Maigh Cuilinn survive test of character to win Connacht Glory

Post date: Nov 14, 2011 10:20:00 PM

Moycullen 3-14........Four Roads 0-16

Maigh Cuilinn entered their first adult Connacht Hurling final in the unfamiliar position of favourites despite the strong performances their Roscommon opponents had delivered against previous Galway champions. It looked as if Four Roads were going to rise to the occasion when Brian Donnelly and Enda Rogerson hit points straight from the off. Four Roads looked far sharper and it took a Philip Lydon point to steady Maigh Cuilinn nerves. When minutes later, Christopher Hurney latched onto a ball, sold a dummy and crashed the ball past a helpless goalkeeper, Moycullen looked to have justified the bookies faith more so as Niall Mannion added a point. Four Roads responded however with points from Paddy Kelly and a Shane Curley free. Moycullen then had ther most impressive spell of the game with three booming points from Pat Lydon and two frees from Eanna Noone, one a 20m free from an acute angle. It looked like Maigh Cuilinn would end the game as a contest for a brief period but several wides from scoreable positions meant the lead never extended to more than six points. A storming point from centre back Michael Kelly started a Four Roads revival and a Shane Curley free cut the deficit again. A Chris Hurney point restored a five point lead but another impressive strike from Conor Coyle from under the stand and a further Share Curley free meant that the goal was alll that separated the teams. Pat Lydon's fourth strike of the half left the score at halftime by 1-9 to 0-8, with both sides playing some lovely hurling but the momentum slightly in Four Roads favour.

Four Roads added to that momentum as they came out meant for business, and for their reward, they scored the opening 3 points on the resumption through John Moran Paddy Kelly and another Curley free. Moycullen had had chances but the attack was misfiring badly. Eanna Noone steadied the ship for Moycullen with a pointed effort to leave the scores reading Moycullen 1-10 to Four Roads 0-11. The next 4 points belonged to the Roscommon lads, as the impressive Shane Curley scored three of them from played balls with Brian Donnelly adding his second. That left Four Roads in the lead by two points (0-15 to 1-10), and things appeared to be slipping away from Moycullen. But in the last 15 minutes they out-scored their opponents by 2-4 to 0-1 to bring another Cup back west.

Eanna Noone started the comeback with a pointed free, and that was followed by a point from play from Thomas Higgins, after David Dowd had saved from Chris Hurney. The major turning point came next when Christopher Hurney bagged his second goal of the day. In a repeat of the Galway Senior final, Four Roads goalkeeper brought down a Niall Mannion's high ball that seemed almost over the bar, it fell for the forward and he made no mistake and sent it to the back of the net. Dowd seemed to suggest he blocked the ball from behind the crossbar and the ball was actually over the bar initially, but the goal stood and that shot Moycullen into a three point lead on 2-12 to 0-15. That goal rattled Four Roads, although with 10 minutes left to play they had still time to get back into the tie again.

Philip Lydon stretched the lead once more with a well taken point from play, although Shane Curley pegged one back for the Roscommon champions to keep the margin at 3. But time was running out and the Moycullen backs were holding firm. On the 29th minute Eanna Noone scored another point from a placed ball, and the icing on the cake came a minute into injury time, when Christopher Hurney bagged his hatrick to seal the win, after good work by both Philip Lydon and Conor Bohan.

Goals win matches, and never as true as in this Moycullen win.

Moycullen: Michael Darcy, Sean Rossa McDermott, Matt Donohue, Barry Faherty, Tomás Higgins, Mark Lydon, Seosamh O'Faharta, Eanna Noone, Pat Lydon, Dan Kelly, Vinnie Faherty, Niall Mannion, Conor Bohan, Philip Lydon, Chris Hurney. Subs: Morgan Darcy for Niall Mannion 59 mins

Eric Fox, Henry Lydon, Seamus Conneely, Michael Hurney, Gary Bohan, David Faherty, Paul Burke, Eanna Malone, David Bohan, John Faherty, Caoimh Davoren, Colm, Power, Robert Molloy