The date was Wednesday May 11. The venue was Moyle Rovers. It was D-Day in the Under 13 Roinn D Cumann na mBunscol Hurling Championship. Clerihan took on Powerstown in a local derby to determine who would come out of Section 2 of Roinn D. It was going to be a serious showdown between neighbouring schools. The winners would advance to the County Divisional Semi Finals. The losers would be out of the Under 13 Championship.
Powerstown settled first and began to exert significant influence all over the pitch. They played fabulous hurling during the first half, showing steel and skill. They totally outplayed Clerihan and were winning all the individual battles in every line of the field.
It wasn’t until the last five minutes of the half that Clerihan began to get any foothold in the game. Powerstown had their tactics spot on by playing with width, and stretching Clerihan by playing the wings. When Clerihan got possession, Powerstown swarmed around them denying them space and legally dispossessing them with excellent defensive play. At half time the score read Powerstown 3-1 Clerihan 1-2.
A goal from Luke Hahessy kept Clerihan in the game. Clerihan would have the breeze advantage in the second half, but needed to up their performance in a massive way. Clerihan made three changes at half time, and emerged for the second half determined to put things right.
They began the second half with great fire and determination. They got two goals in the first two minutes from Rian Quigley and Luke Hahessy to put them in front by a point. Clerihan began to dominate the game after this and would have added more goals only for the heroics of the Powerstown goalkeeper who pulled off three wonder saves.
Clerihan added two points but Powerstown went down and scored another goal of their own. Clerihan added a goal and a point in what was turning out to be a sensational second half.
Both teams contributed to the masterful hurling on view in the second half. It was a see-saw battle with the ball going up and down the pitch, and wonderful hurling on view. There was tremendous hooking, blocking and striking from both teams. Powerstown scored another goal to cut the deficit to one point two minutes from the end.
The tension was almost unbearable as both sets of young gladiators did their upmost to win the game. It was an extremely clean game, with not one dirty pull throughout the 40 minutes. When referee Willie Barrett blew the full time whistle the final score read Clerihan 4-5 Powerstown 5-1. Clerihan had edged home by a solitary point.
Both sets of exhausted players shook hands at the end. Most know each other from playing with and against each other in the South Club Championship, but a healthy mutual respect for each other had been evident throughout.
The Clerihan mentors and supporters were overjoyed at the end of the game! Commiserations to Powerstown and congratulations on putting up such a gallant display. Thanks to Willie Barrett for refereeing the match excellently, as per usual. Willie said this was one of the best schools matches he had refereed in a long time. That’s an excellent compilement for the young boys of Powerstown and Clerihan. Thanks to Moyle Rovers for allowing us use their pitch. The pitch was in great condition, as usual. Thanks also to the fantastic Clerihan parents who gave constant support and encouragement to the team.
Finally, well done to Clerihan. It’s another hurdle cleared, a huge hurdle though, and they can look forward to the next round now. It will be a County Divisional Semi Final, effectively a County Quarter Final. There’s a lot of hurling to be played yet and a lot of hard training too, so it’ll be back to practise straight away. It will take an even greater effort again the next day, and they know that. They looked down and out at half time but these boys are made of stern stuff, and produced the goods when it really mattered. Well done to all the Clerihan boys. Special heroes on a team full of heroes were Jack Burke, Aaron Condon, Aiden Phelan, Luke Hahessy, Sean Maher, Evan Corcoran, Conor Horan and Rian Quigley.
Team: Dean O’Dwyer, Aiden Lyons, Sean Maher, Conor Horan, Evan Corcoran, Aaron Condon, Aiden Phelan, Eoin Power, Jack Burke, Luke Hahessy, Alan O’Donnell. Rian Quigley, Cian Mullane, Callum Meagher, Billy Norris, Seamus McMahon, Shane Buckley, Jason McCully, Daniel Browne, Daniel Fitzpatrick.