CASTLEMARTYR won their first U21 B hurling title at Páirc Uí Rinn after their hard-fought win over Killavullen,
Conditions were far from perfect for hurling but credit to both sides they just got on with it. The winners had a number of impressive displays from the likes of Daragh Moran, Ciaran Joyce and Mike Kelly, all who stepped up to the mark after they were down to 14 after 47 minutes, when Niall Morgan got sent off.
It took five minutes for the first score to come, as both sets of players took some time to get used to the heavy underfoot conditions.
Castlemartyr had the first real opportunity when Niall O'Donovan played Conor Ronayne in, but his effort was well saved by Killavullen keeper Padraig Cronin.
Daragh Moran pointed the resulting 65, with six minutes gone and it took another five minutes for the second score to come, when Ciaran Joyce pointed from play to double their lead.
It then became the Mike Kelly show as the Castlemartyr centre-forward hit four in-a-row from frees, to make it 0-6 to no score with 22 minutes gone.
He added his fifth a minute later to put them further in front as Killavullen were finding it hard to create any real chances.
But with 24 minutes gone they were given a lifeline when a long ball in was superbly caught by Colm Looney and he blasted to the back of the net, to make it 1-0 to 0-7.
Three minutes later and they had a chance for another goal when Mikey O'Connor's free came back off the post and was pulled on by Darragh O'Grady but his effort went just wide.
Another goal chance came their way just before half-time when Liam Fox was lining up for a shot but he was superbly hooked by Mike Cosgrave to deny him to see Castlemartyr lead 0-7 to 1-0 at half-time.
Padraig Looney got Killavullen's first point of the game in the first minute of the second-half, with Kelly replying at the other end. Joyce pointed for Castlemartyr but points from O'Connor and Paul O'Sullivan put on three between the sides.
O'Connor was on target again with Eoghan Martin responding for Castlemartyr, to make it 0-10 to 1-3, before Morgan got sent off for a straight red card offence.
O'Connor and Joyce exchanged points, before three in-a-row by Killavullen put only a point between them, 1-7 to 0-11. O'Connor hit two of them, with Mark Nagle also scoring.
But credit to Castlemartyr, with Joyce leading by example they finished strongly to secure the win. Joyce put two between them, with Martin hitting two, along with one from Andrew Kelly to see them run out deserving winners.
However now they find themselves in the unusual position of having to go back into their division to defend the title, as they now face Lisgoold in their divisional semi-final. Should they lose then they will have to give up the county title.
Scorers for Castlemartyr: M Kelly 0-6 (0-5 f), C Joyce 0-4, E Martin 0-3, D Moran (65), A Kelly 0-1 each.
Killavullen: C Looney 1-0, M O'Connor 0-4 f, P Looney, P O'Sullivan, M Nagle 0-1 each.
CASTLEMARTYR: D Coughlan; C Newlands, M Cosgrave, P Fleming; Z McAuliffe, D Moran, C Whyte; C Martin, C Joyce; J McGann, M Kelly, C Ronayne; N Morgan, E Martin, N O'Donovan.
Subs: B Napier for C Newlands (43), J Stack for C Ronayne (48), D Cashman for N O'Donovan (57).
KILLAVULLEN: P Cronin; P Angland, F Magner, M Fresh; S Fox, E Buckley, B Cotter; P O'Sullivan, M O'Connor; E Cotter, L Fox, P Looney; D O'Grady, C Looney, J O'Connor.
Subs: N Butler for D O'Grady (h-t), M Nagle for L Fox (48).
Referee: Ian Thomas (Carrigaline).