DUHALLOW U-21 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL Croke Rovers 0-16 Robert Emmetts 0-5 A NEW era dawned for Croke Rovers on adding another name to the roll of honour by overcoming Robert Emmetts in the Duhallow U21 Hurling Championship Final at inclement Castlemagner on Saturday last.
In the first season of amalgamated teams, Kilbrin no strangers to outright glory, joined up with neighbours Castlemagner where a greater work ethic enabled the victors dominate the possession stakes and register the scores with greater regularity.
From a novel pairing, a Newmarket and Lismire line up formed the Robert Emmetts banner to provide the opposition. And while Emmetts delivered a decent account, a lack of penetration upfront proved their undoing on a more sophisticated and adventurous Croke Rovers.
A winter shower prior to the start militated against fancy hurling yet credit both sides for an entertaining encounter. Rovers had quickly seized the early initiative on steadying points to Kieran Sheahan and Shane Crowley.
Emmetts strove to pull their game together, defensively Paudie Allen, Gavin Forde, Alan Ryan and Michael O'Leary resisted stoutly with Barry O'Connor offering neat touches in attack. However poor shooting served to severely limit Emmetts progress on shooting a sequel of wides from play and frees. Though Paul Verling did find the range, Emmets promised more than they achieved.
Crokes remained firmly in the driving seat with Sheahan , Stephen O'Reilly, Bryan Barry and Shane Crowley adding to the tally for a clear 0- 9 to 0- 3 advantage at the interval.
Rovers shaded the territorial stakes upon the restart though Verling answered points by Sheahan and Crowley. As erratic shooting now surrounded Crokes game, Emmetts relied totally on Verling for all their scores with just one coming off play.
That allowed Crokes hold command, fortified by a solid defence where Terry Cantillon, Gareth Linehan and Daniel Sheahan shone, cushioned by the workrate of Patrick Egan and substitute Michéal O'Riordan in the centre.
A forceful brand of hurling repeatedly created the openings in attack for Kieran and Eoin Sheahan, along with Crowley and Barry to point as did subs O'Riordan and Conor Murphy.
Emmetts tried desperately to rescue the situation but Crokes stood firm to wrap up the most convincing of wins. CROKE ROVERS: D Daly; K O'Mahony, T Cantillon, T Mullane; G Linehan, D Sheahan, D O'Mahony; P Egan, B O'Mahony; E Sheahan 0-2, K Sheahan 0-4f, T O'Reilly; S O'Reilly 0-2, B Barry 0-2 (1f), S Crowley 0-4. Subs. M O'Riordan 0-1 for B O'Mahony (39), C Murphy 0-1 for Crowley (51). ROBERT EMMETTS: S McAulliffe; D R Guiney, Colm Noonan, P Allen; A Ryan, G Forde, M O'Leary; E Allen, Cathal Noonan; B O'Connor, B O'Callaghan, J Flaherty; B O'Connell, D Quinlan, P Verling 0-5 (4f). Subs. N Barrett for E Allen(39), D Enright for Guiney (44), J Kiely for Verling (53), B Lane for Flaherty (55). REFEREE: E Walsh (Freemount)