*Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
There were comebacks aplenty as the Under 15 finals ramped up this week in both codes.
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield sparked the backlash trend when producing a six point second half turnaround to snatch the Under 15 Division 1 Football crown from Lissycasey’s grasp by 1-08 to 0-10 in Cusack Park on Monday evening.
Lissycasey’s miserly rearguard, led by captain Michael Kelly, Cathal Casey and Aidan Weaver, had expertly kept the Parish’s chief threats Padraic O’Donovan and Eoin Ógie Fanning at bay, allowing Daire Culligan and Ben Skerritt to fire braces each at the other end and give the Under 14 Division 1 champions a 0-7 to 0-2 cushion by the start of the second half.
However, with the wind now at their backs and a consistent supply-line from Conor Daly and Jack Dillon in particular, Doora/Barefield’s dynamic duo finally stormed into prominence, with captain O’Donovan (1-2) and Fanning (0-4) combining spectacularly to hit the front by 1-8 to 0-8 by the 55th minute.
Daire Culligan did lead the Lissycasey revolt with the last two points but St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield clung on defiantly to soar to the inaugural Under 15 Division 1 silverware.
24 hours later at the same venue, the Division 2 equivalent was even more dramatic as Cooraclare and Clooney-Quin were level on eight occasions in a titanic thriller that went all the way to extra-time before a replay was agreed to instead of a penalty shoot-out at 2-15 apiece. In normal time, the outstanding Darragh White fronted three separate Clooney-Quin fightback to reel in Cooraclare, with an injury-time goal through Conor McCarthy almost stealing the crown only for Kevin Marrinan to produce a spectacular equaliser to force the additional periods.
Marrinan would extend that influence with an extra-time goal that took until the final minutes for Clooney-Quin to equal, with Jerry O’Connor cooly slotting over a 78th minute leveller that ensured a mouth-watering return decider in the coming weeks.
Clooney-Quin did secure Under 15 hurling silverware however when overcoming Kilmaley by 3-11 to 3-06 in the Academy B Final for second teams in Tubber on Sunday afternoon. Second quarter goals through scorer-in-chief Cormac Hale and Sean Cassidy saw Clooney-Quin seize control by the break at 2-8 to 1-3 before a third goal from Lochlann Carey provided the cushion to be able to withstand Kilmaley’s backlash, despite a two goal haul for Patrick Clancy.
However, in an imminent potential fixture pile-up for Clooney-Quin, their flagship team will also lock horns with Kilmaley again in the Under 15B Hurling Championship Final
The Under 15 Academy A Hurling Final was a little more clear-cut as Éire Óg bounced back from last year’s final defeat to Doora/Barefield to overpower a battling Corofin/Ruan by 3-8 to 1-4 in Crusheen on Sunday 17 wides masked a commanding display led by centre-back Essan Malek that was finally expressed with second half goals through David Loftus (2) and substitute Eoin Pyne.