INTERMEDIATE HURLERS COUNTY CHAMPIONS!   20/09/2020

INTERMEDIATE HURLERS COUNTY CHAMPIONS!

Match Report by Noel O'Connor


Newcastlewest………………1-24

Na Piarsaigh …………………1-22


In as good a club hurling match as you will see in Limerick this year, a roller-coaster that had spectators (social distancing, some wearing masks) on the edge of their seats, particularly in the score-for-score final, it was heart-stopping went into extra time, but our main adult hurling team captured the county title they have been chasing since the Brians, Foley and Nix – both excellent on Sunday, were babies out the Old Mill Road and up in Castleview respectively.

Played on a perfect surface, on a beautiful hurling, friendly but energy-sapping warm day, at the Limerick GAA’s premier stadium, the LIT Pairc nan Gael. The final was a classic from beginning to end, with the issue in doubt until referee Mike Sexton blew the final whistle leading to much back-slapping, elbow-greeting, fist pumping, embracing etc., not seen since the Old Mill were declared an independent republic!

The win reflected the joy of at last capturing the title that our hurlers have been chasing since debuting in intermediate grade in 2002. It was a special moment to savour for the warriors who have distinguished themselves at the coalface for many of those winless years: Stephen Nix, Seán Browne, Maurice Murphy, Mike McMahon, Michael Quilligan, Timmy Nix and of course manager Willie Hurley who as player and mentor has given outstanding service to Newcastlewest hurling. It was great also to see the legendary Mort O’Connor, club president, former dual star with Newcastlewest and Western Gaels, mentor to many Newcastlewest teams, administrator, father figure of Newcastlewest GAA, present to see history being made and savour the victory.

The scale and intensity of the game was evident throughout the 90 minutes. Overall it was a wonderful illustration of the beautiful game.

We started well and were 1-5 to 0-4 ahead at the first water break courtesy of points from Mike Mahon (0-1), Mark Kelly )0-1), Diarmuid Kelly (0-2), Brian Nix and a quality game from Diarmuid. We could have been further ahead with a goal ‘on’ at 12 but was denied by an excellent keeper.

After the water break Na Piarsaigh found form and out-score us 0-2 to 0-5 to close the gap to 0-2 at half time, 1-7 to 0-9 at half time.

In the second half we outscored the Cahirdavin team 0-5 to 0-2 before the water break, the points came from the Brians Foley and Nix, Mike Mc, Diarmuid and Eoin Hurley and gave us a 0-4 lead. However, 1-1 to Na Piarsaigh closed the gap to 0-2 at 57 and though we were 0-2 ahead 1-15 to 1-13 at 62, Na Piarsaigh split the posts at 63 and 64 to have the game level at full time.

The effort by both teams in extra time (10 minutes each way) was immense and nerve-wracking for supporters and was also brilliant for neutrals. It went score for score. We were ahead, level, behind, level at the end of the first period – Diarmuid 0-4, Mike Mc(0-1), 1-20 each. The teams were level at 5, Mark Kell levelled for us, 1-21 each. It was still level at 9, 1-22 each (B. Nix 0-1 for us). However, in the final minutes two prodigious strikers (Eoin, Aaron McCarthy 0-1 each) broke the heart of Na Piarsaigh thereby ending our nineteen years heartbreak, and secured us a win.

Well done intermediate hurlers, county champions 2020. Success would not have been possible without the help of the following: managers Willie, coach Paul O’Grady, selectors Michael Dowling and Pa Keane, first aid Margaret Delee (a reassuring presence on the sideline) and of course other lads who were mentors in previous years (Neilius Sheehy and Pa O’Connor) who contributed to the development of the team. Again well done to all.

Team: Michael Quilligan, Mike Mulcahy, Maurice Murphy, Colm Foley, Seamus Hurley, Sean Browne, Niall Enright, Timmy Nix, Mark Kelly 0-2, Eoin Hurley 0-2, Mike McMahon 0-3, Brian Foley 0-1, Diarmuid Kelly 1-13, Stephen Nix, Brian Nix 0-3. Subs: James Kelly, Lee Woulfe, Evan McMahon 0-3, Michael Cremin, Aaron McCarthy 0-1, Darragh McMahon, Leigh Fitzgerald, Stephen Brosnan, Duadhán O’Connor, Ross Donovan. Regulars Brian Hurley, William Hurley (cruciate) and Michael Martin missed out due to injury while Liam McCartan is overseas.


Note: We must make special mention of Stephen Nix, an outstanding centre back in hurling and football for years, the soon to be veteran was injured in the semi final v Croom but worked hard during the past week to get himself right as possible, he was a key player at half forward on Sunday using all his skill to effect.  Sean Browne, another soon to be veteran slotted in at centre back where he excelled.  A tale of two veterans, two outstanding hurlers and team players.


Thanks to George Daly for the Match Day photos !!
















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