(originally posted by Giveitfong on boards.ie)
A powerful second half performance saw Dungarvan Colleges capturing their second Harty Cup in succession at Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary today. There was no indication at half time that Dungarvan would dominate proceedings they way they did in the second half. The score at that stage was 0-8 apiece after a highly competitive 30 minutes and indeed, if Templemore had not missed two good goal chances they would have been in the driving seat at the restart.
However, it was the defending champions who raised their game big time after the change of ends to blow their opponents away. With wing backs Tadhg Bourke and captain Tom Devine thundering into the game and corner forward Darragh Lyons coming out as a very effective third midfielder, Dungarvan gained total control around the middle of the park and proceeded the send a stream of high-quality ball into a forward line which showed some marvellous skill in putting Templemore to the sword. Good midfield possession also created overlaps which were well used by the hard-working Dungarvan lads who as a result forced the opposition rearguard to breaking point.
The game was played on a cold but beautifully sunny day on a generally very good pitch apart from the deep sand in the goal areas. Templemore appeared to have first advantage of a swirling breeze but it was Dungarvan who made the better start, moving smoothly into an early three-point lead. Templemore then settled and got back to parity before another surge by Dungarvan saw them moving three points ahead again. However, the Tipperary lads showed their mettle to come back strongly to bring the scores to parity at the short whistle.
Templemore will no doubt rue two goal chances which went abegging during the half. The first of these saw one of their corner forwards getting his stick to the ball ahead of his marker and the advancing Dungarvan goalie only for the ball to bounce harmlessly across an empty goalmouth and just outside the far post. Their second missed goal chance came when one of their forwards came in along the right-hand end line only to see his shot go the wrong side of the post.
Dungarvan notched the first two points of the second half and then hammered the first major nail in the Templemore coffin. Midfielder Colin Dunford, who was having a superb game until forced off with injury midway through the second half, made a great run through the middle of the Templemore defence before delivering an excellent hand pass into Ryan Donnelly in front of the goal. Donnelly turned and drove an unstoppable shot to the back of the opposition net.
Dungarvan subsequently played some sublime hurling, and it is not an exaggeration to say that they produced some skills and scores today as good as I have ever seen on a hurling pitch. They matched this with work rate and physical input, repeatedly hustling their opponents when in possession and digging the ball out of the frequent scrums which developed.
The second, and essentially the final nail in the Templemore coffin, came with Dungarvan’s second goal, again delivered by Ryan Donnelly with ten minutes to go. He fielded a lovely ball in from the right wing and although his first attempt at a shot was hooked, he followed up to force the ball over the line. Templemore did get a consolation goal in the closing minutes from a deflected shot through a crowded goalmouth, although even then Dungarvan goalie Laurence Power, who performed excellently right through, was unlucky not to keep the ball out. Shortly afterwards the final whistle sounded and Tom Devine was presented with the Harty Cup to the delight of the big group of supporters present.
This was all-round a great team performance by Dungarvan Colleges, and their mentors deserve great credit for the spirit, skill and organisation they have instilled in their charges. Their fullback line of Kealon Looby, Brian Looby and Michael Cronin defended stoutly throughout, particularly in the first half when they came under a lot of pressure. Wing backs Tadhg Bourke and Tom Devine were relatively quiet in the first half, but once they struck top form after the change of ends it was curtains for Templemore. These are two gifted hurlers with great ability to win ball, make space and use it well. Bourke also made a major contribution on the scoreboard, landing three marvellous long-range points from frees. Between them, centre back Kevin Daly held the middle well throughout.
In midfield, young Cormac Curran added to his growing reputation with another powerful and hardworking effort, while beside him Colin Dunford was a candidate for man of the match with three super points from play and several assists, including the lead-up to the vital first goal. Unfortunately he shipped a nasty shoulder injury midway through the second half. Hopefully we will see him back before the end of the campaign.
At right wing forward Christy Breathnach had a fairly anonymous first half, but thriving on the improved supply after the change of ends, rowed in with three lovely points. Michael Harney at centre forward made a key contribution early in the game winning ball repeatedly under Templemore’s long wind-assisted puckouts and worked hard all through. Big Seamus Keating at left half forward won any amount of possession and drove at the Templemore rearguard time and again. If he had more confidence in himself he could become a substantial scoring threat.
In the full forward line, the recently injured Ryan Donnelly showed that he had benefited greatly from an otherwise frustrating outing in the previous week’s B final. He was much sharper on his occasion and his final tally of 2-1 was crucial to his side’s victory. Darragh Lyons landed an excellent early point but did his best work as a receiver and processor of ball in the midfield area in the second half. Patrick Curran was not as productive as the previous week, but his tally of 0-8 (three from play) still left him as the team’s top scorer and another contender for man of the match. His ability to get on the end of crossfield balls into the corners in the second half was a joy to behold. One point, when he killed the ball on his hurley near the end line and ghosted past his marker to split the posts over this shoulder was worth the admission price alone.
Dungarvan Colleges: Laurence Power (Abbeyside); Kealon Looby (St. Oliver’s/Ballinameela); Brian Looby (Abbeyside); Michael Cronin (Ardmore); Tadhg Bourke (Clashmore) (0-3, frees); Kevin Daly (Dungarvan); Tom Devine (Modeligo) (Captain); Cormac Curran (Brickey Rangers) (0-1); Colin Dunford (Colligan) (0-3); Christy Breathnach (An Rinn) (0-3); Michael Harney (Ballydurn) (0-1); Seamus Keating (Ardmore); Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) (0-1); Ryan Donnelly (Dungarvan) (2-1); Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) (0-8, five frees). Substitute David Gartland (Ardmore) for Dunford and a flurry of subs towards the end.