Bunclody's brilliant year at under-age continues
A brace of goals from corner-forward Mylie Connors drove HWH-Bunclody to the New Ross Standard Coiste na nOg Under-14 hurling Division 3 championship title against Blackwater in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
HWH-Bunclody 2-10 Blackwater 2-7
The talented attacker pounced for two vital goals and he could hardly have timed them any better, especially the second which came eleven minutes into the second-half at a stage when Blackwater were threatening to get back on level terms.
It was bitterly disappointing result for the runners-up who gave so much to an excellent game of hurling. Very little separated the sides and maybe on another afternoon the cards would have fallen the way of the Blackwater boys.
That said, Bunclody were worthy winners. They shared their scores around impressively, with six players getting their names on the scoresheet which is an achievement at Under-14 level in a close, tense game.
Half Way House started on the front foot with points from Lee Levingstone and Oisín Kelly on the board in the first ten minutes. Blackwater responded superbly and good play from Ross Berry allowed Tomás Murphy to sneak in on the right to net from a tight angle.
The goal didn't dent the Bunclody momentum as they responded with points from Kelly and Jerry Connors to lead by 0-4 to 1-0. However, better was just around the corner and it came with Mylie Connors hitting the net after being picked out by Kelly's long pass.
Ciarán Regan made it 1-5 to 1-0 before Patrick O'Connor and Mylie Connors traded points as the half moved into the final minute. Yet, Blackwater must have been confident when O'Connor nailed a pair of late frees to leave just a goal between the sides (1-6 to 1-3).
That gap was closed further when O'Connor and Tomás Murphy registered within three minutes of the re-start. However, Mylie Connors fought off the attentions of the last defender to net eleven minutes into the second-half to settle growing Bunclody nerves.
A trio of minors from Regan and a Ben Martin point left Bunclody six ahead going into added time, meaning when Patrick O'Connor drilled a low free past a crowded goal-line there wasn't enough left to force a dramatic draw.
HWH-Bunclody: Mylie Connors; Alan Carton, Páuric Nolan, Paddy Connors; Cathal Dunbar, James Black, Eoin McDonnell; Ciarán Kavanagh, Lee Levingstone (capt., 0-1 '65); Mick 'Red' Connors, Gerry Connors (0-1), Stewart Power; Oisín Kelly (0-2), Jerry Connors, Mylie Connors (2-1). Subs. - Ciarán Regan (0-4 frees) for Power (13), Ben Martin (0-1) for M. Connors (39), also Derry Mahon, Larry Connors, Mick Connors, Mick Connors, Thomas Farrell, Thomas Fitzgerald.
Blackwater: Adam Cullen; James Cullen, Adam Murphy, Ben Cullen; Don Redmond, Féidhlim Roche (capt.), Bryan Mooney; John O'Toole, Jonathon Blake; Ross Berry, Patrick O'Connor (1-6 frees), Josh Culleton; Oliver Murphy, Tomás Murphy (1-1), Brian Og Cullen. Subs. - Seamus Walsh for J. Cullen (42), also Jason Wallace, Conor Byrne, Kealan Fikentcher, Shean Corrigan, Fiachra O'Reilly, Alan Malanowski.
Referee: Pádraig Byrne (Ballyfad).