Borris-Kilcotton confirmed their status once again as the top underage hurling club in the county, as they landed their fourth minor hurling title in succession with a masterful team display at O’Moore Park on Saturday, as led by the outstanding PJ Scully they proved far superior in the finish to the Cha Dwyer led Harps.
Coming in as red hot favourites, they were tested to the very limit for the opening half, but giving a display of point scoring they shot a hugely impressive total of 23 points to run out convincing winners in the end. This was essentially a team display as Borris-Kilcotton confirmed their status as the top minor club once again, and while PJ Scully picked up his fourth championship medal at this level, and led by example (he scored 0-10) it was by no means a one man show as five of the six forwards hit 0-12 between them and all of them from play.
It was always going to be a shootout between Cha and PJ and the two players who have been underage team mates with Laois for the last five years didn’t disappoint, as they saved their best for the big day, and despite the Ballinakill man’s best efforts he lacked the support in scoring up front.
PJ on the other hand, moved from his traditional full forward line role of the previous three finals to midfield and he had a huge presence in the area, as he won an amount of possession tapped over some lovely points from play and was deadly accurate from frees. He had plenty of help with Ciaran O’Brien and Joe Campion, both contenders for the man of the match award, with industrious displays that saw them score 0-3 each while Daire Quinlan, Jamie Dooley and Willie Whelan hit a brace of points each
Borris-Kilcotton also had the outstanding Eoin Fleming between the posts with one of his saves a stupendous stop, while his massive puck outs always had The Harps under pressure. In front of him Stephen Finnan, Conor Quinlan and Colm Stapleton had fine games in defence.
PJ Scully set up Daire Quinlan for the opening point and great work by Ciaran O’Brien led to Jamie Dooley notching a second in the opening two minutes, before Greg Aylward got The Harps on the scoreboard before a brilliant long ball from Jamie Dooley found a flying Joe Campion and he rifled over. The quality of the contest was of the highest standard, and Cha added to it with a massive long range point over his shoulder as the scores flowed. Ciaran O’Brien hit a fine effort from the wing, Cha kept his side in touch and a PJ Scully free gave Borris Kilcotton a 0-6 to 0-3 lead after 13 minutes of frantic play.
The Harps then hit a scoring spell and two super points from Cha and another from MJ Dunphy had the game tied up by the 20th minute, and the after PJ had edged his side ahead again up stepped Cha and blasted a 20m free to the roof of the net to give his side the lead. Borris-Kilcotton fought back and two Scully frees and another fine point from Ciaran O’Brien gave them a one point half time lead, but they were lucky to be in that position as twice Eoin Fleming denied them goals. The first save was from Cha but the second was just shot stopping at its brilliant best, as he denied Conor Deegan a certain goal as he stopped, controlled and cleared with amazing skill as his side led at the break 0-10 to 1-6.
The scene was set for a tight and competitive second half but Borris-Kilcotton continued to show that they possessed that strength in depth, particularly in the scoring department and by the midway point of the half led they by six points as they picked off scores from all angles. Willie Whelan and Joe Campion both scored as they took advantage from long puck outs from Eoin Fleming, catching, turning and striking, Colm Stapleton landed a massive point from the middle of the park, Ciaran O’Brien hit a great point from the sideline and Martin Daly came on to set up Willie Whelan for a second as Borris-Kilcotton forged ahead.
Cha kept plugging away from frees but then PJ Scully hit four of the next five scores and Daire Quinlan added another for a nine point lead with five minutes remaining. Cha blasted another free to the net but it was too late for his side, and PJ Scully fittingly capped a man of the match display in his final game as a minor with a superb strike from outfield before climbing the steps to collect the Harry Gray Cup.
SCORERS - Borris-Kilcotton: PJ Scully 0-10 (seven frees), Joe Campion, Ciaran O’Brien 0-3 each, Willie Whelan, Jamie Dooley and Daire Quinlan 0-2 each, Colm Stapleton 0-1; The Harps: Cha Dwyer 2-7 (2-5 frees), MJ Dunphy 0-2, Greg Aylward, Gavin Dunne 0-1
BORRIS-KILCOTTON: Eoin Fleming; Conor Quinlan, Stephen Finan, Conor Kilbane; Gearoid Kilmartin, Colm Stapleton, Darragh Fitzpatrick; Bill Meade, PJ Scully; Daire Quinlan, Jamie Dooley, Ciaran O’Brien; Joe Campion, William Whelan, Michael Scully. Subs: Martin Daly for Kilmartin (43 mins), Stephen Campion for Michael Scully (45 mins), Mark Whelan, Ciaran Sweeney, Ian Kennedy for Kilbane, O’Brien and Dooley in injury time.
THE HARPS GAELS: Peter Walsh; Paul Simms, Gavin Dunne, Aaron Dunne; James Lappin, Ronan Delahunty, Richard Saunders; Colm Dunphy, Kieran Freeman; Tadgh O’Sullivan, Cha Dwyer, MJ Dunphy; Conor Deegan, Mark Hamm, Greg Aylward. Subs: Rory Doyle for Hamm (33 mins), Ciaran Costigan for Freeman (51 mins)