Ulster are the junior hurling champions for the second consecutive year after a hard fought victory over the Guards from Hoboken. Both sides had chances for victory and indeed Hoboken opened a four point lead to start the game with Lee Wall and Eamonn Glynn in impressive form.
In a scene that was to repeat throughout the day, Ulster fought back and they used a goal to open their account to start the revival. They tacked on a point and the sides were level on 10 minutes as the game started to come alive.
The battle between Paul Loughnane and Luke Loughlin was already starting to heat up, with both playing critical roles in their team’s chances, the former as an assister, the latter as a scorer.
Hoboken added points from Nester, Wall and a long range effort from David Varley but again Ulster used a major to get back in the game. They went into the break 2-6 to 0-10 ahead with all to play for in the quest for the John Kelly Junior Memorial Championship Cup.
Ulster extended their advantage to open the second half with points from Robbie Jackson and Loughlin. Hoboken responded with 1-3 to draw level for what was to be the final time.
A third goal for the winners from John Broderick again put the side in front. On each Hoboken score Ulster responded, and they were able to maintain the three point lead as time wound down.
Two long dropping balls bounced around the winner’s area, but excellent defensive play from Eamonn Gunn and Ciaran McHenry helped to quell the attacks. Superb defensive play at the Guard end from Darren Coffey and Paul Loughnane stopped a number of attacks but time was now ticking down. The final goal that they would need to force extra time never arrived.
Hoboken: 1 Jack Hayes, 2 Shane O’Grady, 4 Darren Coffey, 6 Paul Loughnane 7 Cormac O’Regan 8 Danny McGee, 9 David Varley, 10 Leo Quigley, 11 Eamonn Glynn, 12 Brian Nester, 13 Lee Wall, 15 Shane Fleming. Subs: Shane Bourke, Mike O’Regan.
Ulster: 1 Dermot Harrington, 2 Ciaran McLenny, 4 Chris Teague, 5 Conor McGorman, 6 Peter Hatzer, 7 Cathal McHenry, 8 Darren Doherty, 9 Garret McFettridge, 10 Benny Tornsey, 11 Luke Loughlin, 12 Ian Gibbs, 13 John Broderick, 15 John Paul Murphy. Subs: Ian Gibbs, Adam Fitzgerald, Brian Fitzgerald, Cathal Hatzer
Man of the match: Ger McFettridge Ulster.
Referee: Eugene Kyne.
Time to look at the ref. In a game that was always going to be a close encounter, the flow was mainly good. A player from each side should have received second yellows for sure in hindsight.
Would they have influenced the game? Perhaps, perhaps not, as the Ulster one could have been early in the second half, the Hoboken, later. A couple of close decisions for points, with no hawk eye. Hopefully they were correctly awarded.
For the second week in a row there were no programs on hand for the county finals played at Gaelic Park. Two finals in the junior ranks deserved far more.
It is not that hard to get team sheets ahead of the games, especially in August when teams resemble strongly what they have been for the summer. Throw in a picture or two of the sides; they could have been taken at the semi final stage.
The fans love to have them as a way to recognize the players, and the players love them as a keepsake. To start with, the 60 odd players on Sunday deserved more.