St Joseph’s, Borrisoleigh, U 16.5 Munster Champions

Munster U16 1/2 Hurling Final

St Joseph’s College, Borrisoleigh                3-10

Colaiste an Chraoibhin,Fermoy                  0-6

by Michael Halpin

Alvis Danko proved the hero of the hour as his personal tally of 2-6 powered St Joseph’s College to their first Munster Schools title in six years. After the heartbreak of losing the senior final last Friday, this victory was all the sweeter for all involved.

St Joseph's, Borrisoleigh, U 16.5 Munster Champions

Alvis Danko, Borrisoleigh, Captain of the under 16.5 Munster Champions shows the cup to their sponsor, Michael O’Dwyer of Mitchel House Restaurant, Thurles

From the throw in, it was evident that the boys from Tipp were focused and ready to put in a big performance and although they conceded the opening score to a free from Fermoy’s best player, Kieran Kearney. The first two attacks proved devastating, firstly, a long puck out from Pauric Stapleton fell nicely to Sean Dunne who found Danko at full forward and he crashed the ball home. Ninety seconds later, the other members of the full forward line combined with Michael Delaney working hard to get a shot in before Harry Stapleton pulled home the rebounded save.

This as it transpired was the winning of the game as Fermoy had no answers in attack and St Joseph’s College piled on the pressure. The platform for the purple patch that followed was a dominant half forward line. Cathal Ryan, Barry McCarthy and Sean Dunne rattled over superb long range points and Michael Delaney was denied only by the excellent Josh Shanahan in the Fermoy goals.

In reply, Fermoy had to wait until the 28th minute to register a Sean Desmond point but points by the dominant Kevin Maher and captain Alvis Danko left the score at the half 2-7 to 0-4 points.

It was clear that Coláiste an Chraoibhin would seek goals early in the second half and placed the dangerous Duncan Ekechukwu at the edge of the square flanked by Jake Ryan and Ryan Casey but they met a stone wall well marshalled by James Kelly and ably assisted by two tigerish corner backs in Harry Younge and Cian Stapleton who stuck to their markers like glue and never gave an inch.

With a comfortable lead for most of the match, it was only natural that the game got fragmented and the quality of hurling from both sides was not up to the standard of the first half but it was Borrisoleigh who kept a firm grips on proceedings and dominated the middle area of the field, in which Adam Ryan in particular excelled, tying down his marker and provided defensive cover and allowed Kevin Maher in particular to shine. Indeed it was Maher who broke up numerous attacks and countered with purpose on many an occasion and was the architect for further Danko points. As the game reached full time, the full forward line combined again to give the captain the final score of the game, a well taken goal.

St Joseph's, Borrisoleigh, U 16.5 Munster Champions

The successful U 16.5 Munster St. Joseph’s College, Borrisoleigh squad with their coach/manager Ray McLoughney

For Fermoy, their scoring woes continued with only Sean Desmond registering points from play, a fact that will be an immense source of pride to Dan Ryan at centre back and the Ryans, Michéal and Seamus at his side who shut down their opponents for the full 60 mins.

As the full time whistle sounded and class mates, family and friends joined the players on the field to celebrate, there was a mixture of joy and relief that the final loss by the seniors was not repeated.  As Alvis Danko raised the Corn Chiaráin Uí Dhrisceoil aloft to great cheers he was quick to thank Fermoy for a sporting game, Mitchel House Restaurant, Thurles for their sponsorship, team management of Ray McLoughney and Anne Brennan as well as the fantastic supporters. For him and his Borrisoleigh GAA teammates it was a special moment as they backboned this team from the start of the year and it is so important in schools hurling the mixture of neighbouring clubs and in this case, Burgess, Ballinahinch, Knockavilla Kickhams, Toomevara and Templederry working together as one team paved the way forward to victory.

2017 will see this panel look to complete a Munster double as they try to add a football title to their list of honours and closer to home, the U17 County title will be the one that most of this panel will set their aim on after a well deserved Christmas break.

Full panel: Pauric Stapleton(Borrisoleigh), Harry Young(Borrisoleigh), James Kelly(Borrisoleigh), Cian Stapleton(Borrisoleigh), Micheal Ryan(Borrisoleigh), Dan Ryan(Borrisoleigh), Seamus Ryan(Borrisoleigh), Kevin Maher(Borrisoleigh), Adam Ryan(Ballinahinch), Barrry McCarthy(Knockavilla Kickhams), Cathal Ryan (Toomevara), Sean Dunne (Burgess), Michael Delaney(Toomevara), Alvis Danko(Borrisoleigh), Harry Stapleton(Borrisoleigh), Fintan Holland(Borrisoleigh), Daniel Fahey(Borrisoleigh), Liam Ryan(Borrisoleigh), Evan Kearns(Ballinahinch), Luke Cooney(Borrisoleigh), Cathal Hogan(Borrisoleigh),Jack Fitzgerald(Borrisoleigh), Mark Kinane(Templederry), Aidan Ryan (Templederry), William Ryan(Borrisoleigh)

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