Bridge hit form at business end of title race
County senior hurling quarter final replay
O CALLAGHANS MILLS................1-10
By Michael O Connor.
A case next weekend of old versus new. A seasoned Crusheen side face a Sixmilebridge side that announced itself not against O Callaghans Mills but last year in the 2009 under 21A championship with size, pace and skill aplenty. Nine under 21s of the last two seasons now backbone Sixmilebridge. Crusheen have been thereabouts for the last half decade without success with many suggesting that this year could be their best chance or last chance. Next weekend high scoring forwards will be facing tight marking defenders at one end, as low scoring hard working forwards face a young defence at the other. Freetaking accuracy could yet decide who marches behind the band on October 17th.
Sixmilebridge are back where they know best, contesting championships at the business end of the season. O Callaghans Mills had lofty ambitions but perhaps despite another spirited display at headquarters had let their chance slip the week previous. The Morey clan are now the dominant clan within Sixmilebridge hurling providing four of the team and another probably in the frame for an introduction next weekend. The physical size of the Bridge was first remarked upon when they won the under 21A against ironically Crusheen in 2009. O Callaghans Mills are well on the way to be a force in the coming years with a little fine tuning and new players could be semi final material within two years. The replay was a near replica of the drawn game with the Bridge racing into the lead and O Callaghans Mills clawing their way back. This time, however Niall Gilligan and the Moreys were not in such a relenting mood and scored goals when required.
After only eight minutes action the ‘Bridge were five clear as Niall Gilligan (2), Brian Culbert who had an impressive hour on the field, Tommy Morey and Caimin Morey were on target. County minor Seadna Morey finished well after an astute pass from Caimin who was now lining out at full forward. The Mills fightback began with a brace of Fergus Donovan scores by the 13th minute. When it appeared that the Bridge might suffer they struck for their first goal. Brian Culbert caught a puck out, sent it in to Danny Morey who lofted the ball into the square when Niall Gilligan caught and kicked to the net as the Bridge went seven clear. Ger Frost now went on a man marking mission on the bridge goalscorer.
Adrian Flaherty (free) and Conor Cooney from the half way line narrowed the Mills deficit to five points after 17 minutes. Niall Gilligan increased this to six before frees from Cooney and Flaherty punished consistent fouling from the Sixmilebridge rearguard. Tommy Morey created the second goal chance for Niall Gilligan who beat three with a hint of overcarrying before blasting past the helpless John Cooney. The Mills now brought back Conor Cooney as a sweeper and he helped shore up the gaps. He added another pointed free before Shane Golden scored two wonderful scores either side of Adrian Flaherty’s third free.
The Bridge were coasting on a seven point lead when Declan Donovan pounced at the stroke of half time for a lifeline as the Mills went in (2-9) to (1-8) in arrears, a position they could not argue with and probably content that it was just four points. Disaster loomed for O Callaghans Mills straight after the break when a long delivery from Paidi Fitzpatrick found Caimin Morey who won a penalty. Niall Gilligan’s effort to the delight of the Mills support was stopped on the line and cleared by John Cooney. Little did the Mills know that for all their industry and effort over the previous game and half that they would manage only two second half scores and concede (2-5) in the second half with all bar two scores coming from play.
Danny Morey will have happy memories of the second half as he scored (2-2) and could have had a third goal only for a body block from John Cooney. Rory Shanahan whilst not scoring was causing no end of trouble for the Mills defence breaking and holding up the ball for the smaller faster Bridge attackers. It must be noted that the Bridge did not score until the 17th minute of the second half yet the Mills could not capitalise on this with scores of their own and their own demise was hastened as they did not score from the 41st minute.
The score stood at (2-11) to (1-10) following scores from Glligan (2) and Danny Morey. Six points separated the sides when Danny Morey added (2-1) from the 57th minute to the end, all from play as the move outfield of Niall Gilligan opened up the Mills. Sixmilebridge had solid displays from the twin strike force of Niall Gilligan and Danny Morey, with John Fennessy, Aidan Quilligan, Brian Culbert, Rory Shanahan and Paidi Fitzpatrick able deputies. The Mills will, in the final analysis be content with a year of improvement thanks to the efforts of James Shanahan, Conor Cooney who excelled, Patrick Donnellan, Diarmuid Hehir and Fergus Donovan early on.
SIXMILEBRIDGE: Derek Fahy, John Fennessy, Tadgh Keogh, Ray McNamara, Robert Conlon Aidan Quilligan, Paidi Fitzpatrick, Shane Golden (0-2), Tommy Morey (0-1), Brian Culbert (0-1), Rory Shanahan, Seadna Morey (0-1), Danny Morey (2-2), Caimin Morey (0-2), Niall Gilligan (2-5). Subs: Pa Sheehan for Golden, Anthony Liddane for T Morey
O CALLAGHANS MILLS: John Cooney, Ger Frost, James Shanahan, Niall Donovan, Patrick Donnellan, Diarmuid Hehir, Brian Donnellan, Conor Cooney (0-4), Kevin McHugh, James McMahon, Declan Donovan (1-0), Jonathan Lyons, Fergus Donovan (0-2), Adrian Donovan, Adrian Flaherty (0-4). Subs: Alan Duggan for McHugh, Gary Neville for McMahon, James Hook for Flaherty
REFEREE: Sean McMahon (Newmarket).