It’s ten years since our 2007 minor team claimed the ‘A’ hurling county against Newcestown out in Ballygarvan. Liam O’Sullivan captained the team to victory that day and Tomás Hogan was a key part of that championship side. Four years later Liam and Tomás lined out in the 2011 senior county final against CIT, where Tomás scored three points and both players helped Carrig to their first senior county title in 93 years. Six years after that historic win, Liam O’Sullivan is captain of our senior hurlers and Hogan is a fixture at centre-forward, and they’re both back in a minor county final. They are two parts of a management team alongside Kieran Gosnell, senior hurler Seamus Roche, Mick Boland and Brian Cashman that have put in tireless work with their young charges all year. It has proved a winning formula and it won’t be lost on anyone that 1998 minor county winner, Frank Flannery, coached the 2007 minors to victory.
When the ball is thrown in at Carrigaline tomorrow (a familiar sight for Carrigtwohill supporters this week) it will mark the 25th game of hurling that Carrigtwohill minors have participated in this year. It all began back on a wet afternoon on February 19th with a challenge game against St. Catherines. That was the first of eleven challenge matches that would be played throughout the year as Carrig sought to maintain the high standards they had set for themselves. Those standards have certainly been met in the league where Carrig have won four and drawn one of their six games. Carrig also played three minor non-exam matches which provided great experience for the younger players on the panel. That experience would prove vital as Carrig were without a couple of players for the opening round against Valley Rovers but they didn’t miss a beat as they ran out easy winners on a scoreline of 4-16 to 2-4.
The second round game against Fermoy in Riverstown took place less than three weeks later. It was the quintessential game of two halves with Carrig struggling in the first half and trailing by four points at the break. In truth, Carrig did well to be only four points down. The second half was a complete turnaround however as the Carrig defence was outstanding and held Fermoy scoreless for over twenty-two minutes. In that time Liam Gosnell scored 1-7 to put Carrig on the front foot and they never looked back.
It was another month before Carrig took to the field against Ballinhassig in the semi-final in Carrigaline on September 6th but Carrig were sharp having beaten Valley Rovers again in the league and they also made two worthwhile trips to Waterford to take on Abbeyside and Dungarvan. That sharpness told early and often as Carrig edged out Ballinhassig by seven points in a game that was at-times tense but never close.
Fermoy’s route to the final has been more circuitous due to Carrig’s second half heroics at the end of July. Fermoy beat Ballinhassig by 2-12 to 2-7 in the opening round before succumbing to Carrig in the second round. Aghabullogue were Fermoy’s next opponents and they were well-beaten by 3-16 to 12 points. Fermoy again put up 3-16 in their semi-final win over Fr O’Neills last week with O’Neills managing 2-14. Fermoy sit atop the league with only one loss from six games; that loss coming against Carrig in Carrigtwohill back in April. Between league and championship Carrig are the only team to beat Fermoy this year and they’ve done it twice.
Our 2007 minor champions also had a Munster minor winner on the panel in Robbie White and Aaron Walsh Barry will hope to add a club medal to his inter-county honours. Aaron played in the Valley Rovers game just two days after lining out in the Munster minor final against Clare and played the Ballinhassig game only three days after the All-Ireland minor final. Liam Gosnell, captain of the team has scored an incredible 4-32 (0-19f) in the championship so far and alongside midfielder Kiitan Oke and fifteen-year old corner-forward, Sean Walsh, is one of three Carrig players to score in all three championship games this year. However, this has undoubtedly been a team success with a variety of forwards and defenders stepping up on different occasions throughout the year. These minors are a very organised and hard-working bunch of lads and to reach this final, in a notoriously tough grade, is a phenomenal achievement in and of itself. They deserve every credit and recognition that their endeavour has earned.
The club would again like to thank Tomás Hogan, Kieran Gosnell, Liam O’Sullivan, Seamus Roche, Mick Boland and Brian Cashman for their commitment this year. If this team matches the determination and effort that our Fé 14s showed in Carrigaline last Friday then we’ll be more than proud. Congratulations on reaching the final and best of luck to the panel of Ryan O’Donovan, Ryan Conroy, Kevin Coady, Jack Scully, Shane O’Hanlon, Aaron Walsh Barry, David Rooney, Liam Gosnell, Brendan Twomey, Billy Manning, Kiitan Oke, James Mulcahy, John Carroll, Dara McCann, Sean Walsh, Gary O’Brien, Jamie Noonan, Cormac O’Flynn, Alan Warren, Killian Carroll, Conor O’Donovan, Killian Nolan, David Folasaide, Daire O’Sullivan, Sean De Búrca, Niall Hannigan, Cian Thornton, Gary Yerskin, Billy Scully, Cian Dunlea and Cian Horgan. Throw-in is at 8pm this Tuesday, September 12th at 8pm in Carrigaline.
Path to the final:
Fé 18 Premier 2A Hurling Championship
First Round, Tuesday July 11th
Carrigtwohill 4-16 (28) Valley Rovers 2-4 (10)
Referee: John Ryan (Macroom)
Second/Winners Round, Sunday July 30th
Carrigtwohill 2-15 (21) Fermoy 2-9 (15)
Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers)
Semi-final, Wednesday September 6th
Carrigtwohill 2-17 (23) Ballinhassig 2-10 (16)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers)
Final, Tuesday September 12th
Carrigtwohill v Fermoy in Carrigaline at 8pm
Referee: Pat Lyons (Bishopstown)