(By Michael Dwyer, Gorey)
Enniscorthy CBS 0-19
Gorey Community School 1-10
The Leinster Schools ‘B’ Under 16 Hurling South Leinster final was promised to be a cracker and it certainly was an intensely fought battle with two of the king pins of Leinster B championship hurling meeting in the illusive venue of Bellefield in Enniscorthy. Gorey Community played into a significant breeze for the first half. The sides had already met in the group stages when Gorey defeated the visiting side on a scoreline of 2-22 to 3-09. Enniscorthy came to today’s game with a sense of vengeance to be sought while Gorey wished to prove their superiority. But the winners of the last game went into the final with a severe disadvantage with key players Cormac Moore and Kevin Byrne standing on the sideline because of knee injuries.
Gorey started the game in style with Yusif Frih scoring a point after just thirty seconds but soon later Enniscorthy’s Jason Lawlor scored a point from a free to regain a level playing sheet. The atmosphere in Bellefield was palpable already as a large crowd had gathered. The spectators were lucky enough to witness Conor McDonald of Gorey leap in the air, catch the sliothar and place a majestic point over the bar all from the middle of the field. Pressure on the Gorey defence line up increased but Jason Redmond, Rhys Owley and Michael O’ Brien made great clearances to deny any Enniscorthy efforts for goal. The home side then had to settle for a point from Kevin Sheridan. Attention was sought for after fourteen minutes of action for Gorey’s Daryl Murphy and Gearóid Cullen. Both players managed to play on. Cathal Dunbar ran riot on the Enniscorthy defence and popped over another point.
But yet another injury was to come for Gorey as Gearóid Cullen was carried off with ligament damage. He was then replaced by Ashley Tully. Enniscorthy then tightened the margins between the sides with Jason Lawlor and John Reck scoring points to decline Gorey’s lead. Cathal Dunbar and Kevin Molloy scored points for Gorey later in the half and despite late attacks by Gorey’s Conor MacDonald, referee Seamus Whelan deemed the first half to be complete. The half- time score read Gorey Community School 0-08 Enniscorthy CBS 0-05 with both teams believing they had more to offer to the occasion.
Enniscorthy began to extract the defensive routines of Gorey in the second half. Points from Graham O’Reilly, Kevin Sheridan, Sam Kelly and Liam Ryan for Enniscorthy denying Gorey from lengthening their lead. David Kennedy of Gorey tried to kick start a Gorey comeback with a point from a free after twelve minutes but this counter attack failed. Enniscorthy found it easy to dispossess the Gorey attacks through “swarming” and physical tackles. Jason Lawlor and Liam Ryan added to Enniscorthy’s lead while Cathal Dunbar scored a point near the end of the game. Kevin Molloy’s blocked shot on goal for Gorey was scrambled across the line by Michael Hamilton in a late effort for Gorey. David Kennedy did drop three high balls in on the square in the hope of further quick success for Gorey but that failed. Enniscorthy relished victory with a six point gap between the deflated and disillusioned Gorey side.
In an extremely competitive game Enniscorthy proved themselves in the second half. Jason Redmond and Cathal Dunbar both played well for Gorey but the strength of Liam Ryan and Kevin Sheridan displayed how Enniscorthy were superior to Gorey on the day. Captain Kevin Sheridan accepted the South Leinster final shield from Pat Henderson of Kilkenny. Enniscorthy CBS now face a Leinster semi- final against the winners of North Leinster.
Scorers: Enniscorthy: Liam Ryan 0-02, Kevin Sheridan 0-08, Jason Lawlor 0-03, Ryan Mahon, Sam Kelly and Graham O’Reilly 0-01 each.
Gorey: Michael Hamilton 1-00, Cathal Dunbar 0-03, Conor McDonald 0-05, Yusif Frih, Kevin Molloy and David Kennedy 0-01 each.
Wides: Gorey: 7 Enniscorthy: 7
Frees: Gorey: 12 Enniscorthy, 15