23 July 2012
ANTRIM U16 HURLING BLITZ REPORT
Last Saturday, July 21st the U16 hurling development squad travelled to Abbeyleix GAA club in Co Laois to take part in a Leinster blitz. After a 3 1/2 hour bus ride our young hurlers took spritely to the field in their opening game against Westemeath. On a glorious sunny afternoon in Abbeyleix, Co Laois Antrim started the more lively and registered quick scores through, Cormac McClafferty at centre-half forward, James Connolly at right corner-forward and free taker, Domhall Nugent at centre-half back. Full forward Stephen Garland then netted for Antrim taking the tally to 1:8 inside 10 minutes, before Westmeath were able to register their first point on the board. Further well taken goals from James Connolly and mid-fielder Padraig McGreevy saw Antrim head into the halftime break, comfortable and worthy leaders by a score of 3:10 to 0:3. Antrim were the superior team at all positions around the park and proved to be worthy winners in the second half. Several changes were made for the second period of play. After the retort, corner-forward, Deaghlan Murphy scored two quick points and then netted again for Antrim. Further delightful scores from play by half-backs Jude McCurdy and Odhran Laverty and half-forwards Pierce Bannon, Dermot Heading, Paddy Joe Graham and Niall McNaughton saw the game through for Antrim, with a final score of Antrim 4:17 Westmeath 1:3.
The second game against Laois proved to be much sterner and competitive game. Laois opened the brighter and registered 5 quick scores before Antrim got on the scoreboard from a goal by full-forward Stephen Garland. Although, Laois squandered several opportunities of netting from play however the Antrim defense stood up to the challenge. Before the half-time break, injuries to Cormac McClafferty and James Connolly forced changes in Antrim line up. A further point from a free by Domhall Nugent saw Antrim go in at the break, down 0:8 to 1:1. After the restart substitute half-forward Pierce Bannon brought Antrim within contention scoring 4 quick points, but the Antrim mid-field and half-back line had a tough time containing the classy Laois forwards. Laois added to their tally by scoring a goal and a further 6 points, 4 from free’s given away by Antrim. Although the Antrim players battled hard to the end, they went down fighting and eventually ran out loosing to Laois on a scoreline of Antrim 1:8 Laois 1:14. The two games served as a good indicator of the work the players need to do in preparation for the national blitz at the end of August.
Antrim U16 panel:
Conal Walsh, Steven Gaskin, Ryan McNulty, Hugh Pat McNeill, Jude Mc Curdy, Domhall Nugent, Odhran Lavery, Conor Christie, Padraig McGreevy, James Carey, Cormac McClafferty, Pierce Bannon, Emmet Martin, Stephen Garland, James Connolly, Deaghlan Murphy, Niall McNaughton, Stephen Walsh, Dermot Heading, Jack Hopkins, Ryan Delargy, Ryan Irwine, Conor Fitzgerald, Matthew McKieran, Paddy Joe Graham, Conor Matthews.
Mentors: Tony McNulty, Ciran McCambridge, Brendan McLaughlin, Niall Kearney