Edenderry BNS will Cuman na mBunscoil Final

November 8, 2018

Report by Mr Sean Fitzgerald

Edenderry BNS Hurlers take Primary Schools title in Thriller.

Edenderry BNS…………………….1-6

The young hurlers of Edenderry BNS claimed their first hurling title in ten years in a nailbiting thriller against last years champions Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber at sun drenched O’Connor Park on Thurs last.

The Offaly Cumann na mBunscol regulation that a goal has a value of 2 points -to encourage higher skill levels – gave the Edenderry lads a one point advantage at the end. Many spectators, unaware of the regulation, thought the match had ended in a draw— but were quickly left in no doubt by the unbridled joy and celebration of the ecstatic Edenderry boys.

The match itself was of the highest intensity and commitment from the players on both teams. Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber started as if they were going to demolish all before them. They scored two points in the first two minutes— almost before an Edenderry player touched a ball. The situation got even darker within another two minutes when Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber cracked home a goal. Edenderry had further goal mouth scares as they found it hard to get into the match and the fear was that the big stage and County final nerves was going to undo them.

The Edenderry boys stemmed the tide. They gradually contained the blitz and began to make inroads on the opposition against a stiff breeze. The first sign that Edenderry were not going to be blown away came when Lee Hyland struck a long ball into the opposition goalmouth and in the melee that followed Conor Farrell and Donie Groome between them worked the ball to the net. It was just the boost the Edenderry boys needed. They grew in confidence and took control of the game. Lee Hyland dropped over a point from a free and Shane Cummins landed the equalizer just before half time. It was scant rewards for a brilliant period of Edenderry dominance which was frustrated by a series of wides that, if even half of them had been scores, the lads in red would have been well on their way to victory.

However they had to face the second half with lots still to do. A bright start to the second half gave the promise that perhaps Edenderry were going to win the day. The dominance failed to yield a single score though and then they were punished in the most emphatic way.

In a period of not more than 2 minutes of Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber dominance they whipped over an excellent point and then showed the Edenderry lads how to take scores with a goal from a long range free that went through the crowd of raised hurleys to the back of the net.

The writing seemed to be on the wall for the boys in Red in a very worrying way. However it was then that they showed the qualities that makes champions. An inspired switch of the ever brilliant Peter McNamara to the half forward line and Donie Groome back to the half back line changed the entire game. Donie played outstandingly in his new position and Peter inspired those around him with his industry and commitment. Aaron Holt started the Edenderry recovery with two brilliantly struck points despite the close marking. Edenderry were held at bay by a magnificent display of hooking and blocking and tigerish tackling by the Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber boys. It took every ounce of energy and determination from the Edenderry students to keep battering away and the courage and heart paid off eventually. An inspirational point from Peter McNamara leveled the match and then as the supporters of both sides could scarcely contain themselves in the excitement Shane Cummins scored a beauty of point from a tight angle on the left. It put the Edenderry boys in front for the first time but try though they might they couldn’t put themselves out of sight. The final five minutes were played out in a welter of excitement and magnificent commitment that did both teams credit but somehow remained scoreless. The referees whistle was greeted by wild jubilation by the Edenderry players and supporters.

There were man of the match performances from members of both teams and all over the field. Kalem Connell saved the day with countless saves in heart stopping goalmouth scrambles. Andrew Moloney and Adam Whelan were rock solid in the full back line all through and needed to be at their brilliant best many times to contain the excellence of the Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber boys. Oisin O’Grady gave a delightful display at half back while Lee Hyland gave an absolute exhibition of ball control and long relieving clearances from the half back line. At times he appeared to be everywhere in the defence.

Peter McNamara was in inspiring form. He almost single handedly stemmed the Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber onslaught and then led the way in driving Edenderry on to go on the attack. His second half contribution when he was needed most will long be remembered. The brilliance of the youthful Shane Cummins and Conor Groome in the face of powerful committed opposition also helped to stem the tide and turn it Edenderry’s way. Aaron Holt, Cian Farrell and, discovery of the year, Jack Foran in the half forward line meant that the opposition had to be on their sharpest to contain them. However the Edenderry lads stuck to their task and gradually wore down the teak tough defenders to create openings for crucial scores. Conor Farrell was a constant threat to the opposition full back line and created several openings while Donie Groome gave a heroic display in a variety of positions and most especially when moved to the defence in the second half.

Cumann na mBunscol representative Jonathan Dunne heaped praise on both teams for a magnificent match. He said the tension and the skills were of the highest order while one of the features of the match was the blocking, tackling and hooking. If the game were to be decided on this skill alone the Edenderry lads would readily concede that the Boher/Pullough/Ballycumber team gave an exhibition. Mr Dunne presented the winners trophy to Edenderry captain Andrew Moloney to scenes of hurling joy not seen by Edenderry supporters for many a day.

Edenderry team:-Kalem Connell, Adam Whelan, Andrew Moloney (Captain), Oisín O’Grady, Peter McNamara, Lee Hyland, Shane Cummins, Conor Groome, Aaron Holt, Cian Farrell, Jack Foran, Donie Groome, Conor Farrell. Matthew Beatty, Patrick Rickard, Jack Kelly, Eoin O’Reilly, Conor McCarthy, Andrew Murray, Ryan O’Neill, Daniel Lowry, Ciarán Nolan, Anthony Cullen, Gary Gorman, Martin Keogh, Adam McCraith, Alan Harte, Jordan Glynn, Ben Lynch, Conor Dempsey, Brian Nolan, Craig Farrell, Ciaran Breen,

Boher/Pullogh/ Ballycumber:- Conor Owens (Captain), Darren Buckley, Luke Gavin-Mangan, Nathan Poland, Stephen Buckley, Kyle Molloy, Jack Quinn, Tom Corcoran, Conor Lynam, Kevin Kelly, Jennifer Lynam, Joseph Daly-Lowry, Natasha Lynam. Diarmuid Guinan, Kyle Cornally, John Corcoran, Anthony Moloney, Avril Spain, Tristan Buckley, Lorcan Buckley, Kevin Kelly, Griffin Dunican.

Footnote:- The excellent presentation of the match in terms of venue, a piper led pre match parade, a match programme and after match presentation as well as an excellent referee was a credit to Cumann na mBunscol officials and an example of how best to treat the young Offaly players of the future.