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18 October 2011

Our U14 hurlers travelled to Glenavy to compete in a six team tournament involving;
Gortnamona (Belfast),
Pearses (Belfast),
Shane O’Neills (Glenarm)and
All Saints (Ballymena)
We were drawn into a group with All Saints and Pearces.

For the first match, we were up against All Saints. From the very start, we took control of the game. Finbar Malumphy opened the scoring with a brace of well struck points. The midfield and forwards worked tirelessly to keep the ball in the All Saints half. After a few wides, Nathan Jones struck a beautiful ball into the net. Shortly after, Conor McPolin made a surging run from the right wing and struck a sweet shot into All Saints net. The Ballymena team tried hard to break the defence of Ballyvarley but only managed to score a solitary point. Conor and Louis Murray finished off the half by scoring a point each.

Half time score : Ballyvarley 2-4 All Saints 0-1

In the second half, All Saints opened up the scoring with a well taken point. Fortunately they were not able to get past the defence of Connal McNally, Ruari Stewart and Callum McConville who marshalled the balls up field. Conor McPolin added to his scoring with another goal and a point which was then followed by Louis with a point.

Full time score : Ballyvarley 3-6 All Saints 0-2

In the second match, Ballyvarley were up against a more physical Pearses side. They opened up the score with a point from a free and a long range puck out which dipped below the Ballyvarley goal. We were on the back foot and needed to even up the score. Louis Murray came to the rescue with a couple of determined goals and Nathan followed up with a well struck point.

Half time score : Ballyvarley 2-1 Pearses 1-1

For the second half, Nathan followed up his scores with two goals. Pearses competed well but Ballyvarley stopped their advances by various means and conceded three frees which resulted in Pearses scoring a further two goals and a point. Ballyvarley’s forwards stepped up a gear and Stephen McKey regained some of his form from earlier in the season by scoring a further two goals.

Full time score : Ballyvarley 6-1 Pearses 3-2

Ballyvarley had made it to the final against a very good hurling side from North Antrim , Shane O’Neills, who had won both matches in their section of the tournament.
Our boys were full of confidence and went straight on the attack, Glenarm conceded a free which was expertly sent over for a point by Conor McPolin. The Glenarm men replied with a point of their own but from that point, most of the possession was with Ballyvarley who worked hard for every ball. Nathan , Niall Daly and Louis all had good chances which went just wide of the nets. Conor once again struck an excellent goal and Niall finally got his first point.

Half time score : Ballyvarley 1-2 Shane O’ Neills 0-1

Even though we were four points up, we knew that Shane O’Neills had the class to win the game. They stepped up their play and made several surging runs up the field. The Ballyvarley defence and midfield defended in numbers, each of them throwing themselves in front of the attackers until they won the ball back and cleared it up the field. At one stage, a Glenarm man was straight through for a goal, only to be challenged by Eoin MConville who conceded a penalty. Eoin, Louis and Connor stood firm on the goal line and Eoin was able to deflect the penalty wide to give a forty five metre free which was put wide.
From the puck out, Conor again struck a point to extend our lead. Ballyvarley could have been content with keeping the score as it was but they were fired up. Niall Daly, who had played most of the season in full back, must have hit about three wides keeping the pressure on the Antrim side until he passed the ball to Stephen McKey who kicked the ball over the line for the final score of the match

Full time score : Ballyvarley 2-3 Shane O’Neills 0-1

Ballyvarley team – Eoin McConville, Ruari Stewart, Ruari Conway, Jack Rice, Nathan Jones, Michael McKey, James Teague, Callum McConville, Finbar Malumphy, Niall Daly, Louis Murray, Conor McPolin, Stephen McKey, Connal McNally