Sublime Ross O'Sullivan fires Na Piarsaigh to U16 Premier 1 hurling glory

Cork minor hits 2-9 in a Man of the Match performance
Sublime Ross O'Sullivan fires Na Piarsaigh to U16 Premier 1 hurling glory

Na Piarsaigh players celebrate after defeating Valley Rovers in the Rebel Og U16 P1HC final at Bishopstown. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Na Piarsaigh 3-15

Valley Rovers 3-13

A Man of the Match performance from Ross O'Sullivan saw Na Piarsaigh win the Rebel Óg Premier 1 U16 HC final at Bishopstown.

O'Sullivan showed why he was part of the Cork minor panel last year and why he is likely to be a major player next season with his tally of 2-9. He was outstanding from start to finish and kept the northside club in contention before a 55th-minute goal from Alex Lynch followed by a Sean Paul Cooke point decided this gripping game.

Both sides had plenty of quality displays with Cooke, Lynch, and Kian Galvin also playing their part in their victory.

For Valley Rovers, it was heartache for the second week in a row as they lost the football decider to Douglas, but credit must go to the players and mentors for reaching both finals. Sean Mac an tSaoi was every bit as good in the hurling decider as he was in the football one, with David Carthew, Anthony Slattery, and Ted McGrath also impressing.

They were up against a quality Piarsaigh outfit, who two years ago lost out in the All-Ireland Féile final. Yet have no doubt they and Valleys will be two of the side to watch in the minor championship next season.

All through there was little between the sides, with Lynch's late goal putting them a point up before Cooke pointed to secure the title. Both sides had a player sent off late on for an off-the-ball incident, with Conor Desmond seeing red for Valleys and Patrick McGrath also heading for the sideline for Piarsaigh.

Early points from Eoin Guinane and Mac an tSaoi put Valleys in front, with O'Sullivan replying with two white flags of his own. A goal from Kevin Dart O'Flynn and another white flag from Mac an tSaoi saw their side 1-4 to 0-4 up by the water break.

Piarsaigh hit back strongly and two from O'Sullivan helped them back to parity with 20 minutes gone. O'Sullivan added two more, and he raised a green flag to reel in Valleys.

Na Piarsaigh's Ross O'Sullivan celebrates the second of his goals against Valley Rovers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Na Piarsaigh's Ross O'Sullivan celebrates the second of his goals against Valley Rovers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

O'Sullivan's second goal, just before the break, put Piarsaigh a point up at half-time, 2-7 to 1-9, and all to play for in the second half.

Mac an tSaoi found the back of the net and also pointed to put Valleys three points up, but again Piarsaigh replied in style. O'Sullivan hit two frees and by the second-half water break, there was only a point in it, with Valleys 2-12 to 2-11 up.

Again Piarsaigh showed their quality with O'Sullivan raising three white flags on the trot to put them back in front.

A brilliant team move, involving Carthew and Dart O'Flynn, saw the latter play Anthony Slattery in for Valley's third goal, and with Ruairi O'Donovan adding a point the title looked like it was heading to Innishannon.

Until Piarsaighs' crucial third goal from Alex Lynch: 3-14 to 3-13.

Cooke added a point as time ran out on Valleys and Na Piarsaigh were crowned champions in a thrilling encounter.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: R O'Sullivan 2-9 (0-6 f), A Lynch 1-2, P Lehane 0-2, DJ Coffey, SP Cooke 0-1 each.

Valley Rovers: S Mac an tSaoi 1-8 (0-2 f), K Dart O'Flynn 1-1, A Slattery 1-0, E Guinane, H O'Sullivan, S Ryan, R O'Donovan 0-1 each.

NA PIARSAIGH: S Lyons; K Galvin, A Burke, P McGrath; C Higgins, P Hosford, J Hutchinson; S P Cooke, P Lehane; C Meaney, R O'Sullivan, E Cronin; B Dwyer Harrington, A Lynch, DJ Coffey.

Sub: J McSweeney for B Dwyer Harrington.

VALLEY ROVERS: R Kelleher; J Woods, T McGrath, R O'Donovan; S O'Connor, E Guinane, A Slattery; S Ryan, M Woods; F Nash, S Mac an tSaoi, H O'Sullivan; K Dart O'Flynn, D Carthew, J Twohig.

Sub: C Desmond for J Twohig.

Referee: Cathal McAllister, Aghada.

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