U16 Hurling C Championship: St. Mark’s 2-13 Kilmacud Crokes 4-11

CROKES EDGE OUT ST.MARKS IN EXTRA TIME AFTER A CLIFFHANGER!

U16 Hurling C Championship: St.Mark’s 2-13 Kilmacud Crokes 4-11

(Match report by Diarmuid Coogan.)

Kilmacud Crokes and St. Marks played out a very entertaining match in gale force conditions which left the spectators “on the edge” of their seats right until the last minute of the 2nd period of extra time.

Playing with the aid of a very strong wind in the 1st half, Crokes got off to a good start with a point from powerful midfielder Tadhg Rafferty and a goal from right corner forward Emre Acka in the 1st 2 minutes who latched onto a long ball driven in by corner back Niall McArdle. (1-1 to 0-0)

They squandered some chances after that before left corner forward Zeki Acka scored a nice point on 8 minutes.

St.Marks sharp shooting corner forward  Gareth Mahon opened their account on 12 minutes with a fine free. (1-2 to 01)

Then came arguably the “move of the game” when Crokes goalie Cormac Hall drove a long puck out to the right side; full forward Dan Sheerin won possession on the 45m line and rounded his marker before going on a long solo which took him to the edge of the “large parallelogram” where he passed to his left and the ball hung perfectly in the air for centre forward Seán McIntyre to “bat” it into the net.  (2-2 to 0-1)

St.Marks got into the game after the water break with a fine point from play and then another free from Mahon. (2-2 to 0-3)

Crokes continued to struggle to make the most of the wind until the 25th minute when a long ball was played into wing forward Ciaran O’Donnell who was pushed in the back on the 20m line. O’Donnell, instead of tapping over an easy point, drove the ball low and was somewhat fortuitous to see it deflect off a defenders hurl into the net! (3-2 to 0-3)

2 minutes later O’Donnell lined up another free on the 20m line and, emboldened by his good fortune on the previous one, went for goal again but the goalkeeper did well to bat it out. The defence weren’t able to fully clear the sliothar and after wing forward Matthew Peters shot was blocked on the line, Emre Acka finished to the net to stretch the lead. (4-2 to 0-3)

Mahon hit another fine free against the wind to cut the lead to 10 points on the stroke of ½ time. (4-2 to 0-4)

2nd HALF.

Any thoughts Crokes had of having a big lead facing into the wind were quickly dispelled when full forward Jamie O’Connor finished powerfully to the net after the defence failed to deal with a long ball in the 1st minute.(4-2 to 1-4)

A minute later Mahon followed up with another free.(4-2 to 1-5)

On 35 minutes, a diagonal ball was played into O’Connor, who was unmarked on the edge of the square and he showed a deft touch to guide the sliothar beyond Hall and make it a one score game! (4-2 to 2-5)

O’Donnell stopped the rot for Crokes with a magnificent free from 45 against the wind. (4-3 to 2-5)

He added another free on 40 minutes to bring the lead back to 5 points. Mahon added 3 more frees for Marks with McIntyre hitting  a great point from 40 metres to leave Crokes 3 points ahead at the water break. (4-5 to 2-8)

HAIL HALL, THE HERO!!

Mahon narrowed the lead to 2 with another free on 48 minutes and then a minute later had  an opportunity to take the lead when Marks were awarded a penalty. Mahon hit a powerful strike to the left but Hall did brilliantly, not only to save the shot, but to deflect it away to his right out of the path of any following up forwards and his defenders cleared to safety.

Undeterred by this miss, Mahon added another free on 50 minutes to make it a 1 point game and then  Marks equalized with about 6 minutes left. With such a strong wind behind then, it seemed inevitable that they’d take the lead but they missed a few scorable chances and ironically it was Crokes who could have “sealed the deal” as both O’Donnell and Rafferty were just short with frees from 60 metres against the wind in injury time. (4-5 to 2-11)

EXTRA TIME.

Crokes had the wind advantage in the 1st period but Marks won the throw in and attacked on the right where they scored a fine point to give them the lead for the 1st time in the match.

They could have added a goal only for brilliant defending by corner back Cillian Molloy.

On 3 minutes O’Donnell equalized  for Crokes and then  on 6 minutes, sub forward Seán Coogan did well to win “dirty ball” around the 45 metre line and played it into McIntyre who hit a sweet point from 20 metres close to the right touchline. (4-7 to 2-12)

Being only 1 point up facing into the wind for the 2nd half, Crokes now faced a stern examination of their character. They rouse to this challenge with grim determination and after Coogan  kept a ball in play on the left touchline before playing it up to Rafferty, Rafferty cut infield before hitting a great point. (4-8 to 2-12)

O’Donnell added another free to make it 4-9 to 2-12 before Mahon cut the deficit to 2 points.

Crokes soaked up all the pressure that Marks continued to throw at them with Twomey, Mellon and Phelan

commanding in the half back line along with tireless midfielders Buggy and Rafferty.

O’Donnell hit a lovely point from play with 3 minutes remaining and the in injury time hit the “insurance point” to give his side a 4 point lead. The final whistle sounded after the goalie pucked out.

Both sets of mentors paid tribute to the opposing teams who had fought each other to a stand still in very difficult conditions.

Crokes now look forward to a Championship final which seemed most unlikely 8 weeks previously after they opened their campaign with a resounding defeat away to Beann Eadair!

KILMACUD CROKES: C.HALL, C.MOLLOY, A.GOLDEN, N.McARDLE, R.PHELAN, B.MELLON, D.TWOMEY,T.RAFFERTY, D.BUGGY, C.O’DONNELL, S.McINTYRE, M.PETERS, E.ACKA, D.SHEERIN, Z.ACKA.

SUBS: F.Robertson f McArdle, S.Coogan f Sheerin, J.Candon, F.Fitzgerald, J.Candon, C.Donnellan, B.Taylor, C.Cooney.

SCORERS:

CROKES: C.O’Donnell 1-6 (1-4 frees), E.Acka 2-0, S.McIntyre 1-2, T.Raferty 0-2, Z.Acka, 0-1.

St. Marks: G.Mahon 0-9 (9 frees), J.O’Connor, 2-1, R.Russell, D.Numan, L.Crosbie, 0-1 each.