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Thrilling final as ’Bridge take U-16 hurling title

 Ballyea’s Darragh Crowe moves in to challenge Evan McInerney.

Sixmilebridge 1-16  Ballyea 1-12

Sixmilebridge captured the U-16A hurling title when they overcame Ballyea in a thrilling contest at Newmarket on Saturday. The win means that the title has been won by the ’Bridge for a third year in succession.

The winners turned in a powerful second half display, which proved decisive in a game in which there were a number of good performances.
Both sides were tipped for honours from the beginning of the season and, given that they have had a great rivalry at U-12 and U-14 levels, a tight contest was expected.
Ballyea played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and they had an early goal from Martin O’Leary. They dominated the opening quarter, at the end of which they had a six-point advantage, 1-5 to 0-2, with the points coming from Stan Lineen, Martin O’Leary and Martin Quigley.
When the half-time whistle sounded, Ballyea were 1-7 to 0-5 in front, with Conleth Agney and Jamie Shanahan striking some good points for the winners.
The ’Bridge stepped up a few gears for the second half and they scored the first four points through Shanahan (2), Darragh Fitzgerald and Seán Lynch to cut the deficit to the minimum. Shanahan was now at full-forward for the winners and he was causing huge problems for Ballyea. He was on target again to tie up the game at 1-9 to 0-12.
The vital score came 10 minutes from time when a Kieran Quinlan delivery ended up in the net after Shane Harkin, Eoin Donnellan and John Lynch challenged for possession. From here on, Sixmilebridge were on top and added scores from Agnew, Shanahan and John Mulready. A late goal from Tony Kelly wasn’t enough for Ballyea to get back into contention and the ’Bridge were crowned champions.
Best for the winners were Darragh McNamara, the brilliant Brian Carey, Dylan Fleming, Seadna Morey, Conleth Agnew, man of the match Jamie Shanahan, John Lynch and Alan Mulready.
Ballyea had excellent performers in Tony Kelly, Gearóid O’Connell, Jack Browne, Martin O’Leary, Stan Lineen and Shane Harkin.

Sixmilebridge: Pat Freeman; Darragh McNamara, Brian Carey, Dylan Fleming; Eoin Hogan, Seadna Morey, Evan McInerney; John Mulready (0-1), Conleth Agnew (0-2); Seán Lynch (1-2), Darragh Fitzgerald (0-1), Jamie Shanahan (0-9); Kieran Quinlan, Alan Mulready (0-1), Alex Morey.
Subs: Paul Finnan for Morey.
Ballyea: Shane Harkin; Eoin Donnellan, Gearóid O’Connell (0-1), Darragh Crowe; Diarmuid Lorrigan, Jack Browne, Joe Neylon; Stan Lineen (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-4); Martin O’Leary (1-3), Martin Quigley (0-2), Niall Deasy; Tadhg Lynch (0-1), Alan Dalton, Daniel Blake.
Referee: Damian Fox (Wolfe Tones).


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