U16 HURLING CHALLENGE – MONDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2013, TRAMORE GAA, WATERFORD.

CUALA 4-10; TRAMORE 4-5

In almost tropical conditions in the sunny South-east, Cuala’s new U16 hurlers took on Tramore in the first match of their new season. The panel had travelled down on Sunday morning and spent Sunday climbing the dunes and training together before watching Love/Hate later that evening. There were a few sore heads and squinty eyes as they stepped out onto the pitch in brilliant sunshine, but their performance was brim-full of energy and enthusiasm as they racked up a very creditable 4-9 in the opening half, helped by the stiff breeze at their backs. Rory McMahon took the man-of-the-match accolade for his awareness and cleverness at the back, but it was ‘evergreen’ Tiarnan Lane who took all the plaudits up front. He scored a total of 2-5 in the first half, two goals from 20m frees which he pulverized to the net, and one sweet point from way out the field that he floated over from 80m. Craig Finn helped himself to 1-1. His point in the second half was the point of the match from far out on the left against the breeze. Quinner as usual made a nuisance of himself in full-forward and Rellis on the right got on a huge amount of ball which he used very cleverly to play in better-placed team mates. James Murphy, Dan Johnson and Thomas McCarthy bossed the half-forward line and anything they missed was hovered up by O’Drisceoil and Lane in the mid-field. Both had fine games. But the strength of this result came from the half-back line where Coronella, Hartnett and Newman took over from the start and delivered low, fast ball into the avaricious full-forward line. Cuala turned over at the break on a score-line of 4-9 to 1-3.

Tramore introduced two Waterford inter-county players after the break and their influence was felt immediately as they took advantage of the conditions to drive ball after ball into the heart of the Cuala defence. Fitzgerald, Power and man-of-the-match McMahon wouldn’t buckle however and with O’Treasaigh solid between the sticks, they repelled the Deise onslaught. O’Treasaigh at one point took a ball on his own line and with a mazy run ended up close to the 50m line before releasing the ball!

The referee closed his book on a score-line of 4-10 to 4-5 in favour of the Dalkeymen. After the sandwiches and queen-cakes, it was all off to the beach for some hi-wave surfing. A great weekend for all involved!

Footnote: The conduct and behaviour of this bunch of players was exemplary throughout. Great thanks must go to the 1998 Management Team for organizing the weekend and to the Majestic Hotel in Tramore for arranging very good accommodation at a very reasonable price!

Next up: Cuala play in a full 15-a-side tournament on Saturday 2nd November in Naas which features Cuala’s new U16s plus 5 teams from Kildare, Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford. Unfortunately there are no scheduled U16 hurling fixtures in Dublin until March 2014 so Cuala have organised a number of 7-a-side and 15-a-side tournaments to keep the guys sharp and competitive.

Panel: Mark O’Treasaigh, Nessan Fitzgerald, Michael Power, Joe Mahony, Rory McMahon, Brian Coronella, Jack Hartnett, Daniel Johnson, Tiarnan Lane (2-5, 2-4 frees), Fionn O’Drisceoil, James Murphy, Thomas McCarthy (1-1), Cormac Quinn (0-2), Craig Finn (1-2), Conor Newman, Cian Rellis, Shane Molomphy, Cathal Scanlon, Emmet Murphy (inj.), Diarmait Maas (inj.).U15 Hurling Team