Banner GAA Ennis 1-13
Finally, the weather changed, and we had a dry sliotar. The minor hurlers of The Banner-Ennis and Parteen-Meelick didn’t disappoint the spectators on a beautiful evening for hurling in the lovely surroundings of Banner Ennis GAA grounds on Wednesday evening.
Parteen-Meelick raced into an early lead and had 1-01 to Nil on the scoreboard after 5 minutes. The Banner responded with a superbly worked goal scored by Cailum Henchy. The remainder of the first half was tit-for-tat after that and at half time Parteen-Meelick lead by a solitary score, 1-06 to 1-05. Henchy adding another of the Banner’s first half scores and the remaining scores coming from the hurley of Clare Minor hurler Ronan Kilroy, who was inspirational for the team with his performance on the night.
The second half served up even more exciting fare. In the first 8 minutes the sides again exchanged points, before Parteen proceeded to open up a 4-point gap entering the final 12 minutes. However, Kilroy and Henchy continued to lead the lines with their superb ball winning ability and distribution skills. As they have shown earlier in their campaign, the young Ennis side showed great character and stuck to their game plan and didn’t give up when it appeared the game might be getting away from them. Ben O’Halloran got the first point back after a clever delivery from Conal O’Reilly. Then Kilroy added a superb score when surrounded by 3 players he still managed to win the ball and get his shot away. Finn Duignan was causing problems for the visitors defence with his ability to get to the ball first and take on his man. With 10 minutes remaining Conal O’Reilly added another score for the home side to close the deficit to a point. The sides again exchanged scores with Kilroy adding another. With 5 minutes remaining, Parteen-Meelick still held a 1-point lead, when Henchy gave a neat pass to Conal O’Reilly who went on a solo run and when cleared to shoot launched an effort from 60 metres that got over the black spot and levelled the sides.
To their credit Parteen-Meelick responded well and after some good interplay between Andrew Cleary and Luke Tobin they shot their 13th point of the evening, and it looked like it might be the winning score. With 2 minutes remaining, the Banner worked the ball cleverly out of defence via Sean Hegarty and Keelan Bane. Conal O’Reilly picked up a pass at midfield and then played a deft pass into space in front of substitute Conor Coffey. The 14-year-old Coffey collected sharply, spun onto his left and from 35 metres split the posts with an equaliser worthy of a thrilling match that both sides served up on the evening.
On the resumption of play the referee Paul Howard brought the match to a conclusion. For the Keith Howard managed Parteen-Meelick side, they had good displays from Mark McDermott, Andrew Cleary, Luke Tobin and Ruairi Nolan.
The young Banner side had excellent contributions from all 17 players that featured on the evening. Thomas Mathius-Willams again gave great confidence to his defence with another great goalkeeping display. The full back line of Eoin Hogan, Tony Burke and Tom Spelman were solid and teak tough throughout. Sean Hegarty and the Bane bothers, Keelan and Tadhg defended valiantly in the second half. Kilroy and Henchy both showed leadership and their intercounty class throughout the 60 minutes. Conal O’Reilly, Ben O’Halloran, Finn Duignan and Conor Coffey also showed leadership and work-rate in abundance and got key scores in the second half when it looked like the game might be slipping away. Next up the Banner will play Smith O’Brien’s on Monday evening in the final group game. The Banner will need a win on Monday to have a chance of qualifying for the championship semi-final. Thanks to Parteen-Meelick for their huge part in an enthralling minor championship match.
Scorers: Ronan Kilroy 0-06, Cailum Henchy 1-01, Conal O’Reilly 0-02, Ben O’Halloran, Finn Duignan and Conor Coffey 0-01 each.
Banner GAA Ennis Team: 1. Thomas Mathius-Williams, 2. Eoin Hogan, 3. Tony Burke, 4. Tom Spelman, 5. Sean Hegarty, 6. Eoin Fitzpatrick, 7. Keelan Bane, 20. Tadhg Bane, 9. Cailum Henchy, 10. Conal O’Reilly, 11. Ronan Kilroy, 12. Ben O’Halloran, 13. Frankie Toner, 14. Paddy Molony, 15. Finn Duignan. Subs: Kaden Deegan-Herlihy for Tadhg Bane, Tadhg Bane for Frankie Toner, Conor Coffey for Finn Duignan. Matthew Bashua, James O’Connor, Sam Fetton.