Our under 12 hurlers were back in action last weekend after a week off due to the bad weather.
Our teams were split over two venues with one team in St. Patricks Ballymena while the other one headed up the M2 to St. Malachys school in Belfast. Both teams had very successful days and the details of each match are below.
Sean Stinsons 1 (St. Malachys Belfast):- Gary Murray, Martin Blaney, Peter McCormack, Aiden McAleese, John Davey, Ben Friel, Shane McCann
Game 1 v McQuillans Ballycastle, 1-1 draw
A solid start to the day with a steady performance by all. Peter put us in front with an early goal and we almost held on but for a deflected McQuillans goal near the end of time.
Game 2 v Robert Emmets Slaughtneil, 1-0 lose
A real hard hitting match with one of our firm rivals over the years were we were unlucky not to get anything out of the game. Great defending and goal keeping by Peter, Gary and Martin while Aiden and Ben kept the Slaughtneil defence occupied.
Game 3 v Dungannon, 6-1 win
Whatever Peter had in his sandwich before this match we need to get some for everyone for the next day. A virtuoso performance in forwards saw him score 5 goals in the 7 minute match. The team really clicked in this game and the boys had Dungannon on the ropes from the first minute. Aiden chipped in with a great goal and Shane, John and Martin continued to feed our hungry forwards the whole match. Things were hotting up now!
Game 4 v St. Endas, 1-0 win
This was an extremely close game with both sides having chances but for excellent goalkeeping the scores were kept to a minimum. Gary, John and Aiden were busy in defence and Ben and Peter were living on scraps from midfield onwards. But with 2 minutes remaining, Peter played a lovely ball to Ben on the wing that was equalled with a great left-handed shot into the corner of the net. Valiant defending for the remaining seconds saw Stinsons hold on for another win.
Game 5 v Pearses, 4-1 win
In the final match of the day, the boys knew a victory would see them near the top of the table for this section. So with no messing about Gary, now playing up front, took the ball on the half way line and rifled it to the back of the net and set the tone for the match. Pearses fought back strongly and put it up to the boys for a few minutes managing to level the game. John Davey in goals made some great stops and clearances to defence with Martin and Aiden finishing the job off. Peter, not wanting to be outdone by Gary, kicked in to gear again and hit the net twice in quick succession. Pearses fought back again but substitute keeper Ben, who must have had some of Peters sandwich, managed to pull off a great save and also kept a penalty out. After this, Pearses heads dropped and allowed our guys to finish strong. Aiden sneaked in for another goal and the game was over.
And that was it. Three wins, a draw and one defeat saw the boys finish in second place behind Slaughtneil, who won all five of their matches. But there was to be a sting in the tail! A couple of the boys in this team are unfortunate in having birthdays just before the U12 cut-off date and that meant that it would be unfair for them to take their place in the final. So they did the noble thing, owned up and allowed Ballycastle to progress to the section final instead with Slaughtneil.
Although the boys were disappointed in not making the final, they were delighted with how the day went and a trip to the shop on the way home saw them all happy! We can all be very proud of their performance on the day especially with their mature and honest attitude to the age restrictions. Well done lads.
Sean Stinson's 2 (St. Pats Ballymena):- Patrick Dougan, Sean O'Neill, Colla McDonnell, Conor McGarry, Michael Mooney, Shea Neeson, Conal Walls and Harry O'Donnell.
Game 1 v Dungannon, 3-2 win:-
Good all round team effort with some good defensive play by Harry and Conor in goals. They moved the ball about well to players in better goal scoring positions which resulted in 3 great goals. The 1st coming from Patrick Dougan, the 2nd from Sean O'Neill and the final one coming again from Patrick.
Game 2 v Ballymena, 1-1 draw:-
The team struggled to get a hold of this game and had plenty of opportunity to win it but failed to make the most of their chances. But for good defending and a great goal by Shea Neeson they were able to come away with a share of the points.
Game 3 v St. Galls, 2-1 win:-
This was a great spirited and lively game with non-stop action from start to finish. It produced some great tackling and blocking by Michael Mooney and Sean O'Neill who were not going to be pushed over easily. Even though they went one goal down in the early stages, the Stinson's fought back with 2 great goals by Colla McDonnell and Patrick Dougan.
Game 4 v Dunloy, 0-3 Lose:-
This was a tried Stinsons team who battled hard against a strong Dunloy side that punished every mistake that was made. There was still some good periods of play with Conal Walls trying hard along with a determined Patrick Dougan.
Even with the final defeat by Dunloy the lads had done enough on the day to finish 2nd overall and booked a place in the section final against Dunloy in the Seven Towers leisure centre in a few weeks time. Well done lads!
So overall, a hugely successful day for our under 12 hurlers. Well done to all the players and thanks to the extra drivers who helped get the boys to and from their venues. Details of the final will be on the website once we have them, so come along and support them when the time comes.
Our under 10s are next up and play in their indoor competition over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for the match reports here.