Moloney stars as ‘Cross retain title

Mid Minor A Hurling Final ....Holycross Ballycahill 0-17 Sarsfields 1-10

Mid Minor A Hurling Final ....Holycross Ballycahill 0-17 Sarsfields 1-10

Brilliant sunshine greeted a brilliant contest and the big difference between the sides was the brilliance of Holycross Ballycahill wing forward Liam Moloney who bagged 0-7 from play and tormented the Sars’ backs all the way through. Yes, it was one of those special gamnes for Moloney as he displayed a vast array of skills - everything he touched seemed to turn to gold on the day.

The sides had played out a thrilling contest in the 2012 decider and the latest final didn’t disappoint either. It had everything - great scores, superb defending, some wonderful high fielding and great passages of play. And, the key to the Holycross Ballycahill win, apart from Moloney’s heroics, was their ability to win aerial ball and therefore primary possession. The dominated the middle third for most of the game and made it count.

Points from Liam Moloney and Jamie Woods had the victors off to a good start, but Sarsfields, playing the aid of the breeze, responded and went ahead after Sean Butler, Patrick Carroll and Billy McCarthy pointed for them. Shane Ryan levelled for Holycross Ballycahill with a 65, but Sarsfields received a real shot in the arm when a free from long range from Sean Butler was deflected into the net in the 10th minute.

The expectation was that Sarsfields would press on, but they didn’t and actually failed to score again in the half. By contrast Holycross Ballycahill with Kieran Dwyer and Shane Ryan in sparkling form in defence, added 0-6 to go in at half time with a 1-3 to 0-8 lead - the scores coming from Jamie Woods (4) and Moloney again (2). Popular opinion had the Holycross Ballycahill total at 0-9, but referee Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan Dualla) and his team had it at 0-8, and so it stood.

It had been a very solid second quarter from the champions and eight scores to four was more an indication of the way the game was going. Sarsfields, without the goal to their credit, would have been in a very serious situation at the break.

It was Liam Moloney again who took the game to Sarsfields after the turnaround with two fine scores - his second one a real peach after he caught the puckout and angled the ball between the sticks on the run from close to the sideline. It was a massive score, but Sarsfields responded with Sean Butler and Conor Lanigan putting just one between them again.

Lanigan had a real goal chance in the 10th minute but was frustrated to see his effort off the crossbar. Instead he had to be content to trade points with Luke O’Mara, while Jamie Woods kept Holycross Ballycahill in the driving seat with another pointed free - his 5th of the day.

Sarsfields hit a purple patch with Billy McCarthy, Ronan Maher and Sean Butler giving them the lead again with three minutes to go - Jack Lineen was having a fine game at full back for them with Caley Maher was getting onto a lot of ball at half back.

However, the champions composure was evident and they went back to basics to create scores from Woods and a tight angled effort from Peter Gavin shoving them into the lead with a minute to go. And, Liam Moloney bagged another two to go along with Jamie Woods 8th of the day to seal the title in what was a thrilling climax for them - they flashed over 0-5 in four minutes at the end.

Holycross Ballycahill were the better side but 13 wides didn’t help their case. Still with Moloney Kieran O’Dwyer, Shane Ryan, Jamie Woods, Jack Skehan , Conor Ryan and Luke O’Mara on their game, they had enough to see the game out .

Sarsfields worked hard to get into a good position near end game but just fell short in the final analysis. Best for them were Jack Lineen, Ronan Maher, Conor Lanigan, Sean Butler and Billy McCarthy, while Caley Maher and Seamie Hanafin both finished strongly.

Teams and Scorers:

Holycross Ballycahill: S Skelly, D Carroll, C Ryan, K O’Dwyer, R Nally, S Ryan 0-1, J Skehan, M Stakelum, P Russell, L O’Mara 0-1, C Maher, L Moloney 0-7, J Woods 0-8, P Gavin, B Hanrahan. Subs: C Hehir.

Sarsfields: W Tierney, D Russell, J Lineen, J O’Connell, M Fogarty, R Maher 0-1, C Maher, B McCarthy 0-2, K Dunne, G Maher, C Lanigan 0-1, P Carroll 0-1, S Butler 1-4, T Tierney, D Fogarty. Subs: S Hanafin, F Linnane.

Referee: J Ryan (Boherlahan Dualla)