GALWAY GAA: O’Flaherty’s Frees the Business for Salthill/Knocknacarra

Fergus Hanney

Under 15 B1 Hurling Shield Final – Monday, 8th October 2018 

Salthill/Knocknacarra 3-10 Sylane 4-4 

Darren Kelly in Duggan Park 

A contest with quality and fortune still hanging in the balance until the final few moments was arguably decided by a third quarter free taking exhibition as Salthill/Knocknacarra won the under 15 B1 Hurling Shield.

David Prendergast, Shane Mitchell and Adam Keane struck crucial Sylane goals while Salthill/Knocknacarra’s Aaron Mannion’s low drive was vital but top scorer Daniel O’Flaherty was the key figure.

As well as striking two goals, it was six unanswered points in the third quarter that swung this game Salthill/Knocknacarra’s way.  Before the game ended with a welter of excitement, O’Flaherty’s accuracy gave the city side a 2-9 to 2-4 lead on the three-quarter mark.

Daniel O'Flaherty
Daniel O’Flaherty – Man of the Match

The teams were level twice in the opening 10 minutes before this contest truly took off.  Sean Newell and Prendergast registered the Sylane points either side of a Salthill/Knocknacarra double from Mannion and O’Flaherty.

Things opened up on 12 minutes when Sylane got the first stroke of luck as Mitchell’s long ball dropped underneath the crossbar for a goal.  The momentum was with Kevin Brady’s team and Jamie Collins added a point but fortune was being shared equally as Salthill/Knocknacarra struck their three-pointer.

A speculative delivery saw O’Flaherty drop the sliothar towards the square but keeper Cormack Egan saw his grasp slip allowing Salthill/Knocknacarra their goal.  The city side were lifted as O’Flaherty levelled.  But there was no luck about the next goal as Mannion’s low strike made it 2-3 to 1-3.

Against the wind, Sean Gavin’s team were in control but Sylane were given a reprieve.  Newell sent Prendergast on the run for a green flag on 27 minutes.  And when Declan Heneghan found the target, Sylane led 2-4 to 2-3 at half-time.

After O’Flaherty’s frees gave Salthill/Knocknacarra a commanding position, Sylane struck 10 minutes from time when Keane got their third goal.

Salthill/Knocknacarra got another stroke of luck.  O’Flaherty’s long delivery saw Egan unfortunate to get caught out again as the ball nestled in the net.  Salthill/Knocknacarra were five ahead again but Sylane didn’t relent and Prendergast got their fourth goal giving them a chance.  But they needed another.

Scorers – Salthill/Knocknacarra: Daniel O’Flaherty 2-9 (eight frees), Aaron Mannion 1-1. 

Scorers – Salthill/Knocknacarra: David Prendergast 2-1, Shane Mitchell 1-0 Adam Keane 1-0, Declan Heneghan 0-1, Jamie Collins 0-1. 

Salthill/Knocknacarra: Oisin Quinlan; Cormac Kelly, Andrew Byrne, Patrick Maloney; Shane O’Neill, Robert Carey, McDara Caffrey; Fergus Hanney, Daniel O’Flaherty; Conor Toner, Aaron Mannion, Conal Gavin; Adam Kennedy, Dara Barrett, Niall McGinn.

Subs used: Shay Phillips for Kennedy (23 mins), Stephen Cullinane for McGinn (23 mins), Eoghan Flannery for Caffrey (HT), Hugh Gavin for Maloney (60 mins).

Sylane: Cormack Egan; Thomas Newell, Thomas Keane, Ciaran Morris; Brian Igoe, Ciaran Fleming, Paul Newell; Jack McCabe, David Prendergast; Cody Murphy, Declan Heneghan, Sean Newell; Paul Kavanagh, Jamie Collins, Shane Mitchell.

Subs used: Adam Keane for Morris (32 mins), Darragh Treacy for Collins (51 mins).

Referee: Kevin Egan