Midleton 1-11 Duhallow 0-8 – U-21 Hurling Championship Final

Midleton: T. Wallis; K. Burke; P. O’Mahony; L. Coughlan; P. O’Shea; J. Nagle; F. O’Mahony; S. O’Farrell; P. O’Keeffe (0-3); S. Moore (0-1); C. Lehane (0-2); C. Walsh; P. White (I. Kennefick 1-0); L. O’Farrell; P. Haughney (0-5).

Duhallow: D. Kearney; K. Tarrant; M. O’Riordan; S. Hehir (T. O’Reilly); M.Ellis; W. Egan; B. Weathers; P. Egan; B. Sheehy (0-1); K. Sheehan (E. Sheehan); M. Vaughan (0-1);  A. Walsh (0-2); E. Brosnan (0-3); L. Daly (0-1); A. O’Flynn.

Midleton deservedly beat a somewhat disappointing and over powered Duhallow team by 1-3 on Sunday night under lights in Pairc ui Rinn. A star studded Midleton team featuring Cork Seniors Luke O’Farrell, Conor Lehane and Jamie Nagle struggled badly to put away Duhallow, hitting wides well into the double figures throughout the game – indeed Duhallow had a number of goal chances in the dying minutes of the game, one in particular forcing a point blank saves from Tommy Wallis to Aidan Walsh’s shot. Still any comeback from Duhallow would have been rough justice for Midleton, who dominated throughout.

In general, Duhallow were a little disapointing and lacked the consistency of quality that Midleton had from one to fifteen. In the opening half in particular Duhallow failed to impose their will on the game, Midleton dominating possession – after the break however both Eamonn Brosnan (moved to the middle third) and to a lesser extent William Egan began to play more and more ball. Similarly Micheal Vaughan was excellent throughout at center-forward and stemmed Jamie Nagle’s infleunce as the game progressed, while Aidan Walsh had some nice moments from dead ball situations. Similarly the full-back line was pretty solid. In general though Duhallow failed to consistently win enough possession to win the game or put together meaningful passages of play and looked more a group of a few talented individuals then a team.

Midleton on the other hand had ample possession but hit a large amount of bad wides, from both play and dead ball positions, particularly in the first half. In defense, Jamie Nagle had an excellent game in the opening half while Finbarr O’Mahony was solid – inside, both corner backs were excellent throughout and along with Tommy Wallis’s point-black save prevented any Duhallow goals. Up front Midleton were a little less impressive with Paul Haughney overwhelmingly carrying the load, showing lovely control and finishing in heavy conditions. Conor Lehane similarly put in a better performance in the second half after hitting many wides in the first half while Iain Kennefick came on and worked extremely hard to get a goal. Finally, Paudie O’Keeffe steadied Midleton towards the end with some excellent frees. All in all Midleton were much deserved winners and considering the youth of many of their players are likely to be pushing for honours at this grade next year again.

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