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12-year-old Corey a scoring star for well balanced Aodh Ruadh side

Under 14 A Hurling Championship Final
17 September 2020
Aodh Ruadh 2-7
MacCumhaill's 1-2
Michael Daly reports from Father Tierney Park.

Aodh Ruadh’s under 14 hurlers put in a magnificent team display on Thursday night in Tir Chonaill Park to win the county ‘A’ title where they overcame a fine Sean MacCumhaills team who found the Ballyshannon boys too hot to handle on a glorious evening in Donegal Town.

Finishing with a personal tally of 2-4, Corey Sheridan, who just turned 12 in June, was the scoring star for Aodh Ruadh, his final point a flick over his head with his back to goal as four defenders converged on him, a memorable moment.

But there were many memorable moments from two well coached, disciplined teams and in defeat MacCumhaills were at their sporting best as Aodh Ruadh took the title.

If Sheridan caught the eye with his scoring prowess, there were many others who also played magnificently, not least Aodh Ruadh’s fullback Killian Bradshaw, who had the game of his life, winning ball after ball, clearing and setting up attacks.

Garreth Brennan at centre-half back was fantastic throughout and played through the pain after picking up a nasty foot injury; his two half backs, Michael Clancy and Liam Doogan were brilliant, Clancy having, to my mind, his best game ever for Aodh Ruadh. Cian McDonald tucking in beside Bradshaw was another rock on which many a MacCumhaills attack perished. Like Clancy, he too had the game of his life while Callum Tierney in the other corner had a fine game too.

In midfield Aodh Ruadh had their work cut out for them, MacCumhaills have a gifted hurler here in Dan Donnelly and the reliable, hard-working Sean Brady Devenney, but on this evening it was Jun Hui Lin, or as he’s better known in Ballyshannon, ‘Johnny Lin’, who lit up Tir Chonaill Park with his athleticism, deft first touch, all round hurling skills and his bravery.

Time and again it was Johnny who emerged from a ruck of clattering hurls with the sliothar and raced forward. Johnny was outstanding. Tommy Clyne played a captain’s part in the central diamond. Big and strong, he used his power well and his ability to send the ball long to a lively attack was a huge plus for Aodh Ruadh.

In that attack Corey pinched an early goal on 14 minutes after a long, long delivery from Tommy Clyne. Earlier he hit a free and Garvey Meade, whose proud grandfather Sean (holder of 3 All Ireland football medals with Galway), watched on as his grandson split the posts after a darting run to give Aodh Ruadh the perfect start and they led 1-2 to 0-0 by the first water break, Calum McNulty busy too in the forward line while Jack McCadden was unlucky not to find the net with a fine effort.

MacCumhaills didn’t get going at all, they had a brace of chances from early frees but sent them wide and they took a while to settle. When they did, they were impressive.

The second quarter was a good one for MacCumhaills, on 18 minutes Dan Donnelly hit his side’s first point from 40 metres after a poor Aodh Ruadh clearance. Sheridan cancelled that out with a free from 50 metres after a foul on Johnny Lin, but MacCumhaills were very much in the driving seat and looking dangerous.

Four minutes from the break Daimhín Byrne left the Ballyshannon defence in his wake as he twisted and turned into an opening to fire home a fantastic near post goal.

That brought MacCumhaills back to just two points in arrears, 1-3 to 1-1. But Aodh Ruadh hit a vital point to steady their nerves, silky skills from Joseph Gibbions to control a clearance and turn to point on 40 metres. 1-4 to 1-1 ahead, Aodh Ruadh brought in Dara McGloin just before the break, he was very good from general play and won any amount of broken ball in the second half.


Having held MacCumhaills to two scores (1-1) in the second quarter where the Twin Towns lads were very much in the ascendancy and just fell short in their brave push to regain parity, Aodh Ruadh won the third quarter (and effectively the game) with a brilliant team performance.

Liam Doogan was to the fore now, Lennon Canny and Callum Tierney all making vital contributions where they were all on the front foot.

