Ballinamore Hurling Club won the County Under 14 Championship last Friday afternoon in Pairc Sheain Ui Eislin, Ballinamore with a powerful display of skillful hurling that proved too much for a youthful Carrick Hurling Club side.
The reigning Feile champions had strength all over the field and were very strong up the middle with players such as captain Kevin Mullen, Niall McGovern and Aaron McLoughlin being particularly prominent.
In cold conditions but on a perfect pitch for hurling, Ballinamore got off to the proverbial ‘flier’ and raced into an early lead thanks to the sharp shooting of Niall McGovern who finished the half with an imressive personal tally of 2-5.
Darren Maxwell and Alan Doonan also added goals while Darragh Murphy, Aaron McLoughlin and Damien Creaven all raised white flags in the first half.
Carrick could not compete with the home side in that opening period and were on the backfoot from the start, trying in vain to keep the bigger, more physical Ballinamore lads out.
They were best served in the first half by Leigh McManus, who claimed his side’s goal from a free, and Dessie Beirne at centre half back, while Liam Phelan pulled off some fine saves in goal.
The half time score read 4-8 to 1-0 but in fairness to the Carrick lads they made a real contest of it in the second half and battled bravely to the end.
The second period was a tough battle as the two teams went toe to toe but Carrick could not get through a tight Ballinamore defence to get the scores they needed to get back into the game.
Shane Beirne fired over a good point for Carrick while Niall McGovern and Ciaran Cullen scored points in reply for Ballinamore.
Carrick, with 11 of their starting 15 under 12, will learn a lot from the experience and it should stand to them in the years ahead. Best for them were Leigh McManus, Dessie Beirne, Cian Ffrench, Sean Quigley and Donal Moreton.
For Ballinamore, it was a great display of powerful striking, shooting and team play.
The quality of their play, led by Niall McGovern, Aaron McLoughlin and Kevin Mullen, was very impressive with some fine forwards such as Alan Doonan, Darren Maxwell, Cormac Sammon, Ciaran Cullen, Cathal McHugh and Jarlath Scollan.
They have all the skills of the game and their fielding and passing was a joy to behold. This fine bunch of young hurlers are a credit to the club and are worthy champions. Well done to them and great credit to their mentors Paddy O’Connor and Kevin O’Connor for coaching them to this level.
Ballinamore: Barry McGovern, Kevin Mullen, Aaron McLoughlin, Niall McGovern, Aaron Hoare, Darragh Murphy, Damien Creaven, Stephen Flynn, Caillin O’Rourke, Darren Maxwell, Ciaran Cullen, Adam Goldrick, Cormac Sammon, Cathal McHugh, Ben McGirl, Alan Doonan, Jarleth Scollan.
Carrick: Liam Phelan, Shane Crowe, Brian Holohan, Diarmuid Kellegher, Donal Moreton, Dessie Beirne, Cian Ffrench, Mark Diffley, Leigh McManus, Sean Quigley, Mark Brehony, Stephen Goldrick, Cormac White, Cormac O’Rourke, Sean O’Riordan, Shane Beirne.