Ballinakill-Park-Ratheniska Gaels 3-13 Clough-Ballacolla 0-13
Minor B Hurling League Final
Ballinakill-Park-Ratheniska Gaels were crowned Minor B Hurling League champions following a nine point win over Clough-Ballacolla in Shanahoe this evening.
The sides clashed last month in the final round of league games with Ballacolla running out comfortable ten point winners.
But the Gaels turned that around in style with 15-year-old corner forward Cian O’Shaughnessy catching the eye with 1-2 and midfielder Seamus Fitzpatrick ending with a tally of 1-7.
Clough-Ballacolla had two members of the Laois minor team in their starting fifteen, keeper Cathal Dunne and midfielder Diarmuid Conway, but the latter struggled through the game with a hamstring problem and was eventually replaced.
Clough-Ballacolla took the lead in the third minute when Mark Hennessy scooped the ball over the bar from close range but Ballinakill-Park-Ratheniska Gaels hit straight back with a goal.
Stephen Brennan showed incredible pace to break free in midfield before finding Seamus Fitzpatrick who rifled the ball to the net from outside the 14 metre line.
Cian O’Shaughnessy added a free for the Gaels but Chris Rafter and Seán Phelan hit a brace of points apiece for Ballacolla to regain the lead after 12 minutes.
The Gaels tied the game through Seamus Fitzpatrick before Stephen Brennan struck two beautiful points to give his side a lead they would never relinquish after 20 minutes.
The sides traded points for the remainder of the half with Evan Hawkes and Christopher Rafter seeing efforts for Clough-Ballacolla cancelled out by Seamus Fitzpatrick and Gearóid Lynch for the Gaels.
This left Ballinakill-Park-Ratheniska Gaels ahead by 1-6 to 0-7 at half time but the gap was instantly reduced to the minimum by Christopher Rafter on the resumption of play.
Seamus Fitzpatrick took his total to 1-5 as he hit two more frees but Clough-Ballacolla centre back Ben Delaney landed one from midfield to leave three between the sides as we entered the final quarter.
The Gaels grabbed their second goal from the resulting puck-out. Mark Kehoe won it and played the sliotar first time into the full forward line.
In the scramble that followed, the ball came towards Cian O’Shaughnessy who, having lost his hurl, finished soccer style into the bottom corner of the net.
The Gaels were buoyed by that goal and they fired over the next three points thanks to two from Seamus Fitzpatrick and another from centre forward Gearóid Lynch.
To their credit, Clough-Ballacolla kept going and centre back Ben Delaney converted two frees while Christopher Rafter got another to cut the gap to six with five minutes to play.
But the game was over with the Gaels’ next attack. Stpehen Brennan launched a long ball towards the Clough-Ballacolla goal which caused confusion and the sliotar bounced into the net.
Evan Hawkes grabbed the last point of the game to leave nine between them at the finish as Ballinakill-Park-Ratheniska Gaels were crowned winners.
SCORERS – BALLINAKILL-PARK-RATHENISKA GAELS: Seamus Fitzpatrick 1-7 (0-5 frees), Cian O’Shaughnessy 1-2 (0-1 free), Stephen Brennan 1-2, Gearóid Lynch 0-2 (0-1 free) CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Christopher Rafter 0-5 frees, Ben Delaney 0-3 (0-2 frees), Seán Phelan and Evan Hawkes 0-2 each, Mark Hennessy 0-1
BALLINAKILL-PARK-RATHENISKA GAELS: James Fitzgerald; Ian Shanahan, Danny Brennan, Luke Gleeson; Mark Kehoe, Oisin Fitzpatrick, Eoin Simms; Brian Fingleton, Seamus Fitzpatrick; Stephen Brennan, Gearóid Lynch, Jack Langton; Cian O’Shaughnessy, Enda Kehoe, Cathal O’Shaugnessy. Subs: Aaron Walsh, Cormac Costelloe, Mark Ramsbottom, Paul Ruddy, Michael Fitzpatrick
CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Cathal Dunne; Denis Meade, Niall Saunders, Emmet Saunders; Darragh Hogan, Ben Delaney, Shane Gilmartin; Diarmuid Conway, Kevin Mulhall; Evan Hawkes, Christopher Rafter, Seán Phelan; Mark Hennessy, David Hennessy, Will Meade. Subs: William Rafter, Oisin Bergin, Philip Henneberry, Lee Waite
Referee: Eoin Scully (Camross)