Midleton 1-15 Bride Rovers 0-15
MIDLETON were crowned Rebel Óg U16 Premier 1 Hurling champions as they defeated a spirited Bride Rovers in an enthralling playoff final in Lisgoold on Saturday afternoon.
A superb display from centre-forward Michael Finn, who scored 0-11 of his side’s total - which includes five from play - and a crucial late goal from corner-forward Darragh Fitzgerald was enough to earn Midleton the silverware.
Momentum was a key factor in the first half as both these talented sides went on impressive scoring runs without a reply.
It was Midleton who settled into this game quickest and they raced into a two-point lead inside the opening minutes thanks to a brace of superb efforts from the clinical Michael Finn.
Rovers responded well to that setback and after levelling the scores at 0-2 apiece with an Adam Hayes free and a David Barry point, they edged in front by two themselves midway through the first period when Conor Hazelwood and Louis Roche raised white flags.
But with the help of Finn, Midleton regrouped and scored seven points in succession, their talisman claiming six of those, to lead by five with half time fast approaching.
Bride, to their credit, refused to give up and they showed that they had character in abundance as they reduced the deficit to the minimum at the interval thanks to four quick scores. The pick of the bunch came from midfielder Cillian Tobin, which made it 0-9 to 0-8 at the break.
Although Midleton pointed first at the beginning of the second half, their rivals hit back with overs from another Hayes free and an effort from play by Adam Walsh to level the scores, 0-10 each with 43 on the clock.
They would only muster one more point before the match ticked into a long period of injury time and that would cost them as Midleton scored 1-4 in that quarter.
Finn added three to his impressive tally, David Cremin scored his second sideline of the game but the decisive goal came from Darragh Fitzgerald, who pulled the loose sliotar past the keeper.
Rovers battled until the last second but they game themselves too much to do as Midleton hung on to ultimately win by a goal.
Scorers for Midleton: M Finn 0-11 (0-6 frees), D Fitzgerald 1-0, D Cremin 0-3 (0-2 sl), E Higgins 0-1.
Bride Rovers: A Hayes 0-6 (0-5 f, 0-1 65), L Roche 0-3, A Walsh 0-2 (0-1 f), D Barry, C Hazelwood, C Tobin, R O’Connell 0-1 each.
MIDLETON: Z Smith; D Scanlon, M Roe, C Beausang; T O’Leary Hayes, B O’Connell, A Moloney; T Roche, C Lambe; S O’Connor, M Finn, D Cremin; D Fitzgerald, K Nowak, D Nowask.
Subs: E Higgins for K Nowak (45), R Lester for C Lambe (58).
BRIDE ROVERS: R O’Riordan; C O’Sullivan, L Collins, E O’Connor; C Cotter, C Hazelwood, D Cashman; D Barry, C Tobin; N Kelleher, A Walsh, R O’Connell; A Hayes, J Ahern, L Roche.
Subs: A Hynes for C O’Sullivan (ht), F O’Flynn for E O’Connor (42), E O’Connor for A Hayes (58).
Referee: Arthur Murphy (Killeagh).