U16 hurling has moved even further forward in the calendar from its traditional July start 3/4 years ago. The Championship for 2014 begins on 28th February, almost exactly one month earlier than last year. The under 16 Championship is divided into 5 sections A ,A1, B, B1 and C, with 8 teams in each section. This year Moycullen are seeded in the B section of the Championship, which is probably based on our u14B win in 2014. The B competition begins with a league of the eight teams with the top four qualifiying for semifinals. The remaining four teams qualify for the semifinals of the Shield competition.
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Under 16 Hurling
Magh Cuilinn U16 3-07 Michael Cusacks 4-15
Mágh Cuilinn found the challenge of Michael Cusack's too strong in their U16 B Final in Kenny Park on what turned out to be a wet Thursday evening. The final score hardly gave proper justice to the losers as they had battled back from a poor start to be only three points behind midway through the second half. A fortunate call gave Cusack's the respite of a pointed free against the comeback and a goal soon after left Mágh Cuilinn a mountain to climb for the second time with the clock running down. In contrast, Cusack's could be patient in the pursuit of further scores, which they duly did and gradually added to the margin. This the best campaign so far for this particular group of players, having narrowly failed to qualify for the final stages at U13, U14 and U15. Hopefully their diligence and improvement will continue and we can look forward to a strong Minor campaign over the next two years.
The exchanges at the start of this game were fairly open. Mágh Cuilinn were off the mark early with a goal from Cian Folan and a pointed free from Dara Davoren. Carnmore produced the exact response before Joe Lydon burst through for another goal to restore a one goal lead. Mágh Cuilinn continued to work the scoreboard with Dara Davoren, Shane Clancy, and Joe Lydon all pointing from play to add to Davoren's frees. Carnmore proved adept at freetaking too, with every indiscretion, even beyond halfway being punished. Cian Folan grabbed a third goal but Carnmore broke through for a goal of their own just before halftime to leave the halftime score at 3-07 to 2-07.
The second half opened in complete contrast to the first, with both sides unable to score for quite a while. Carnmore had most of the early pressure but their earlier unerring accuracy from frees deserted them as a succession of long range efforts drifted wide. Mágh Cuilinn gained a foothold in the game and with neat points from Shane Clancy, Dara Davoren and Oran Mac Lochlann, the lead was extended to five points. Carnmore changed freetaker with success and an effort from the left hand sideline, matching a similar effort from Clancy from the same spot in the first half, reduced the gap to four points. Carnmore began to run at the Mágh Cuilinn defence and although a few timely interventions from goalkeeper Owen Hester were needed the defence was coping well. However as the game entered the last 10 minutes, a surging run was stopped but the ball broke to a Carnmore player close to goal, his mis-hit looping effort under severe pressure to secure a point fell toward the angle of the goal, all spin and no power. Hester did get a hurl to the ball but with insufficient purchase to prevent the sHot dying just beyond the line. More misfortune was to follow within minutes, the Carnmore wing forward tried to match his earlier effort from the left, but the shot, although well struck was short and low, but Hester suffered the fate of all goalkeepers from Tony Reddin to Brendan Cummins, as the ball spun from his grasp and fell tauntingly a foot away on the wrong side of the line. Mágh Cuilinn did respond with a point from Shane Clancy but a Carnmore free restored the gap as the sides slipped inside the final five minutes. It might have been all over as Carnmore broke through again but Hester saved point plank, got up, gathered the ball and cleared. Mágh Cuilinn continued to press and forced Carnmore to desperate defence. Two frees were garnered in the final three minutes and the points taken to earn a draw that was the least that was deserved.
Mágh Cuilinn: Owen Hester, Tim McDonagh, Keith Carter, Aaron Connell, Micheál Joyce, Neil Mulcahy, Seán Barrett, Dara Davoren, Evan Kenny, Joe Lydon, Oran Mac Lochlann, Alan Carr, Tom O'Connor, Cian Folan, Shane Clancy.
Subs: Seán Seoighe for Alan Carr, Ceillan Leonard for Oran Mac Lochlann, Andrew McDonagh, Fionn McDonagh, Andrew Power
Magh Cuilinn recored a 3-07 to 1-06 win over Mullagh in the opening round of the U16 B championship. Mágh Cuilinn competed at B1 level in 2013 and C in 2014, winning the Championship in 2014 and the Shield in 2014 and although the U14s won the U14 B Championship in 2014 also, the step up to B at U16 level was unknown territory. However the win against Mullagh is a confidence booster for the tasks ahead.
Mágh Cuilinn: Fionn McDonagh, Owen Hester, James Dempsey, Walter McDonagh, Evan Kenny, Neil Mulcahy, Seán Barrett, Ciaran Scully, Joe Lydon, Ger McDonagh, Gareth Kenny, Dara Davoren, Tom O'Connor, Daniel Lydon, Shane Clancy.
The team started with 4 u14s but if at a size disadvantage they showed their older colleagues the standard in terms of fitness and intensity needed to win any county championship. Part of any success is having all your players available most of the time. Unfortunately, Mágh Cuilinn through postponements had three games in a week, when badly affected by holidays and injury and although comfortably overcoming Ballygar (the eventual champions), falling just short against Annaghdown and Carnmore meant there was to be no second u16 title in a row.
The second half was a very open game and despite an outstanding performance from the reconfigured full back line of Evan Kenny, James Dempsey and Tom O'Connor, Carnmore broke through for two crucial goals. The depleted visitors did have plenty of chances as Daniel Lydon, Joe Lydon and Shane Clancy created five clearcut goal chances but were narrowly wide or denied. The goal that did come was a replica of the first half goal and although Dara Davoren, Joe Lydon and Ger McDonagh all added points, 2-08 is rarely enough to win a game at this level, so 2-04 was never likely to produce a win.
Mágh Cuilinn 2-04 Carnmore 2-08Carnmore were very much on top in the first half but some wayward shooting, some stout defence and some smart saves from Fionn McDonagh in goal meant they had only five point to show at half time. Mágh Cuilinn had looked dangerous on the break and an early goal from a long range delivery which found its way to the net with Daniel Lydon exerting pressure. Daniel Lydon might have had two more goals but his kicked lob dropped just outside the right hand post and the goalkeeper advanced bravely to block his second effort. Dara Davoren had pointed a free and but for an earlier 20m attempt at goal rather than taking the point on offer, the score might have been level at halftime.
A team racked by injuries and absentees put up a brave performance and with a little luck might have overcome table toppers Carnmore at full strength in the last and crucial group game. A combination of injuries, illness, holidays and absence meant Mágh Cuilinn could only muster a bare 15 of the 27 players used to date.
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