Rivals serve up feast of hurling
SATURDAY morning may have been overcast, grey and dismally dull, but the future of Fingal hurling looks very bright after the young starlets of St Maur's and Wild Geese sparkled in their Under-8 meeting in Rush.
Low-lying rain clouds overhead threatened to gate-crash the hurling fiesta below, but not even a deluge would have dampened the enthusiasm of these young warriors.
Thankfully the rain held off and the sizeable crowd were treated to a delightful display of hurling. Glorious ground-striking and crafty stick-work were interspersed with tough tackling and accurate shooting.
Wild Geese are enjoying a very productive season as most of their players are competing at this level for a second year, and many of them caught the eye early on.
Andrew Brennan, Liam Galvin and Niall Moran all showed a keen eye for goal as they broke Rush's resistance to find the net. Muireann Ni Mhaoildeirg proved to be a playmaker supreme with her searching passes, finding the target on almost every occasion.
Ni Mhaoildeirg's clean, powerful striking resulted in a beautiful goal for Niall Cromwell when her raking pass found him free by the left touchline and he struck from an acute angle to whizz the sliotar past Maur's keeper Jake White.
But St Maur's were equal to their opponents in every aspect of their game too. Conor Grant opened the goal-scoring for his team before Sam Quinn neatly slotted home, having skilfully anticipated a short puckout by the Oldtown team's netminder Tony Newman.
At times the game was hectic and the pace was frenetic, but as the ball, lively as a kitten, entered the Maur's danger zone, full back Matthew Mc Hale was the epitome of calmness. Coolly calculating the various points of attack, Mc Hale seemed to be always on hand to deal with Wild Geese's threats. When moved into midfield later in the game he, alongside Alex Tipp-Mc Knight, was pivotal to numerous St Maur's attacks.
However, Wilde Geese managed to edge it on the scoreboard in game won by the narrowest of margins, thanks to a treble save by Tony Newman in goal for the visitors and some stout defending by Donagh Mc Gee, Senan Campbell and Sean Packard.
Match two was a low-scoring but nonetheless skill-packed encounter, with Shane Butterly's expert strike for St Maur's the highlight. Jamie Devine, Ciaran Langan and Conor Smullen really impressed for the home side, while Oldtown's Brendan Galvin and David Monks gave sterling displays for the black and ambers.
As the second series of games continued, more sumptuously silky skills were on show. Ciaran Kelly's lengthy puck-outs were setting up swift attacks for St Maur's and one of the beneficiaries was Ross Mahady who helped himself to a hat-trick.
Luke Clane combined with Kelly, who moved outfield, to supply the killer passes for Josh Larkin and Reilly Murphy as both netted for the home team, with the pace unrelenting.
And with further scores at both ends and more dazzling displays from players on each team, it was somewhat of a disappointment when referees Seamus Harford and Tom O'Neill called a halt to the proceedings at full-time.
Both managers, St Maur's Maurice Mc Hale and Wilde Geese boss Aidan Reid, must be applauded for the massive work they put in, to produce such the high standard of hurling displayed in Rush last Saturday.
St. Maur's: Ross Mahady, Luke Mc Cann, Shane Butterly, Sean Cronin, Luke Clare, Reilly Murphy, Conor Smullen, Kenneth Ouxton, Jamie Devine, Darragh Kelly, Ciaran Kelly, James Redmond, Jake White, Matthew Mc Hale, Stephen Boyle, Conor Grant, Taylor Collins, Callum Eddison, Sean Mc Cabe, Alexander Tipp Mc Knight.
Wild Geese: David Monks, Paddy Monks, Donagh Mc Gee, Brendan Galvin, Niall Cromwell, Muireann Ni Mhaoildeirg, Cathal Mc Gee, Andrew Brennan, Liam Galvin, Niall Moran, Sean Packard, Tony Newman, Senan Campbell.
Referee: Seamus Harford/Tom O'Neill.