The perfect year!
Harriers crown dream U14 campaign
Faythe Harriers backed up their national Féile crown with a stunning victory over Rathnure to take the New Ross Standard Under-14 hurling Division 1 championship title in Taghmon on Saturday.
Faythe Harriers 5-12 Rathnure 2-6
It was a fantastic end to the most memorable of years for the Páirc Charman club as they became the best Under-14 team in the country. But the county title is still a precious reward for a massively talented group of lads and they played like they wanted it badly.
The Harriers played into the breeze in the opening period but their performance was so strong, their disadvantage was hardly noticeable.
Josh Sheil was destined to put in a fantastic 50 minutes and he started it with an early free.
To show his side were prepared to fight for the title, Rathnure talisman A.J. Redmond, who excelled despite the scoreline, popped over an equalising point and then quickly added another from a '65 to give the Blackstairs boys their only lead.
They held that advantage until James Owens awarded the Harriers a free in the tenth minute and Sheil converted. The tentative opening was replaced with some breathtaking hurling and classy goals as the half wore on.
A long delivery was finished to the net by Jason Gordon as the first quarter drew to a close. Josh Sheil then pulled to the net from close range after a ball from the wing landed perfectly for the talented attacker (2-2 to 0-2).
A bit of a battle in front of the Harriers goal ended with Eamon Wickham forcing the ball over the goal-line. However, less than 60 seconds later Sheil added his second goal to re-establish his side's two-goal lead.
Sheil's third point of the opening half made it 3-3 to 1-2 but there was even more trouble for Rathnure to come. This time it was Daniel Browne adding the finishing touches to another fantastic Faythe Harriers goal-scoring move.
A.J. Redmond brought his first-half tally to three with a nice point late in the period, but there was still time for Jason Gordon to add a pair of minors to give the Wexford town club a 4-5 to 1-3 interval advantage.
Any hopes of a dramatic turnaround were ended within minutes of the re-start when Richie Lawlor sent a stunning line ball all the way to the Rathnure net. Regardless of the disappointment, it didn't mean dropped heads for their opponents.
Five minutes after the break Redmond got the goal his performance deserved when his long-range free dipped in under the crossbar.
The talented forward exchanged placed balls with Sheil to leave eleven between the sides with 18 minutes remaining.
Then the Harriers went on a run of points. Jason Gordon was on target twice, Lawlor added another score and Paul Deeny made his mark with a nice point which gave his side a 5-10 to 2-4 lead.
Redmond popped over a couple of frees but a booming Lawlor effort and a score from substitute Emmet Gahan rounded out a fantastic afternoon for a team that hasn't been beaten all season.
Faythe Harriers: Josh Walsh; Seán Byrne, Cillian Boggan, Mark Henebery; Ben Hayes, Kyle Scallan, Alex Boggan; Liam Cassin, Richie Lawlor (1-2, 1-0 line ball); Cian Carty, Paul Deeny (0-1), Daniel Browne (1-0); Eoin Hartigan, Josh Sheil (capt., 2-4, 0-4 frees), Jason Gordon (1-4). Subs. - Andy Murphy for Hartigan, Oliver McMahon for Gordon, Calum Corcoran for Byrne, Emmet Gahan (0-1) for Browne, Darragh Grant for Carty, also Kyle Turner, Shaun Byrne, Edan McElory, Eoin Kavanagh, Patrick Duignan, Jack Connolly, Billy Hillis, Jason Kiely.
Rathnure: Mattie Butler; Conor Somers, Ciarán Doyle-Maher, Jamie Lennon; Michael Somers, Owen Lennon, Brian O'Neill; Seán Moran, Charlie Tector (capt.); Eoin Farrell, A.J. Redmond (1-6, 1-3 frees, 0-1 '65), Harry Codd; Eamon Wickham (1-0), Jack Redmond, Conor Murphy. Subs. - David Cooney-Browne for Murphy, Donal Wickham for Farrell, Farrell for J. Lennon, inj., also, Philip Roche.
Referee: James Owens (Askamore).