The Maigh Cuilinn intermediate hurlers continued on their merry way last Sunday when they had a good win in the provincial final over a competitive Four Roads (Roscommon ) in Athleague.
Fergal Clancy’s charges came through on a score-line of 3-14 to 0-16, although the final scoreline did not do justice to the Roscommon champions. It was a game that was right in the balance going into the last few minutes.
The Connemara men, who will play in the Galway senior hurling championship next season for the first time in more than 30 years, were 1-9 to 0-8 in front at the small whistle. Four Roads really tore into the game on the restart and they went two ahead going into the last quarter.
The fat was in the fire at that stage and the colossal Maigh Cuilinn support at the venue was getting a tad edgy. It was difficult to call a winner at that juncture but, as in many tight games, an error was a huge factor in turning the game one way or the other.
Maigh Cuilinn’s sharp shooting corner forward Christopher Hurney was on hand to rattle the net after David Dowd, the Four Roads goalkeeper, batted the ball back into play from a Niall Mannion effort for a point.
However most people at the game felt the ball had gone over the bar - before Dowd knocked it back into play. The people who matter though, the umpires and referee, disagreed and the goal stood. Those are the breaks in sport and to winn county and provincial cups, and maybe even an All-Ireland title, you need them on your side.
That goal gave the momentum back to Maigh Cuilinn and they really steamed on to run out convincing winners.
They upped their workrate and intensity and hit the Roscommon champions with a flurry of scores to finish seven-point winners, with Hurney completing his hat-trick in injury time when he blasted a scorcher to the net.
Hurney’s hat-trick swung the game Maigh Cuilinn’s way
Maigh Cuilinn had fine displays at the back from Matt Donoghue at full-back, Barry Faherty, Tomás Higgins, who hit one superb point in the second half, and Seosamh Ó Fatharta.
Former Galway senior footballer Mark Lydon was very strong and dominant at centre-back and burst forward to good effect on a few occasions.
Eanna Noone notched 0-5 (4fs ) from midfield and used possession well, and his partner Pat Lydon hit four terrific points from play over the hour. They are a good combination and work well together.
At number 11 Vinny Faherty caught some fantastic ball. His power and height are hard to handle and his primary ball-winning from Michael Darcy's puck-outs was crucial when the game was in the balance.
Wing forward Niall Mannion worked really hard and had a very good game, while on the other wing Dan Kelly did some good things.
Inside Philip Lydon notched 0-2 from play and Hurney hit 3-1.
Ultimately it was his goals that swung the game and the Connacht title Maigh Cuilinn’s way.
Next up for them is the All-Ireland quarter-final where they will face Robert Emmets (London champions ) in London.
Maigh Cuilinn: M Darcy, SR McDermott, M Donoghue, B Faherty; T Higgins (0-1 ), M Lydon, S Ó Flatharta; E Noone (0-5, 4f ), P Lydon (0-4 ); D Kelly, V Faherty, N Mannion (0-1 ); C Bohan, P Lydon (0-2 ), C Hurney (3-1 ). Sub: M Darcy for Mannion (60 ).