Thurles CBS defeated Midleton CBS by 3-15 to 2-15 in the Dean Ryan Cup Under 16.5 A Hurling Final on Wednesday November 8th at Clonmel Sportsfield.
Dean Ryan Cup Under 16.5 A Hurling Final
Thurles CBS 3-15 Midleton CBS 2-15
Report by Ed Donnelly
Thurles CBS produced a dominant performance in the final quarter to come from seven points down to secure a three-point victory over Midleton CBS at Clonmel Sportsfield on Wednesday afternoon.
Following this victory, Thurles CBS now sit alone on top of the Dean Ryan Cup roll of honour with 13 titles, one ahead of old rivals St. Flannan’s and St. Colman’s.
Played in front of a large attendance, conditions were overcast but calm as referee Thomas Walsh of Waterford threw in the ball at 1:30pm. Thurles started the better side and in the opening minute, Devon Ryan and Darren Flood helped to set up Jack Lanigan who made no mistake from close range for an opening goal. Stephen Ferncombe pointed a free in the third minute and Thurles were off to the perfect start with an early four-point advantage.
To their credit, Midleton CBS did not panic and dominated possession for the remainder of the first quarter. Thurles were struggling to get their hands on the ball in this period as Midleton racked up six unanswered points courtesy of Sean Walsh (2 frees), Ryan McCarthy (2 frees) and Chris Broderick (2 from play). Midleton had a goal chance during this period but Kyle Quinn Waites shot was deflected away from danger thanks to a full length dive and save by Thurles CBS goalkeeper Jason O’Dwyer.
Thurles CBS eventually began to break even around the middle of the field and managed to end their barren spell with points from Darren Flood, Stephen Ferncombe (free) and Edmond Connolly to retake the lead after 20 minutes, 1-4 to 0-6.
Despite this brief scoring burst, the reality of the first half was that for significant periods, Midleton CBS were the more balanced team and they duly set about restoring their advantage by outscoring Thurles by 0-4 to 0-1 leading up to half-time. Ryan McCarthy (free), Sean Walsh (free) and points from play by James Mulcahy and Ritchie Landers ensured that Midleton led by 0-10 to 1-5 at the interval. The more revealing stat at half-time was the recording of 10 scores for Midleton compared to just 6 for Thurles. The early Thurles goal masked a lot of deficiencies in their side, in particular up front.
Thurles had won their two games in this year’s competition by an average of 23 points while Midleton were challenged in each of their three games. The more competitive run-in to the final seemed to benefit Midleton in the opening half but how would Thurles respond?
The answer to that question was evident early in the second half as Thurles began to play a more direct style as a steady mist descended upon Clonmel making conditions more difficult. Points by Jack Lanigan (2) and Devon Ryan in the opening five minutes of the second half put Thurles back in front. Thurles had dominated the second half of their Quarter-Final and Semi-Final victories in the lead-up to this Final – would they do the same here?
Midleton CBS had other ideas and less than a minute after Thurles took the lead, a Sean Walsh crossfield ball found Midleton full-forward Kyle Quinn Waites in space and his batted shot from close range found the net to put the Cork school back in front. Thurles were clearly rattled and as the game slowed down, Midleton’s superior size seemed to prove vital time and again as they won almost every ruck ball during a dominant ten-minute spell.
Ryan McCarthy was doing well with long range frees and added three points in a six-minute spell. In the 42nd minute, when a Ciaran Joyce effort dropped short, the ball was grabbed out of the air by Waites and on the turn the Midleton full-forward rattled the back of the Thurles net. The Thurles woes were added to during this period when midfielder Ryan Walsh received a second yellow card to leave Thurles down to 14.
At the game entered the final quarter, Midleton looked in total control and now led by 2-13 to 1-9. With a man advantage, Midleton looked set up not only win the game but possibly inflict a heavy defeat on the Thurles side. The odds of a Thurles victory at this stage looked remote.
Thurles needed a break and that duly arrived in the 46th minute when a long-range effort for a point by Paddy Creedon hit the top of the post. If the ball came back out to the right or indeed straight, Midleton defenders were there in numbers. However, the ball ricocheted to the left where Thurles forward Stephen Ferncombe was unmarked and his ground stroke from close range found the net to give his team a lifeline.
Within two minutes, Thurles would raise another green flag, this time it was an excellent effort by Jack Lanigan and now, the Midleton lead was down to a single point – 2-13 to 3-9. A minute later, Stephen Ferncombe pointed a long range free for Thurles and the sides were level.
After a three-minute spell of hurling were the ball flew from one end of the field to the other, the next score went the way of Thurles as Stephen Ferncombe pointed from play. Devon Ryan scored a point from play soon afterwards before Sean Walsh pointed a free for Midleton in the 54th minute to halt a 2-3 to 0-0 scoring burst for the Thurles side and leave just a single point between the teams, 3-12 to 2-14.
