SHC FINAL: Naomh Eoin 1-12 v Easkey 0-12


In a final that was tense throughout and where the hurling was not always pretty the better team plan and committment of Naomh Eoin saw them make up for last years final loss and in the process winning their first County Senior Hurling Championship title. 

It rained constantly for the 30 minutes before the game which made the conditions very difficult for both sets of players even though the rain stopped as soon as James Judge threw the sliotar in to get the game going. It was very stop-start early on and neither side was able to take control. Both full back lines were very much on top and some excellent blocks and hooks were performed. Tony O'Kelly-Lynch got the scoring going in the sixth minute with a pointed free from his own 65. This was quickly followed by a Paul Kilcoyne point after breaking a few tackles. Andrew Kilcullen got Easkey off the mark in the 9th minute with a good point from play but this was outshone by the next score. Kevan Brennans puck out was controlled by Rory McHugh on his hurl and he went on a run leaving two Naomh Eoin lads in his week and without putting the sliotar back in his hand guided the ball over from the dugout side into the estate end. This was a score to ignite any game and Tommy O'Callaghan managed to flick over one with a short grip to restore the lead for Naomh Eoin. Joe McHugh put over a tough free and this was followed by two Tony O'K points, one a excellent point from play after good work by Arthur Wall and Gerard O'K. 

For the rest of the half it was a free scoring contest between McHugh and O'Kelly Lynch with each showing great skill considering the wet sliotar and hurls. At the break the score was 0-7 v 0-6 to Naomh Eoin. It was a half with some nice touches but it had not been a game that everyone expected. The two full back lines were well on top with Feehily, Jordan and Hickey marshaling their defence whilst Weir, Connolly and Feeney on top for Easkey with one memorable and fair shoulder on Gerard O'Kelly Lynch who played most of the half in the full forward spot.

From the throw in for the second half Tony O, broke from midfield and with 5 seconds had run forward and drove over the Easkey crossbar. This was followed a minute later with another long range free. Rory McHugh again was the man with the response and for the next five minutes Easkey took on the challenge and played their best hurling of the match with some excellent team scores and lots of good interplay. Kilcullen with a good point from out on the sideline was followed by a point driven just over the bar from an acute angle by Joe McHugh which he followed with a score to put Easkey in front from in front of his teams dugout. At this point it looked like Easkey were about to take over and go on for their first victory since 1963 but that man Tony O Kelly Lynch responded with a free and Kilcoyne put them back in front with 14 to go. 

10 minutes of play without a score lead to the tension rising for players and supporters was eventually broken by a Joe McHugh point in the 25th minute. At this time Rory McHugh had moved to centre forward, Finnian Cawley to centre back. Gerard O had moved out to midfieldfor Naomh Eoin. A long range free by Tony O fell at the 13m line with 4 minutes to go  and in the ensuing melee, Arthur Wall emerged and running trowards the stand let fly and saw his shot go into the net off the post beyond Gordon in the Easkey goal. Joe McHugh responded with a free right away but despite dropping a number of balls into the Naomh Eoin danger area there was always someone in red and black coming out with it. Another long range effort saw Paul Kilcoyne being brought down for a penalty in the second minute of injury time. Gerard O stepped up to the penalty and put it over the bar. 

From the ensuing puck out, referee Judge blew the final whistle and John Doyles team were in raptures after securing their first title in the clubs history. Tony O'Kelly Lynch was in inspired form throughout but the efforts of the Naomh Eoin defence was superb throughout in holding the Easkey forward line to so few chances. 
Brendan Leonard presented the championship cup to Naomh Eoin captain Tommy O'Callaghan who gave an emotional speech remembering all those who had helped out since the founding of the club. 

Scorers
Naomh Eoin - Tony O'Kelly-Lynch 0-8 (6f), Arthur Wall 1-0, Paul Kilcoyne 0-2, Tommy O'Callaghan 0-1, Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch 0-1 (1pen)

Easkey - Joe McHugh 0-8 (6f), Andrew Kilcullen, Rory McHugh 0-2 each




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