Mícheál Breathnach 0-15
‘GOALS win games’ goes the saying and that proved to be the case again in last Sunday’s Junior 1 Hurling Final as Sylane edged passed Mícheál Breathnach. Oran Martin’s goal at the end of the first half proved to be decisive, giving Sylane a vital cushion in what was a contest between two well-matched teams.
You only need to look back at the recent history of this competition to see how little separates the sides. Sunday’s clash was the third time in a row the clubs met in the final with Sylane taking the 2015 title after extra-time with Mícheál Breathnach eeking out a one point win last year.
Stephen Reilly got Sylane off to the better start, raising a white flag after just 12 seconds but Cian Mac Giolla Bhríde wasn’t long in opening up Mícheál Breathnach’s account in response. Points from Alan Cullinane and Paul Burke soon had Sylane 0-3 to 0-1 ahead in the 5th minute but Mícheál Breathnach centre forward Breandán Ó Conghaile had his side quickly level with two points from play.
Sylane edged ahead again through Paul Burke and Shane Glynn but three points in quick succession from Ruadhán Ó Béarra, Joe Ó Conghaile and Éinne Ó Conghaile saw the Cois Fharraige side take the lead for the first time in the 14th minute.
Points from Paul Burke and Alan Cullinane, either side of a Joe Ó Conghaile free, saw the sides tied up again, 0-7 each, but Sylane grabbed a crucial goal three minutes before the break. Alan Cullinane had just put his side ahead from a free before he broke clear of the Mícheál Breathnach defence and, though his shot was well-saved by Kevin Ó Conghaile in goal, Oran Martin was on hand to sweep the rebound into the net.
Joe Ó Conghaile responded with a free for Mícheál Breathnach but another Sylane point, Oran Martin scoring after being picked out by a neat pass from Stephen Reilly, saw them go in four points ahead at the break, 1-9 to 0-8.
Martin nearly got Sylane off to a great start to the second half but following a good run, he was well-hooked by Macdara Ó Béarra and Martin’s follow-up shot was saved. Sylane still managed to stretch their lead to five with Alan Cullinane converting a 25m free.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune