By Derek Kiely
Youghal 5-16,Tracton 0-11
WHAT an incredible performance this was from the Youghal team who dominated matters from start to finish at Caherlag in a performance that would match any game seen this weekend.
When the two sides met last year Youghal's dominant hurling should have been the only talking point, because on that occasion in Riverstown last year Youghal were out the gate with ten minutes to spare, despite losing Bill Cooper to a serious foul, but after Saturday nights performance the only talking points will be the way Youghal struck the net on five occasions and the fluency of their play and the masterful stick work of all the team from the back line right through to the full forward line.
Youghal struck early with a score from play off Alan Frahill-O'Connor just one minute in, then the Youghal Captain Brendan Ring raised the first of his ten white flags during the evening and like a flash it was five scores without reply on the 8th minute following two further pointed free's from the Youghal Captain and a masterful score from half way from James O'Mahony.
The first score from Tracton came from a Michael Cahalane free on the 13th minute, but the cheer from the Tracton faithful was soon silenced seconds later when a great ball from Jonathan Ormonde bounced invitingly between Frahill-O'Connor and the Tracton keeper Damien Walsh and there was only going to be one winner as the Youghal corner forward threw his body on the line and buried the ball into the Tracton net.
Ring was on target soon after with another pin point accurate free and on the 18th minute O'Mahony sent over his second point of the night for Youghal giving his side the 9 point advantage.
Tracton were very restricted by the Youghal half back line with Barry Goggin, Conor Spillane and Damien Ring snuffing out attack after attack limiting the Tracton team to free's from Cahalane who pointed his sides only other score of the first half with eleven minutes remaining to the short whistle.
Youghal piled on the scores before the break with Brendan Ring firing over three free's on the 23rd, 25th and 27th minutes respectively, then on the stroke of half time Youghal had their second goal of the match when a beauty of a pass from John Grace found Jonathan Ormonde and the man from Youghal blasted the ball home, Ring added another pointed free before the Réiteoir Seán Ó Seasnáin blew the half time whistle leaving Peter Queally's men 15 points clear at the break, 'Game Over'
The second half started brilliantly for Youghal with yet another goal when a long ball in was met brilliantly by Brendan Coleman who connected to send the ball into the Tracton net.
Tractons response was two Cahalane free's, before Youghal piled on the agony with another goal.
Jonathan Ormonde had already seen green in the first half, by the 10th minute of the second half it was becoming his favourite colour when he netted again and this match was turning into a bit of a slaughter.
Cahalane pointed, Andrew Curtin sent one over in response for Youghal and when Cahalane was on target again for Tracton, Alan Frahill O'Connor sent one straight back, leaving a massive 19 points between the sides with 15 minutes to go.
Tracton eventually got a score from play on the 46th minute from Kieran Lynch, but this wasn't down to poor shooting from a Tracton point of view, the lack of scoring chances for Youghal's opposition was down to the dynamic play of players like Nigel Roche, Barry Ring, Stephen Twomey, Brett Moloney and the very talented John Grace.
Brendan Ring sent over yet another free on the 48th minute, Tracton got another pointed free, that was wiped out seconds later as Ring split the posts putting yet another free over the bar.
Tracton got three late scores, but the moment of the match for me came on the 59th minute, when a ball out to the left corner found Alan Frahill-O'Connor who caught the ball brilliantly, dropped on to his right shoulder and from 20 meters out at an angle he struck a rocket of a shot into the top right hand corner of the goal, leaving the Tracton keeper motionless, it was a goal that would grace any hurling arena, it was a bullet of a goal.
The referee blew the final whistle and just like twelve months earlier the quality hurlers left the sod at Caherlag victorious, just like they did in Riverstown last year.
Scorers for Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-10 (8f) Alan Frahill-O'Connor 2-03, Jonathan Ormonde 2-00, Brendan Coleman 1-00, James O'Mahony 0-02,Andrew Curtin 0-01.
Tracton: M Cahalane 0-8f, S O'Sullivan 0-2, K Lynch 0-1.
YOUGHAL: Richie Cunninghan; Barry Ring, John Grace, Stephen Twomey; Barry Goggin, Conor Spillane, Damien Ring; Nigel Roche, James O'Mahony; Andrew Curtin, Brendan Coleman, Brett Moloney; Jonathan Ormonde, Brendan Ring (Capt) Alan Frahill-O'Connor.
Subs: Ken Dempsey for Brendan Ring (52) Kenneth Walsh for James O'Mahony (55)
TRACTON: D Walsh; B Lynch, M Barry, C McGuinness; R Cronin (Capt) K Corrigan, C Lordan; K Lynch, J Harrington; S O'Sullivan, J Kingston, G Kingston; M Chalane, A Johnson, F Lynch.
Referee: Seán Ó Seasnáin (Baile hAodha)