Under13 Hurling v Clanna Gael/Fontenoy

ROBBERY IN RINGSEND PARK

Clanna Gael/Fontenoy 0-4

Erin Go Bragh 1-2

The U13's boys were involved in what can only be described as a "well planned robbery" when they played Clanna Gael Fontenoy in their Division 4 Hurling league clash.Clanna Gael had 2 wins from 2 outings and a +15 score difference, so the Erin Go Bragh lads knew they needed to play it very tight. With only the minimum 13 players available to them EGB had a tough game ahead.James Padden and Sean Vickers were once again deployed in midfield and had the task of working up and down the pitch to support both forwards and backs. Lee Byrne was asked to drop from half forward and support the half back line of Oran O'Hara, Glen Campion and Joe Humphreys. Matthew Madigan and Cian Ford were the last line of defense in front of goalkeeper Matthew Nitoi. That left the 4 forwards, Darren Daly, Conor Pownall, Eric Doherty and Luke McEvoy to cover half the pitch to pick off any scores they could.

And so a battle began with blocks and hooks going in from both teams but most importantly, from Erin Go Braghs perspective, no time given to the Clanna Gaels forward line to settle for shots. Any shots they managed were under serious pressure from Byrne, O'Hara, Campion, Humphreys, Ford and Madigan. Nitoi was picking out Daly, Padden, Vickers and Pownall with his puck outs and they worked the sliotar well to Doherty and McEvoy who were unlucky not to score in the early part of the game. Erin Go Bragh were putting pressure on Clanna Gael which was a credit to the players who remained very disciplined throughout. It was Erin Go Bragh who opened the scoring mid way through the first half with a well taken long range point from Padden. As the half wore on Clanna Gael began to pin Erin Go Bragh back and eventually levelled the score from a 20 meter free. They could have had a goal if it wasn't for some fine defending from Ford, Madigan and Humphreys and a good save from Nitoi. Erin Go Bragh were down to 12 for a short time when Vickers, who was in the thick of the action, limped off, with a bloody knee after getting a wallop. He was patched up as quickly as possible and went back to the battle. McEvoy was unlucky not to get a goal for EGB when he shot narrowly wide, under pressure from 2 Clanna Gaels backs, after a great ball in by Daly. The half time whistle sounded and EGB had held Clanna Gael Fontenoy to a single point in the first half. Brilliant first half defensive display from EGB.

With just 30 minutes left to play and the lads believed if they could keep it tight they might just sneak it. Clanna Gael started the second half at a higher tempo but again Byrne, O'Hara, Campion, Humphreys, Ford and Madigan were on hand blocking and hooking. No space was given and no easy shots allowed. As the second half wore on, and with no subs to use the EGB lads began to run out of steam, Clanna Gael began to find a little bit of space and picked off 3 unanswered points. The post came to EGB's rescue and Nitoi cleared a great ball down the field to Daly who carried the ball out and played a good ball into McEvoy and Doherty, with Doherty shooting narrowly wide. Pownall won the puck out and played a good ball to Padden who pulled up with an injured foot. The referee stopped the game to allow treatment for Padden and the EGB backline took a much needed breather. With no subs Padden opted to go in goal for the final 10 minutes and Nitoi moved to midfield. EGB Coaches, O'Hara and Campion, were discussing a smash and grab plan on the sideline and one by one players were called across to give them new instructions. With just 5 minutes remaining and EGB 3 points down Pownall was moved to full forward with McEvoy moving out to midfield. The rest of the changes will remain a secret. The moves paid off when another Clanna Gael attack was broken down. This time by O'Hara, who played it to Humphreys and Humphreys cleared the lines to Nitoi who fired a long range ball over the head of Pownall. The keeper gathered the sliotar but was immediately under pressure from Pownall who blocked the attempted clearance. Pownall picked up the breaking ball, took a few steps and buried it to the back of the net to level the game with less than 2 minutes left. The sliotar was worked down field by Clanna Gael only for the attack to be broken down again by the EGB backs. The ball was cleared to Vickers who worked it onto Campion. Campion worked himself some space and drove the sliotar over the bar from 50 mtrs out with just 30 seconds left. Clanna Gael worked the sliotar quickly down field but again the EGB backs stood up with Madigan, Byrne and McEvoy combining to clear their lines just as the final whistle sounded. Brilliant battling and disciplined display from the lads who stuck to their tasks throughout. They knew going into the game that Clanna Gael Fontenoy had scored 30 points in their first 2 league games and they needed to work hard and remain very tight in their own half to have a chance of beating them.

-Niall O’Hara

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