U12 Jet setters!
Under 12’s Take to the Air!
The weekend of June 10/11 2006 will remain with the Crokes under 12 hurlers for many a day.
For photos of the trip click HERE
An 8.00 am flight carried the travelling 26 players and their mentors to Cork airport where they were collected by a coach provided by the Erins Own club from nearby Glounthaune. It was on to Erins Own’s impressive grounds at Caherlag for an eight team tournament which saw Crokes pitched against Clarecastle from Clare, famed St Finbarrs from Cork and the host club.
A close fought opening win over Clarecastle by 2-1 to 0-0 was followed by another tight victory 0-3 to 0-0 over the Barrs. Our final group game saw us snatch a 2-1 to 1-4 draw with a dramatic late goal.
Following lunch we took on Carrigtwohill, the aristocrats of East Cork hurling, where a 4-4 to 2-1 victory was good enough to see us into the final against Clarecastle who had overcome a strong Lismore side in the other semi.
This was to be a gripping encounter with Crokes having something to prove after our loss to the same team in the final of their tournament in May. Playing with a strong wind Crokes piled on the pressure but were unable to register a score for the majority of the first half. During this period the Clare representatives snatched two points and looked set to lead at half time until a Crokes goal gave us a one point interval advantage.
Turning to play with the breeze the odds were stacked in favour of Clarcastle. However, the Crokes boys produced their best effort of the day and denied the best Clarecastle could throw at them. Midway through the second half Crokes goaled to put four points between the teams. Clarecastle fought back tigerishly and a point reduced the margin to a single score. Crokes had to resist even more pressure before foraying upfield for another goal to put six points between the teams with minutes left. The last few moments were nail biting but the Kilmacud boys held out to claim the coveted Colman Dillon trophy which was presented by Colman’s son, John, current Crokes senior selector. The presentation was followed by scenes of great celebration before heading to overnight in Midleton.
On Sunday the team assembled in Carrigtwohill for a warm up and then headed to the Na Piarsaigh grounds on the north side of Cork city for the Jack Lynch Tournament. Our semi final opposition was the fancied Thomastown from Kilkenny who had recently won the New Ross Tournament. Before that the hosts had impressively disposed of De La Salle from Waterford in the other semi final. Having opted to play with the wind Crokes piled on the early pressure and led by 3-6 to 0-1 at half time. That was not necessarily a commanding lead when account was taken of the strength of the wind and the danger posed by one or two of the Thomastown forwards whose Kilkenny goalscoring exploits were well known. As expected Thomastown surged forward in the second period and only resolute defending kept them at bay with Crokes picking up some scores themselves to eventually win 5-6 to 1-5.
Next on the treat list was meeting Sean Og O'hAilpin on his home patch. The Cork hero came into the dressing room and spoke at length to an enraptured audience stressing that participation and enjoyment were the key, that to improve constant practice was essential and how necessary it was to have respect for team mates, opponents, mentors, officials and self.
Following the National Anthem the referee threw in the sliothar to start the final. Having opted to play against the wind the locals were the bookies favourites and this seemed to be justified when they got the first score, a goal, after 7 minutes. Crokes refused to yield and for the rest of the half it was nip and tuck with the Stillorgan team having the slenderest of advantages at half time 2-6 to 3-1.
During this period the standard of hurling was excellent with the Crokes harrying and tackling of the highest order. If anything the second half was better. The Crokes boys dug deep and never conceded an easy ball while playing some delightful hurling themselves. With five minutes to go the game was all square. Na Piarsaigh were able to add on the three points which was the difference in the end but it could so easily have gone the other way and the Crokes boys were loudly applauded off the field by home and visiting supporters alike.
Following the presentation the Crokes party headed for Dublin having had a weekend where all expectations were surpassed. For their commitment, skill levels and behaviour over the weekend our lads deserve the utmost praise. Thanks also to our two host clubs for their wonderfully generous hospitality and to all the parents who provided transport, helped with gear and supervision and who traveled to support.
Squad: Cian MacGabhann, Mark Collins, Daibhid Corish, Andrew Colclough, Conor Sweeny, Louis O’Sullivan, Kevin James McGowan, Conall McCluskey, Conor O’Dwyer, Conor J O’Dwyer, Michael Herlihy, Oisin O’Rorke, Eoin Ryall, Conor O’Byrne, Conor Devins, Robert Murphy, Caolan Conway, Barry Horan, Neil Gorey, Cian Gormley, Hugh Gowing, Matthew McNicholas, Tomas Barry, Matthew Geraghty, Ross McGowan, James Murphy