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U16 hurlers win Championship in a cracker

Congratulations to the U16s winning the Championship and their league in their first year hurling.The lads were disappointed to win the league without having to play two weeks ago but they had to make up for it today winning a helter skelter encounter with a fine St Peregrines by two points after extra time over in O'Toole Park. John Crosse or Jimmy will send a report and pictures but I wonder did anyone catch captain Colm Casey's initation of Joe McDonagh with his acceptance speech as gaeilge, I'm told it was pure Colm, maith fear.

The St Sylvesters U16 Hurlers completed the double on Saturday by adding the ‘C’ championship trophy to the Div 5 league title in an exciting final v St Peregrines in O’Toole Park. The large support of Sylvester’s parents, family and friends claimed it was a cracking game to watch but it was difficult to enjoy it from inside the ropes because it was just too tense. With the lead changing hands on several occasions and never more than 3 points in it either way it certainly was nail biting stuff. Anthony Cooney commented afterwards we lost it, won it, drew it, lost it again before finally closing it out in the 6th added minute of injury time in the second period of extra time, and that about sums it up.


It was always going to require a super human effort on our behalf against an opposition who were operating a couple of Divisions ahead of us in the league. To compound things we were missing 3 of our normal starters (Daniel Brennan and Osian Dulligan through long term injuries and Cian McLoughlan who was away). When we met up in Malahide Castle on Saturday morning we had 4 more injured lads undergoing late fitness tests (Ben O’Neill, Robbie O’Brien, Sean O’Connor and Colm Casey) and with our starting midfielder Liam Butler suffering from the flu the depth of the squad was going to be a crucial factor. But the spirit and character in this group cannot be underestimated and as they boarded the team bus and set out for Crumlin in the October sunshine you could sense the steely determination and focus was present to make sure this would be their day.

Although we enjoyed the benefit of the slight breeze in the first half Peregrines started quicker than us and with a number of fine hurlers all over the field, particularly their mid-fielders and centre half forward, they quickly built up a 3 point lead. However the Sylvester’s lads stuck to the task, settled into the game and started to pick off their scores with Daniel Deneher unerring on free taking duty all day. Our 2 wing backs,  Mikey Dowling and Phelim Butler were simply outstanding at this stage and were instrumental in ensuring we stayed in the game. Conor Sugrue chipped in with a lovely point of his left side but we were still trailing by 2 when just before half time a high ball into the square caused some hesitation in the Peregrines defence. Captain Colm Casey pounced to put it in the back of the net to give us a slightly fortuitous one point lead at the break, 1-8 to 10 points.

22Pictures here

The second half continued in the same vein. Aaron Lynch (despite a broken nose and a bad back) was drafted in to do a man marking job on their danger man, and Gavin Hydes added some more options in the forward line. In a great half of hurling it was nip and tuck all the way with both teams landing some great points from both frees and play. Liam Foley made a couple of crucial saves as we soaked up the pressure, then Luke Hughes started to cause problems for the opposition by some strong running at their defence and picked off a couple of nice points. Barry Crosse and Denis O’Brien were mopping up everything at the back at this stage and it seemed Sylvesters might have had done enough when we went 3 points up with just a few minutes left. However Peregrines weren't finished yet and they pounced for a late scrappy goal to level things. We still had time to grab one more pointed free which appeared to be the winner but deep in injury time Peregrines landed another pointed free which sent the game into extra time. Score at full time 1-16 apiece.

Peregrines were on a high now and went a point ahead in the first period of extra time but again through sheer determination we clawed our way back into it. Some key hooking and blocking from Adam Gaynor, a superb volley score from Brian Murray from 30 yards out and another pointed free from Daniel meant we changed ends a point to the good and this time the Sylvester’s lads decided they weren't going to let it slip. Marcus Young and Joe O’Connor made vital contributions as the benches were emptied with both teams visibly tiring and injuries mounting. The second period of extra time was a stop-start tense affair which seemed to last forever. However the character and superior physical fitness of the Sylvesters lads showed as we finished the stronger and tagged on a couple of more points to their single one in the closing stages to finish it out, but it never felt safe until finally the long whistle sounded, 6  minutes into injury time in extra time. Final score 1-20 to 1-18.

Team: 1 Liam Foley, 2 Ben O’Neill, 3 Barry Crosse, 4 Robbie O’Brien, 5 Phelim Butler, 6 Denis O’Brien, 7 Mikey Dowling, 8 Daniel Deneher, 9 Liam Butler, 10 Adam Gaynor, 11 Luke Hughes, 12 Colm Casey, 13 Sean O’Connor, 14 Brian Murray, 15 Conor Sugrue, 16 Cian McLoughlin, 17 Joe O’Connor, 18 Aaron McCormack, 19 Luke Joyce, 20 Rob Holmes, 21 Marcus Young, 22 Colin O’Sullivan, 23 Gavin Hydes, 24 Aaron Lynch, 25 Daniel Brennan, 26 Osian Dulligan, 27 Philip McDowell

Scorers: Daniel Deneher  0-13 (10 frees) Luke Hughes 0-4, Colm Casey 1-0, Brian Murray 0-2, Conor Sugrue 0-1

And so ended what has been a fantastic season for the U16 hurlers. Colm Casey stepped up to accept the cup and gave a rousing speech ‘As Gaeilge’ and the celebrations began in earnest. The trip back to Malahide on the bus was lively to say the least with a pit stop in McDonalds for refuelling. Later on Saturday evening Lenoard organized a piper and a Garda escort to lead the lads on a memorable march through the village and then onto the club for pizza and the obligatory liquid refreshments for mentors and parents. We toasted the achievements of this great bunch of lads who defied all the odds with 2 trophies in their first season hurling. I have no doubt a lot of them will make an impact at minor level over the next couple of years if they continue the remarkable progress they have made this year.

from Bridgefield today (Sat) at 6:00pm

Join our championship winning team of U16 Hurlers who will be led by a Bagpiper in their champions march from Bridgefield to St Sylvesters Clubhouse at 6:00pm this evening (Sat)

Following a cracking game in O'Toole Park, the Under 16 Hurlers won their C Division Championship Final by beating St Peregrines by 1-20 to 1-18 and have now completed a League and Championship Double!!

Congratulations to all the lads involved and to their mentors, trainers and helpers, especially Jimmy Denneher and John Crosse.

So, come on down to Bridgefield at 6:00 pm today and march back to our clubhouse with our latest team of champions