Douglas 1-18 Blackrock 1-15: Douglas captured their first U-21 county hurling title after withstanding a gutsy comeback from rivals Blackrock at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
Douglas were 11 points up early in the second half, but the Rockies refused to wilt and trimmed the gap to a goal after 61 minutes when a Michael O’Halloran free squirmed into the bottom corner.
They couldn’t grab a second goal however, and Douglas survived a goalmouth scramble to deservedly make history.
They had match-winners in outstanding midfielder Mark O’Connor, who was at the heart of all their good work and hit 0-4 from play along with Brian Turnbull and Shane Kingston in attack. Shane Donegan, Nathan Walsh, Liam Dineen and Ross Howell all impressed in the inaugural premier county-wide version of this competition, where Douglas did the damage either side of half-time.
They hit six points in a row to go 0-10 to 0-4 ahead at the break, and a Kingston goal, set up by Turnbull, on 33 minutes gave them a commanding 10-point advantage.
Douglas were 1-14 to 0-7 up after 41 minutes when Howell lofted over a fine score and appeared in control.
Credit to the Rockies, who were going for three in a row at this grade, they showed resilience to outpoint Douglas over the remainder, with John O’Sullivan and O’Halloran their primary threats up top but just fell short in a gripping finale.
Scorers for Douglas:
M O’Connor 0-7 (0-3 f), B Turnbull 0-6 (0-4 f), S Kingston 1-2, M Dolan, L Dineen, R Howell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Blackrock:
M O’Halloran 1-8 (1-6 f), J O’Sullivan 0-3, L O’Sullivan, N Cashman, T Deasy 0-1 each.
A Cullinane; L McGrath, S Donegan, N Walsh; R Howell, D Murphy, C Sheehan; M O’Connor, L Dineen; C Kingston, M Dolan, S Kingston; B Turnbull, E O’Brien, D O’Mahony.
E O’Sullivan for O’Brien (2 inj), D Ward for Sheehan (50), S Powter for D O’Mahony (59).
D O’Mahony; D Tyner, J Cashman, D O’Brien; A O’Callaghan, N Cashman, E McCarthy; J O’Sullivan, C O’Brien; D Meaney, M O’Halloran, M O’Keeffe; T Deasy, I O’Keeffe, L O’Sullivan.
R Cantwell for Tyner (42), B Grainger for I O’Keeffe (59).
C O’Regan (Ballyhea).
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