Youghal 2-14 Charleville 0-17
A collective sense of Déjà vu hit all those who made their way out the Tallow Road on Saturday, 22nd of October last. No need for the aid of Google Maps this time; the journey memorised from the week previous.
The winner of the Rebel Óg Division 1 Minor County Hurling Championship had to be decided this time round, with extra-time and maybe even penalties on the cards if the teams ended in deadlock.
Youghal, who made the hopeful trip to north Cork once more; had the belief that they could finish the job they set out on the previous Saturday.
The venue (Kildorrery) was the same. The opponents (Charleville) were the same. The weather (changeable) was the same-ish. The objective (to come back down the road as county champions) was the same.
Charleville though, were not sent the Youghal memo and they had other plans. The young men from the Limerick border started much brighter and the sharp-shooting of the DJ Collins & Gareth Gleeson in the inside forward line had them 8 points to 2 ahead after 20 minutes. It could have been even more, were it not for the heroics of Bobby Nicholson & Oisin Walsh in the Youghal rear-guard.
The Youghal nerves eventually settled through a James Murray pointed free on the 20th minute and then they got the wind into their sails when Dylan Lyons pulled first time and found the net, after an Oisin Walsh long range free that dropped into the danger zone.
Another free from Murray and a Jayden Casey point pulled the Youghal boys level at the short whistle, 1-5 to 0-8.
At the turn for the second half; it was Youghal who came out of the blocks faster; they had a goal and three points to Charleville’s one point in the first 10 minutes, Jayden Casey finishing superbly to the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 20 yards out seemed to put them in the ascendancy.
Charelville, to their credit, dug in and another 4 unanswered points brought them back into the contest. A Dylan Lyons point with five minutes remaining put Youghal 2 points up and with the likes of Liam Durkin & Fionn Hill getting on top in defence; it seemed as though the seasiders had the finishline in their sights.
An exchange of points by Casey for Youghal and Kristian O’Gorman for Charleville kept 2 between the sides but similar to the previous week, late drama ensued and 2 points for Charleville in the 4th minute of injury time sent the game into extra time.
The first 10 minutes of extra time proved to be a cagey affair and it passed by without a single score being registered; the Youghal half backline of Fionn Hill, Ronan O’Brien and Marty Desmond, along with midfielder Brian Lynch nullified the Charleville attack at the point of origin and with 10 minutes remaining; we headed for a grand-stand finish.
Tired legs and heavy ground made things difficult for both sides with 70 minutes of hurling played; so the game became as much a mental battle as it was a physical one.
It was the Youghal boys though, who kept their heads down the home straight as they outscored their opponents by 4 points to 1; scores from Murray, Casey, a monster free from long range by goalkeeper Walsh was rounded off in the 81st minute of play by Jamie Lenane who split the posts from the right wing.
Charleville had their chances too but that mean Youghal defence kept them out and as Jayden Casey put the ball on his hurley to go on a solo-run in the right-wing back position, the referee called time and Youghal were crowned County Champions, after 140 minutes of hurling.
Youghal panel: Oisin Walsh (0-1f), Noah Hegarty, Bobby Nicholson, Liam Durkin, Fionn Hill, Ronan O’Brien, Marty Desmond, Jayden Casey (1-3), Brian Lynch, Conor Galvin, James Murray (0-6, 0-5f, 0-1 65), Jamie Lenane (0-1), Luke Lenane, Chris Buckley, Dylan Lyons (1-2). Subs, James Coyne for L. Lenane (53), Cian Galvin for N. Hegarty (65), Jason Innes (82). Ewie McCarthy, Ralph Cashman, Padraig Kennedy, Diego Tresero, Gearoid Geary, Finn Coleman, Conor O’Brien.