Tommy Clyne drove a magnificent 65 under the MacCumhaill’s crossbar and while the ball was well batted out, the one man MacCumhaills didn’t want lurking was young Sheridan and he didn’t have to be asked twice as he made the net sing for a vital goal.

2-4 to 1-1 ahead, Aodh Ruadh were being asked questions, the excellent Cathal McFadden driving at the heart of the Ernesider’s defence only to be fouled. From 20 metres out Dan Donnelly shaped himself and it was clear he had a goal on his mind. A beautiful dead ball striker, he hit the sliothar well but Bradshaw somehow got his hurl to it and batted it away to safety.

90 seconds later MacCumhaills were denied again, keeper Ben Daly down bravely to make the stop on the line. As players piled in a penalty was blown. It was Ben facing Dan, a turning point surely, but Dan’s drive went up and over the bar for a point, a five point gap, 2-4 to 1-2 and you could see Aodh Ruadh heads lift, they had weathered the storm.

From the puc out Johnny Lin soloed 60 metres with a posse of defenders unable to turn him, eventually a free was blown and Aodh Ruadh were in open country, well away from their own goals.

Aodh Ruadh finished the quarter strongly with three points, two from Corey Sheridan a free from the left side, and a super clever score as he flicked the ball over his head and the bar - the perfect way to cap an outstanding performance.

The final score of the game, a well struck free from distance by captain Tommy Clyne on 45 minutes.

Aodh Ruadh held that 2-7 to 1-2 lead going into the final quarter and never looked like they might be caught as they took control of the game. Daithí Sheerin who came in for the final quarter played well, winning ball and dishing it off cleverly as Aodh Ruadh controlled the play. Aodh Ruadh hit the net again in that final quarter but the effort was disallowed for an infringement.

In the end Aodh Ruadh took this title with a six point cushion, but to their credit MacCumhaills pushed them hard, they too have many fine hurlers in their squad, among them David Bradley Flynn, Pauric Kelly, Dylan Patton, Daimhin Byrne and Cathal McFadden, along with their two midfielders Donnelly and Brady Devenney.

After the game Aodh Ruadh manager Paul Sheridan said he was “very proud of all his players” and he added thanks to Mark Sheerin, Paul (Pio) O’Loughlin and Andy Brennan for the many hours they put in with the squad.

Denis Daly, on behalf of the hurling board, had some well chosen words of encouragement for MacCumhaills, and words of congratulations for Aodh Ruadh.

A sporting game, it was well handled by Marc Brown of Four Masters and the pitch provided by Four Masters, was like a carpet.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Ben Daly; Cian McDonald, Killian Bradshaw, Callum Tierney; Liam Doogan, Garreth Brennan, Michael Clancy; Jun Hui Lin, Tommy Clyne 0-1,f; Garvey Meade 0-1, Lennon Canny, Joseph Gibbions 0-1; Corey Sheridan 2-4, 2fs, Jack McCadden, Calum McNulty.
Subs: Dara McGloin for McCadden; Daithí Sheerin for McNulty; Shay Winters, Barry Campbell, Antoin O’Loughlin, Sean O’Neill, Eoin Doogan, Hugh Óg Maguire, Rian McCauley, Shane Newell, Dara O’Mahoney, Fiachra Kilgallon.
Fionn McNulty; Cameron Russell, Davitt Bradley Flynn; Shay Bradley, Craig Russell, Pauric Kelly, Lorcan Byrne; Dan Donnelly, Seán Brady Devenney; Dylan Patton, Jacob Malone, Ultan Gilligan; Daimhin Byrne, Cathal McFadden, Rory Doherty.
Subs: Jamie Fallon, Fritz McNulty, Oisin Mullen, Evan McDevitt. Subs: Jamie Fallon, Fritz McNulty, Oisin Mullen, Eavan McDevitt (all used).
Referee: Marc Brown (Four Masters)

Last modified: Monday, 21 September 2020 at 9:43pm