Kinvara top U12s Hurling League

posted 9 Aug 2013, 02:46 by Unknown user
Tues 6th August 2013
U12 Hurling League
Eagle Eye made his way over to our close neighbours in Ballindereen last Tuesday to see if the Under 12 squad under Francis Comyn, Michael Helebert, Eamon Keely and Niall Byrne could close the deal and win out their last league Game against our perennial competitors.


With a draw and three wins behind them the boys could potentially top the group with their opponents in the drawn match (Craughwell) being the only other unbeaten team in the group.  A lot at stake and nerves were stretched as the game approached.


Having played all of their league games to date in dry and good hurling conditions the Gods decided that a further test of mettle was required and a steady downpour was visited upon the pitch upon throw in.  Greasy conditions and nervous players - an interesting mixture.


With a good crowd of supporters in attendance Kinvara were quickly out of the blocks in the first half notching up a goal and a point from Brendan Linnane and Darragh Helebert respectively.  However, having started slowly Ballindereen quickly showed they were in no mood for an easy match and upped their work-rate and intensity around the park.


Kinvara were slow to respond and Ballindereen gained a foothold in midfield and attack with their defensive lines clearing out all too easily with resulting pressure being applied on Kinvara's own defensive make-up.  Despite the pressure Ciaran O'Donoghue and his full back Conaill Larrisey marshalled the defence well enough and with a mixture of skill (and it has to be said some luck) they repelled all Ballindereen's goal mouth attempts.  However, by tacking on a couple of deserved points Ballindereen showed they were quickly finding their feet and Kinvara had to respond.


Cue Joey Droney who by using his pace and vision to first get the sliotar into the full forward line, then worked hard to find open ground and was on hand to smash the sliotar on the volley into the Ballindereen net to score a super goal and settle the fraying Kinvara nerves.  


With a second point (scored by Brendan Linnane) further easing concerns the lead stretched out to 2-2 to 0-2 approaching half time.  Further good work from Helebert resulted in another goal for Kinvara and half time arrived with a scoreline of 3-2 to 0-2 in favour of the Kinvara Lads.


Despite the positive half time scoreline, management were worried as the team was not firing on all cylinders with poor first touch, weak tackling and lazy running evident in several of the team.  With Ballindereen bound to respond, Comyn & Helebert demanded greater concentration in the second half and asked for a return to the defensive intensity shown by the team in their previous games.


This time however the half time talk by management did not work and Ballindereen quickly set about reducing the half time arrears with a blitz on the Kinvara Goal. 


Burke (who had replaced O'Donoghue at half time) was facing a barrage of shots as they rained in from unmarked attackers further out the field.  Kinvara were asleep and the Ballindereen boys were plundering the spoils.  Two quick goals and a point ensued with the scoreline tightening to 3-2 to 2-2 within a few minutes of the restart.  A mini-crisis for the Kinvara Boys ?  Could they respond ?  Would they respond ?


Management acted decisively with two substitutes (Mullery and Corless) immediately introduced in an effort to bring some much needed energy back into the Kinvara effort around midfield.  Some defensive re-alignments also brought Barry and Whelan into the game and they slowly gained the upper hand in clearing out the Ballindereen balls that were being pumped into the Kinvara defensive area.


With the defense finding its feet, sure enough Travis, Ivers, Byrne and Droney responded to the fresh impetus of the substitutions with a renewed effort and a much improved period of blocking, hooking and general harassment of the man and sliotar resulted in the tide turning and pressure being re-applied on the Ballindereen backs.  


Aided by some strong puck outs from Burke the Kinvara midfield and half forwards began to enjoy some good possession and with Comyn at last finding his feet they started to feed more ball into the Kinvara full forward line.


Despite at times being too far from goal and also being guilty of bunching in front of the goal mouth the full forward line and Droney in particular were able to stretch their markers with Helbert getting free on several occasions and two more goals were secured with additional points notched on by Helebert and Travis.


In the end Kinvara saw out the game but were made work every inch of the way by a determined Ballindereen outfit who's effort was not reflected in the final scoreline of 5-4 - 2-2.  Nevertheless, the boys had secured the win despite not playing well and that is a good trait to have in any team.  


Being their own worst critics the boys will know they have plenty to work on as they continue to hone their skills and adjust to the demands of the competitive team environment they now play in.  


However, with Craughwell having being beaten the Kinvara boys have topped the group unbeaten and deservedly so with several strong performances each one of which was underpinned by a willingness to work hard for each other from 1 - 20. 


Competition for a place on this team is going to be interesting and every squad member will need to continue to practice and attend training as much as possible. 


If the recent run of games showed anything it is that having players available to bring onto the pitch to change things is vital and that the entire squad is needed to win and keep winning.


Congratulations to all the under 12's from Eagle Eye.   Keep up the good work.