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Fiachra Kirby of Ballyea celebrates a goal against Inagh-Kilnamona during their U-17 Hurling Academy A Final at Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly

All guns blazing as Ballyea take U17 academy thriller


Michael O’Connor reports on a thrill-a-minute shootout for the U17A Academy title

BALLYEA 5-16
INAGH KILNAMONA 4-14

ONE of the better games in the minor of 2021 was reserved for this thrill a minute Under 17A academy final in Éire Óg GAA grounds on Sunday morning.

It must be acknowledged that both clubs turned out two well drilled second teams and based on the abilities of those on view they will be strong adult players in the coming years.

Gearoid Barry opened the scoring for Inagh/Kilnamona as the favourites tag was resting on the shoulders of the Ballyea players who were missing the services of Cody Killoughrey, Robbie Markham and Jade Gallery. The skilful Fiachra Kirby responded for Ballyea’s opening score.

Cian Mc Mahon and Darragh O Neill of Ballyea in action against Jack Cullinan and Adrian O’Leary of Inagh-Kilnamona

At the end of a pulsating end to end action first quarter Ballyea held a slender (2-3) to (1-4) lead.

Fiachra Kirby and a long range free from Eoin Kennedy that went all the way to the net were the Ballyea goal scorers as Jack Mescall hit the Inagh/Kilnamona goal.

Micheal De Brun and Mescall (goal) were on the scoresheet for Inagh/Kilnamona as they took the lead. Jack Mescall and a brace of points from the stylish Gearoid Barry and Barry finished off the first half with a goal to leave Inagh/Kilnamona apparently on the way to victory with a (3-8) to (2-5) lead.

Eoin Kennedy (2) sent over the two second quarter points as Ballyea appeared to struggle with the strong fast moving Inagh/Kilnamona midfield and forward lines.

The brilliance of skill and effort provided by both sides in the first half was replicated in the second half as the key players in both sides delivered.

Adrian O Leary of Inagh-Kilnamona in action against Dillon Killoughery of Ballyea

Eoin Kennedy (0-4) kept the scoreboard ticking over but it was the hat trick of goals from Fiachra Kirby that really dragged Ballyea back into the game and he added a point for good measure.

Inagh/Kilnamona struck back with Jack Mescall (2), Micheal DeBrun (0-1) and (1-3) from Gearoid Barry.

The midfielder struck for his goal from a penalty in the final four minutes of the second half and this left only the minimum between the sides but Ballyea finished the better with four scores
from Eoin Kennedy (2) and Luke Minogue to secure the title.

After the game Stephen McNamara vice chairperson Bord na nÓg Iomaint presented the Trophy to Ballyea captain Thomas McInerney.

Inagh/Kilnamona: Frank Roughan, Niall Keane, Alex Leyden, Jack Cullinan, Adrian O’Leary, Neil Hegarty, Eamonn Deveraux, Micheal De Brun (0-3), Gearoid Barry(2-6), Darragh Casey, Robert Dowling (0-2), Declan Hehir, Donnacha Power, Jack Mescall (2-3), Oisin Daffy. Subs: Luke McGuane for Daffy, Michael Cotter for Hehir, Luke Kelly for Power,

Ballyea: Conor Murphy, Thomas McInerney, Paddy Keane, John Lewis, Cormac O’Muineachain, Eddie Slattery, Darragh O’Neill, Eoin Kennedy (1-7), Dillon Killoughrey (0-3), Cian McMahon, Cormac Connolly, Eoin Coote (0-1), Jack McNamara, Fiachra Kirby (3-3), Jack Cotter. Subs: Luke Minogue (0-2)

Referee: Niall Malone, (Éire Óg, Inis)

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