Fr Murphy’s are through to the All-Britain Junior Hurling Championship Final
Fr Murphy’s: 1-11
John Mitchel’s: 0-11
By Martin Mannering
Fr Murphy’s advanced to the final of the All Britain Junior Hurling championship after a keenly contested affair against Birmingham’s John Mitchel’s at Parc na hEireann on Sunday. It took the London side some time to get to grips with their opponents but a much improved second half was enough to see them home.
Mitchel’s started much the brighter and were more composed with Padraig Conlon’s accuracy from placed balls giving them a foothold in the tie. The centre forward had his side two in front within five minutes the second of which was a cracking effort from out on the left wing. Once Stephen Barden found his range for Murphy’s he was equally adept at hitting the target.
Two strikes from him either side of John Reddan’s fine effort for Mitchel’s kept the gap to the minimum a quarter way in. In truth both defences were pretty much on top and both struggled to gain much forward momentum. Two more dead ball strikes from Conlon pushed his side three in front but an excellent strike over his shoulder from Sean Howlin was followed by a Sean Brennan point after Barden had done the spadework. The pattern continued to the break with scores at a premium and a Willie Allen point allied to a pointed free each from the respective marksmen gave Mitchel’s a two point cushion at the break reading 0-7 to 0-5.
Fr Murphy’s were transformed on the restart, A first minute point from Sean Cullen was quickly followed by the pivotal score of the match. Sean Howlin collected a pinpoint pass on the edge of the square and in a flash turned his marker and drove the sliotar to the bottom left hand corner. Cullen added another minor and although John Reddan pulled one back for the hosts the tide was now firmly in Murphy’s favour. Barden hit another free before the excellent Alan Griffiths launched a cracking point from the halfway line.
Ryan Meyler stretched the lead before Mitchel’s cleared their heads and tried to rescue the tie. Reddan pulled a point back but they were found wanting when it came to converting chances and the game drifted towards time. A full thirteen minutes without a score from either side tells its own tale of solid and dominant defending. Two late points from Conlon gave Mitchel’s hope of an escape act but a long range free from Barden secured the victory for the Londoners who will now face Fullen Gaels in the decider.