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Connacht senior B hurling final

posted 12 Feb 2012, 04:14 by Rod Gorman   [ updated 12 Feb 2012, 04:14 by Tommy Larkins ]



By Michael O Connor.

It's a busy month for Mercy College, Woodford and for a number of its leading lights as they are attacking Connacht and all Ireland honours on two fronts. First up was Ballinasloe on Saturday and the Connacht Senior B hurling final against Garbally College. Early next month Woodford will pair up with St Raphaels for the Connacht senior A hurling final. Ironically Woodford overcame Raphaels in the B semi final recently to reach this final. It was most certainly the game of two halves with Woodford looking certain champions after 40 minutes only to hang on for dear lives as Garbally post match would regret missing gilt edged goal chances in the opening minutes before Woodford took over proceedings.

13 Tommie Larkins clubmen were on the starting line up and they were quickly into their stride as Woodford's Kevin McHugo opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. Garbally had two great goal chances in the first ten minutes but lacked the confidence to finish and Woodford were let off the hook. Alan Loughnane from Cappatagle opened Garbally's account with a tremendous score in the 5th minute before Woodford took over proceedings threatening to totally overrun the famed Ballinasloe school. The only saving grace for the following 15 minutes from a Garbally perspective was that Woodford were happy to tag on points and not go all the way for goals. Leading the way was Galway minor Jason Flynn who was involved in nearly all scores if not in execution but also in their creation. He pointed in the 6th minute quickly followed by full forward Stephen Keon and Flynn once again a minute later to open up a quick three point lead. The Garbally puck out was being won with ease by Woodford. Flynn, McHugo, Peter English added to their sides tally by the 15th minute as the South Galway school led (0-7) to (0-1) at the end of the first quarter. Kiltormers Mark Cormican and impressive Garbally full forward Paul Claffey with a 65 gave hope to the town school with a score each by the 19th minute. Garbally required a goal and despite holding their own for the next seven minutes they could not manage one further point.

Woodford rallied in the last five minutes with a hat trick of frees from Jason Flynn allied to a brace of points from play by Andrew Moran and Stephen Keon to hold a commanding (0-12) to (0-3) half time advantage that appeared too much for Garbally to surmount. The second half started once again in a positive style for Woodford as Christopher Headd scored his sides 13th point. Paul Claffey and Jason Flynn swopped scores in the 33rd minute as it appeared that Garbally were making no inroads to the Woodford lead.

This all changed as Jason Flynn who suffered a knock was rerouted to full forward and Garbally collectively began to improve led by Paul Claffey, Mark Cormican, Alan Loughnane and Jack Curley. Claffey (3frees) and a well taken goal by Gavin Downey after being set up by Claffey was matched by a solitary Jason Flynn free in the 46th minute. Indeed Woodford managed only one score in the final 25 minutes of the game. Three points was now the difference (0-15) to (1-9 entering the final ten minutes as Woodford hit seven second half wides with four coming in the last eight minutes. Paul Claffey pointed two frees in the 52nd an 59th minute but a late improvement by Woodford kept Garbally from hitting the equaliser and thus the title was winging its way to the border school in the most dramatic fashion.

The winners were served well by Cian Noonan, Conor Nevin, Peter English in the first half, Andrew Moran throughout, Kevin McHugo, Stephen Keon and Jason Flynn. Best for Garbally were Sean Connaughton, Jack Curley, Danny Byrne, Mark Cormican, Alan Loughnane, Declan Dillon and Paul Claffey.

MERCY COLLEGE WOODFORD (All Tommie Larkins unless stated): Cathal Touhy, Aaron Conway, Chris Moloney, Cian Noonan, Cathal Kelly, Conor Nevin, Colin McCormack, Peter English (0-1), Andrew Moran (0-1), Kevin McHugo (0-2), Jason Flynn (0-8), Ciaran Cunningham (Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry, Chris Headd (0-1) (Killmor), Stephen Keon (0-2), Aidan McHugh.  Subs: Ross McMahon for A McHugh

GARBALLY COLLEGE: Eoin Hardiman (Ballinasloe), Sean Connaughton (Ballinasloe), David Shaughnessy (Ballinasloe), Eoin Stack (Ballinasloe), Danny Byrne (Ballinasloe), Shane Naughton (Pearses, Roscommon), Jack Curley (Kiltormer), Gavin Downey (1-0) (Pearses, Roscommon), Mark Cormican (0-1) (Kiltormer), Paul Dolan (Pearses Roscommon), Declan Dillon (0-1) (Ballinasloe), Alan Loughnane (0-1)(Cappatagle), Jason Mannion (Pearses, Roscommon), Paul Claffey (0-7) (Cappatagle), Patrick Connolly (0-1) (Ballinasloe). Subs: Conor Glynn (Pearses, Roscommon for Dillon.


After the game Michael Fahy presented the Connacht Senior B Cup to Woodford captain Andrew Moran, while Michael O'Connor from NUI Galway presented the NUI Galway GAA man of the match award to Jason Flynn.