in a machine which mowed all before it! Thus there were days when Matthew Tully played his “ stormer “ and the irrepressible Harry Ball proved unmarkable in a number of key fixtures.

The first day that I realised how good this group is, was in May up in Marlay Park when they annihilated a much-fancied St. Bridgid’s team. One of the best hurlers that day was Harry Ball in at corner forward who had the poor back marking him pulling his hair in frustration as he failed to curb Harry’s enthusiasm.

Another highlight of the year was the manner in which they destroyed Raheny, the recently crowned Féile champions, away in St. Anne’s Park at the end of June. The manager of Raheny came over at the end of the game and paid tribute to the standard of hurling exhibited by our lads, saying it was the highest quality of hurling he had seen at that age group all year. Shane Casserly was extremely happy that evening and he gave special praise to Oisín Cronin and Jake Graham for their particular performances.

Move on a few months to October 3rd in Tymon North where we were playing Faughs away. Faughs were struggling up to then and many thought it was just a matter of turning up. However they gave us the fright of our lives. Our quality of play wasn’t its usual brilliant and the scores weren’t coming as freely as in other fixtures. Injuries to a few key players also made it that bit more difficult for us. However, despite all this, John’s dug deep. This, for me, was when the guys proved themselves to be full of spirit and determination. No way were the likes of Jack, Iain, Séamas and Fiachra going to lie down and concede defeat to Faughs. They fought hard and eventually eked out a narrow victory, a victory which was crucial because it meant that we finished top of the table and guaranteed a home fixture in the final against Sylvesters.

And the Day of Judgement came on November 14. A fine and sporting game was played and it was nip and tuck throughout, both sides had their time during the game when they looked as if they would go on and win. However, Dáire’s accurate free taking, the fire-in – the – belly shown by all the lads and that never-say- die attitude instilled into them by their mentors throughout the year meant that the title was coming back to St. Johns.

It would be negligent not to mention the contribution of the U13s and indeed the U12s, all brave and skilful young men who stepped into the breach throughout the year, including the final, when the team was short.

Well done to all involved for making this happen. The club is extremely proud of, and grateful to, you all! Comhghairdeas libh go léir agus beirigí bua!

2015 U14 Division 2 Hurling League Final

Ballinteer St Johns     1-11             St Sylvesters       2-7

Team: Zac Bowker, Mark Dalton, Fionnán Church, Oisín Cronin, Keelan Barry, Iain O’hEithir, Matthew Tully, Jack Kelly, Seamus Fenton, Dáire Casserly, Páraic O’Ciaruain, Fiachra O’Muirgheasa, Jake Graham, Páraic MacLoughlainn, Harry Ball, Eoin Priestley, Liam Fenton, Liam Smith, Ronan Cullen, Luke Cullen, Oisín Brennan, Conor Seoige.

Mentors: Shane Casserly, Martin Tully, Colman Morrisey, Ronan Kelly and Eric Graham