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Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship Final

posted 1 Aug 2010, 17:53 by Jonathan Tavey   [ updated 5 Feb 2012, 04:48 ]
By Colm Shalvey

Inniskeen 0-17 Castleblayney 2-10

Inniskeen won the SHC for the first time by edging past defending champions Castleblayney in a thrilling final in Aughnamullen on Sunday. Blayney were chasing their seventh successive title and their 11th in 12 years, but Inniskeen were the hungrier team on the day and they deservedly came back to make history. A Mickey McHugh goal had Blayney ahead after an evenly-matched first half, but Inniskeen gave an excellent second-half performance, during which they hit 10 scores while conceding just four, including a late goal by McHugh. Inniskeen’s dominant half-back line was central to their victory, with captain Séamus Loftus and Philip Brooks particularly impressive, as they kept Blayney’s half-forwards scoreless. Trevor Hilliard gave a Man-of-the-Match display from midfield, while Ronan Meegan, Michael Lennon and Barry McArdle also played key roles. McHugh, Deaglán Crowe, Paul Murphy and goalkeeper Hugh Byrne led Blayney’s challenge.

Inniskeen almost had a goal within a minute of the throw-in when Paul Meegan picked out Ronan Meegan, but his shot was blocked by Hugh Byrne. Stephen Lambe opened the scoring for Blayney, but Ronan Meegan equalised from a 40-metre free, after a foul on Michael Lennon. Trevor Hilliard hit a fine point from distance, after being well-placed by Kevin Boylan, who added a point, following a pass from Gavin Dooley. A well-taken point by Michael Lennon, after a one-two with Boylan, made it four-in-a-row for Inniskeen, but a good point by Paddy Collins settled Blayney and less than a minute later, they took the lead when a long ball from Deaglán Crowe carried through to Mickey McHugh, who kicked the sliotar to the net. Ronan Meegan replied from a 20-metre free after he had been fouled, but Barry Reilly fired over at the end of a strong run and Crowe got on the end of a huge puck-out from Byrne to double Blayney’s advantage. Séamus Loftus hit a free from the half-way line for Inniskeen, after a high tackle on Hilliard and Ronan Meegan tapped over a 20-metre free, after Byrne had been penalised for over-carrying, to level it up, but Blayney scored the last three points of the half. Crowe linked up with Stephen Lambe to hit a good score and McHugh converted a 25-metre free for a foul on Reilly. Gary Boyd was off-target from a goal chance, but a well-struck 80-metre free by McHugh, after a foul on Crowe, had Blayney ahead by 1-7 to 0-7 at half-time.

Lennon pointed a brace of 20-metre frees, both after fouls on Ronan Meegan, to get Inniskeen up and running in the second half, but McHugh replied from a 30-metre free, following a foul on David Connolly. A well-worked Blayney move involving Paul Murphy, Jimmy Lacey and substitute Fergal Rafter created a goal chance for Stephen Lambe, who blazed over the bar, before Martin Murphy took a pass from Philip Brooks and sent over a nicely-taken point. Ronan Meegan made no mistake from a couple of 20-metre frees, after fouls on himself and Boylan, to bring Inniskeen level and at this stage they clearly had all the momentum. Boylan was denied a goal by a fine save from Byrne, but Lennon set up Ronan Meegan for his first point from play to edge them ahead for the first time since the early stages. Loftus fired over an inspirational point from inside his own 65-metre line and although McHugh responded from a 40-metre free for a foul on Crowe, TJ Byrne restored Inniskeen’s two-point lead. Loftus split the posts from two excellent frees from well inside his own half to open up a four-point gap. Like true champions, Blayney refused to give up and they won a penalty when sub Rory Woods was dragged down after catching a sideline cut from Connolly. McHugh drove the penalty to the net to force a nervy finish for Inniskeen, but they held on to become the first new name on the Mick Quigley Cup since Clontibret back in 1966.

Inniskeen: Gerard Ruddy; Paddy Dooley, Pauric Dowdall, Barry McArdle; Philip Brooks, Séamus Loftus (Capt., 0-4, 3f), PJ Boyle; Trevor Hilliard (0-1), Gavin Dooley; Michael Lennon (0-3, 2f), Kevin Boylan (0-1), TJ Byrne (0-1); Paul Meegan, Martin Murphy (0-1), Ronan Meegan (0-6, 5f).

Sub: David McGahon for TJ Byrne (H-T), TJ Byrne for Paddy Dooley (36).

Castleblayney: H Byrne; M Treanor, P Murphy (Capt.), P Collins (0-1); P Treanor, J McHugh, J Lacey; D Crowe (0-2), A Lambe; D Connolly, G Boyd, B McGuigan; B Reilly (0-1), M McHugh (2-4, 0-4f, 1-0 pen), S Lambe (0-2).

Subs: R Woods for A Lambe, F Rafter for Boyd (36), B Connor for Collins (51), W Funcheon for Lacey (52).

Referee: N Mullaney (Clontibret).