Sarsfields 1-14 Glen Rovers 1-7
SARSFIELDS are the Rebel Óg U15 Premier 1 Hurling Champions as they defeated a spirited Glen Rovers by seven points in a highly entertaining final at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday morning.
A captain’s performance from Barry O’Flynn, who scored 1-2, built on the foundations of a strong display from his entire defence ensured that it was Sars who deservedly claimed the silverware with this seven-point victory.
It was a repeat of last season's U14, which Sars also won, though the Glen had defeated the same opposition in the opening round robin game earlier this summer.
The Glen reached this stage of the competition by edging a thriller against Douglas by a point in the semi-final, 3-13 to 4-9.
They started this game on the front foot and they opened the scoring in just the second minute thanks to an excellent point from corner-forward Scott Lawlor.
Sars, on the other hand, qualified for this showpiece occasion in a more convincing manner as they comprehensively defeated Ballincollig by eight points at the beginning of the month, notching a stunning five-goal haul in the process.
It didn’t take them long to muster a response here as they immediately charged up the other end seconds after falling behind and duly levelled the terms with a fine strike from midfielder Darragh O’Donovan.
A clever pass inside by Zack Herlihy created the space for Luke Hogan to join his midfield partner on the scoresheet while also giving his side the lead before a well-taken brace from the lively Callum Austin ensured the men from Glanmire led 0-4 to 0-1 by the ninth minute.
It was no more than they deserved as they were now dominating possession and first to almost every breaking ball.
In fact, they ought to have been further ahead but by the 13th minute, they had already struck six wides. That number would reach 10 by the halftime break.
And for a period it looked like those misses would prove costly as, by the first water break of the morning, Glen Rovers were ahead when Diarmuid Wall fired over a free, and Jack O’Sullivan split the uprights from a tight angle either side of full-forward Cian Walsh expertly blasting the sliotar into the bottom right corner of the net, 1-3 to 0-4.
But Sars regrouped during that water break and they would keep their opponents scoreless in the second quarter of this final.
They would level terms shortly after the restart with a Darragh O’Donovan free before they grabbed their first goal of the game following a powerful run and finish by captain Barry O’Flynn.
From there, they never looked back and four more unanswered points would see them ahead by 1-9 to 1-3 at the beginning of the second half with the pick of those scores belonging to Zack Herlihy.
Some superbly executed frees from Conor McCarthy kept Rovers in the hunt until the end and they almost set up an interesting finale but substitute Daniel Heffernan was denied by a brave save from goalkeeper Jack Austin.
The Glen needed their own keeper Josh Goulding to produce a string of fine stops of his own before they saw Scott Lawlor dismissed late on.
Regardless, the win was never in doubt for Sars, and driven on by O’Flynn in particular, they ensured they responded almost every time they conceded to ultimately secure the win and the much-coveted trophy by an impressive seven-point margin.