Provincial Championship U18 Final
By Damian Dolan
A Jake Lynskey hat-trick and a captain’s performance from Michael Mannion helped Warwickshire’s under 18s make it a double celebration for the midlanders.
Inspired by their under 16 counterparts, Mannion, Lynskey and Co ensured a very happy trip back up the M40 by holding off London’s under 18s in an absorbing final at McGovern Park – a victory which saw the midlanders retain the under 18 title.
London had first use of the wind and might have had a goal in just the second minute, only for Conor McDermott to shoot wide.
Instead, it was Warwickshire, or rather Mannion, who dominated the early exchanges with the Warwickshire skipper leading by example, racking up the game’s opening four points.
The visitors were already on top by the time Luke Collins then slid an inviting ball across the face of the London goal, for Lynskey to tap into an empty net from a yard out.
They might have had a second goal moments later when Declan Doherty’s superb ball picked out Rory Smith, only for Conal Vaughan to save brilliantly.
Lynskey increased the Warwickshire lead, but when presented with another sight of the London goal found Vaughan equal to it. Warwickshire were firmly on the front foot, and in control.
Four minutes before the break, however, the home side finally got on the scoreboard – Matthew McHugh benefiting from Luke Horgan’s persistence to point.
WARWICKSHIRE: Joe Whitehouse; Oisin Welby; Jack Dunne, Declan Doherty; Tom McGrath, James Corrigan, Michael Power; Michael Mannion (0-8, 5f, 1×45), Matthew Higgins; Rory Smith, Sean Connolly, Jacob Saul; Luke Collins, Jake Lynskey (3-1), Aidan Corrigan. Subs: Calum O’Leary for Collins, Collins for Higgins, Luke Monaghan for Saul, Sean Doyle for Lynskey.
LONDON: Conal Vaughan; Michael English, Luke Horgan, Ryan McCready; Ciaran O’Donoghue, Conor Redmond (0-1), Sean Rice (0-1); Sean Kirwan, Michel Keohane (1-0); Felim Conroy (0-1f), Matthew McHugh (0-4, 1f), Jack Ryan; Tighe Barry, Michael Walsh, Conor McDermott. Subs: Caolan Doyle for Ryan, Eoin O’Donnell (0-1) for O’Donogue, Matthew Joyce (0-1) for Barry, Jamie Caulfield for Kirwan, Paul Nevin for Horgan.