This Midleton score did little to affect the general run of play as the Thurles scoring machine kept motoring. Firstly, Darren Flood (now operating to good effect at midfield) scored a monster point from inside his own half before further points by Devon Ryan and Stephen Ferncombe (free) put Thurles in to a four-point lead in the 57th minute.
To their credit, despite being over-run for most of the final quarter, Midleton CBS summoned up the resolve to seek the scores which would force extra time. A Sean Walsh free in the 59th minute left just a goal between the sides and Midleton had 3 or 4 opportunities for goals in injury time. On a couple of occasions, it seemed easier for Midleton to score a goal than miss but somehow, the Thurles defence stood firm and time after time managed to get in the necessary, hook or block to ensure that by the final whistle, Thurles were three points in front and would be crowned champions.
This was not a classic encounter but one which kept supporters interested all through with both sides having their periods of dominance. Thurles were clearly delighted with not only their victory but the manner of the success, outscoring Midleton by 2-6 to 0-2 (both frees) in the last 15 minutes, all the while playing with a man less. For Midleton, they will wonder how they lost this game but their inability to score a point from play in the second half was a crucial factor. Overall, Thurles CBS outscored Midleton CBS in open play by 3-10 to 2-4 with Devon Ryan, Jack Lanigan, Darren Flood and Stephen Ferncombe accounting for 3-9 of that total. The Midleton starting forwards would score just 2-1 between them over the hour.
Afterwards, Munster GAA Post Primary Schools Servicing Officer John Brennan presented the Dean Ryan Cup to the Thurles CBS joint-captains Darren Flood and Jack Lanigan. Thurles CBS now go forward to the All-Ireland Final in the Under 16.5 A Hurling grade where they await the winners of the game between the Leinster and Connacht champions in a game to be played in early December.
Thurles CBS: Jason O’Dwyer (Clonoulty-Rossmore); AJ Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane), Conor Stapleton (Durlas Óg), Martin Paul O’Dwyer (Boherlahan-Dualla); Edmond Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-1), Kevin Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris), Kieran Costello (Durlas Óg); Eoin Purcell (Durlas Óg), Ryan Walsh (Fethard); Devon Ryan (Knockavilla Kickhams, 0-4), Jack Lanigan (Durlas Óg, 2-2), Chris Munroe (Thurles Gaels); Paddy Creedon (Durlas Óg), Darren Flood (Moycarkey-Borris, 0-2), Stephen Ferncombe (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 1-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65).
Subs: Jack Leamy (Golden-Kilfeacle) for Eoin Purcell (48m), Jack Lillis (Drom & Inch) for Paddy Creedon (58m)
Midleton CBS: Alex Quirke (Midleton); Leo Hennessy (Midleton), Ritchie Landers (Killeagh, 0-1), Éanna Motherway (St. Colmans); Jack Fitzgerald (Midleton), Ryan McCarthy (Killeagh, 0-6, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Noel Cahill (St. Colmans); Sam Quirke (Midleton), Olan Broderick (Killeagh, 0-2); James Mulcahy (Carrigtwohill, 0-1), Cathal Hickey (Lisgoold), Ciarán Joyce (Kiltha Óg); Eoghan Martin (Kiltha Óg), Kyle Quinn-Waites (Kiltha Óg, 2-0), Seán Walsh (Carrigtwohill, 0-5, 0-5 frees).
Subs: Jake Shine (Fr. O’Neill’s) for Eoghan Martin (49m)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)
Thurles CBS sit on top of the Dean Ryan Cup roll of honour with 12 titles, their last success in 2010. Midleton CBS have won 7 Dean Ryan Cup Finals, their most recent successes coming in 2014 and 2015.
Midleton have had the tougher route to the final, securing a narrow win over Our Lady’s Templemore in Round 1 before having 10 points to spare in the Quarter-Final versus Ardscoil Ris Limerick. In the semi-final, Midleton CBS showed all their skills and determination by securing a narrow one point victory in a cracking game with St. Flannans. Midleton led early on but trailed by three points early in the second half. Midleton went in front again only for Flannans to draw level in the closing stages before a Kyle Quinn Waites point in the 58th minute ensured victory for the Cork based school.
Thurles CBS had a bye in Round 1 before playing St. Colman’s Fermoy in the Quarter-Final. Despite trailing after the first quarter, Thurles led at the interval by 7 points before going on to win by 21 points. In the semi-final versus John The Baptist CS Hospital, the sides were level after 15 minutes before a fortuitous goal helped Thurles to an 8 point half-time lead. The Tipperary based school ran in four second half goals to run out 25 point winners.
Paths to the Final
Scoring For – 7-53 Scoring Against 4-46
Semi-Final – Midleton CBS 2-17 St. Flannans College Ennis 2-16 – Match Report
Quarter-Final – Midleton CBS 1-22 Árdscoil Rís Limerick 0-15 – Match Report
Round 1 – Midleton CBS 4-14 Our Ladys Templemore 2-15 – Match Report
Scoring For – 8-47 Scoring Against 3-16