County U-12 B Hurling Championship Final

November 8, 2018

  Another historic occasion for Ballyhea arrived last Saturday in beautiful sunshine at Blarney when our u-12s captured the county hurling title for the 2nd time having previously won it in 1985. This was a game that had everything, some great scores, super defending and a dramatic finish. Fr O’ Neills opened the scoring in the 1st minute with a point from a 65. Ballyhea replied a minute later with a sublime point from the touch line from team skipper Pat O’ Callaghan. Pat had another point 3 mins later but the east cork lads equalised again to leave the score 0-2 each at the end of the first 1/4. At this stage Jack Harty was having a blinder at corner back and Luke Hanley excelling at centre back. While the tight marking of Edina Hanley and Elaine Crowley stifled the O’neills attack. Ten minutes before half time though Fr. O’ Neills had a goal from a long range free, Pat O Callaghan replied from a free after good work by Andrew Curtin. The east Cork champs added 2 further points before the break but could not breach the outstanding Mikey Browne in the Ballyhea goals. At half time we trailed 1-4 to 0-3. Fr O’ Neills, last year winners, got off to dream start to the second half with a pointed free. But gradually Ballyhea got on top with Jonathon Mccarthy outstanding at midfield and with Grainne Hanley displaying tremendous bravery, we were rewarded in the 35th minute when Jonathon found Pat O’ Callaghan with a long delivery and pa playing a captains part billowed the O neills net. 3 minutes later with pat tormenting their defence he bursted through for another goal and put ballyhea ahead 2-3 to 1-5. The next 10 minutes provided great fare, there was no scores in this period as both sides showed tremendous defensive qualities. Then with 14 mins remaining another Jonathon Mccarthy delivery found Pat O’ Callaghan who once again showed all his class to find the O’neills net for his third goal. But the holders were not going to part with their title easily and had 4 points on the trot to level 3-3 to 1-9 with 7 mins remaining. The Ballyhea defence though was standing firm with Liam O’ Shea like a rock at full back and Mark Crowley tackling tenaciously. Up in attack Mark O’ Halloran back from injury was working tirelessly and Alan Mortell getting in a number of timely blocks. Sean Murphy went close with a brilliant first time shot as the respective supporters were living on their nerves. With 5 minutes left on the clock, live wire Eugene O’ Leary made a burst through the O’ Neills defence only to be up ended, but he duly, picked himself up to slot over the resultant free. As Fr. O’ Neills searched for the equaliser, Eugene O’ Leary countered brilliantly again to fire us 2 points clear with 3 minutes remaining. But was their going to be a late dramatic twist as Fr. O’ Neills were awarded a 21 yard free in the dying seconds. Ballyhea were not going to be denied their title though as Mikey Browne and Luke Hanley combined to keep out the free and as the referee sounded the final whistle to spark off great scenes of celebration, even one of ballyhea’s greatest supporters was seen to roll down the embankment with joy. After the game Tony O’ Mahony chairman of the Cork County Juvenile GAA board presented the county cup to Ballyheas outstanding captain Pat O’ Callaghan. Congrats to the players on a marvellous victory and also on a unique achievement having already contested the county u-12 football final this year. A special mention to the subs, Sean Sexton, Adam Curtin, Mikey Mortell, Cathal Rea, Aaron Dundon, Siobhan O’ Kelly and Bethany Cushing who all played their part through out the campaign and their great dedication to training. Well done to Coach Jerome O’ keeffe and his fellow selectors Kieran O’ Regan, Eugene O’ Leary and John Mortell for the work they have done with this bunch of players. After the game the cup was carried to the field via cavalcade through the village and by the school, we would like to thank those who give the lads a great welcome on the route. Thanks to the ladies and parents who provided the refreshments at the hall. Special thanks to our secretary Ger O’ Shea for his kind wishes, thanks also to John Sexton, Dave Garvey, John Roche and Pat O’ Callaghan (snr) for all their assistance and thanks to any one that helped out in any way to make it such a great occasion. Scorers – Pat O’ Callaghan 3-3, Eugene O’ Leary 0-2. Team – Mikey Browne, Jack Harty, Liam O’ Shea, Edina Hanley, Mark Crowley, Luke Hanley, Elaine Crowley, Jonathon Mccarthy, Grainne Hanley, Mark O’ Halloran, Patrick O’Callaghan, Alan Mortell, Sean Murphy, Andrew Curtin, Eugene O’ Leary. Subs – Sean Sexton, Adam Curtin, Mikey Mortell, Aaron Dundon, Cathal Rea, Siobhan O’ Kelly, Bethany Cushing.