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Bray versus St Peregrines

22 November, 2008

Last Saturday we headed out for our final match of the year. The opposition was St Peregrines from Blakestown that is just beyond the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. A big turnout of 20 lads set out on the day. We had played them already this year in Old Conna and we managed to steal the game with a last minute free so no doubt payback would be on their mind.

After a fifty minute car trip we started our warm up routine and chaos seemed to be the order of the day as 2 players managed to get injured so the mentors weren't looking forward to the match at this rate!!

The main report comes from the green team. The pitch was very heavy and cut up after overnight rain and a previous match. Straight from the throw in Peregrines ripped into this match and quickly ran up a 10 point to nil lead during the ground hurling portion of the first half before our lads started to blow off the cobwebs.

Anybody that attends any sporting events will often tell you there was a single moment that seemed to change the tone of the game. This moment came in our match at about the ¾ mark in the first half. Owen Duffy batted down a high ball to score a skill point and Conan O'Duill immediately followed this with another skill point. We were off the mark and the team seemed to explode. Stephen Finn marshalled our defence and blocked every Peregrine attack with Evan Sweeney sweeping out the breaking balls. Liam Carolan and Owen were now on fire in the middle of the field. Owen lifted a ball while surrounded by three Peregrines players and while two attempted to block him and another attempted to hook him he got his shot in from the centre of the field and split the posts - he also shattered his hurl. Biased as the writer may be this was a superb piece of skill that a senior player would be proud of. Our tails were up and now we were hurling but much to the relief of the Peregrines players the half time whistle was blown with the score reading 12-5 to our opponents. The half time score from the white pitch was 3-2 in favour of Bray and this was to have a major bearing on the final result but read on…T

The Bray lads were first out for the second half and immediately upped the tempo even further. Peregrines battled ferociously for every ball and some more skill points were exchanged with Conan getting another for us. Fintan O'Shea in our goals was delivering massive puck outs right into the opposition half and eventually the concentrated pressure by Bray began to give results. Ryan Hannon and Ben Hoskin were terrorising the Peregrine wings and fed in some terrific ball into the centre and twice Mark Kenny was on hand to poach well-deserved scores. A couple of minutes to go … score 15-8 against us ….. Bray piling on the pressure …., Peregrines defending with all hands on deck …. parents from both teams getting fiercely excited on the line with shouts of encouragement. A puck out for Peregrines to their midfielder, he turned left, Owen blocked his way, he turned right he was blocked again, he turned left and was blocked again, holding on to long, free to Bray on the halfway line out at the sideline. Owen earned the free and he took it himself, straight over the bar (worth 3 at U10). Score was now 15-11 with about a minute left, my nerves won't take it, another Bray attack, Mark shoots and the Bray lads swamp the goalmouth, the goalie parries it away and it lands just too close to our lads as they run in and the shot is rushed and sent just wide. Time up and the ref blows the final whistle

A superb display of hurling by both teams, not a single dirty stroke in the game but full blooded tackles and blocks from both teams. The Peregrines mentors were very sporting in victory and praised our lads immensely and awarded the man of the match to Owen Duffy and commended Fintan O'Shea for superb goalkeeping and puck out distribution. For me Stephen Finn was a giant in defence and he snuffed out virtually every Peregrines attack in the second half.

The green team lost by four points but how were the white teaming doing for the aggregate score. We went over to their sideline to watch and the white team were laying siege to the Peregrines goalmouth. The score 7-3 to Bray, aggregate score 18-18. Was telepathy going on here, did our lads know we needed one more score. A shot from Ronan Browne the gaolie literally threw his body onto the ground to block the shot. There must have been 14 players in the goalmouth. Another shot from Bray, blocked again, the ball breaks to Conn Benville who lashed it to the back of the net for a score of 8-3. Aggregate score has us leading by one. They puck it out and the midfield sends it on down into their corner forward. Oisin Dougan pounces and hurleys clash, the ball breaks to Kevin Spaine who drives it back out to midfield and the ref blows the final whistle.

The White team have carried the day. Richard was managing this team on the day and he said 7 players - Oisin Dougan, Ronan Browne, Luke Steele, Conn Benville, Kevin Nolan, Aaron Lyons & Caolan Brady shared the 8 scores with Adam Barry, Kevin Spaine and Jimmy Mason manning the goals and defence keeping Peregrines scoreless except for skill points. Man of the match on this pitch was awarded to Oisin Dougan.

This game brought to an end a long season that started with three 40-50 point drubbings but ended with us holding our own against most opposition. This was gained by a lot of hard work by all the lads throughout the year and a very high attendance at training. Thanks to all the lads and we look forward to hurling in 2009.