Our Intermediates kicked off their 2020 competitive season with a league clash at home against Tracton last Sunday morning. The large overnight rain thankfully had passed and the game was played for long periods in rare sunshine this time of year. Great credit as always goes to Charlie Maher who’s countless hours taking care of the pitch over the winter had the field in the best possible condition considering the inclement weather we have had. The match itself got off to a flyer with our visitors registering the first score inside 45 seconds. However our lads quickly got into their stride and had two points on the board inside the opening 5 minutes, both coming from play from Sean Desmond and Anthony Cronin. The Hill working very hard took command of the game and a score from play by Daire O Leary epitomised this. His brother Padraig picked up a ball 40 yards out on the end line and using his strength burst through the Tracton defence, looked up and picked off a lovely pass to his brother Daire who coolly slotted over. The two Shane O Regan’s then got points, one from a placed ball and one from play to have the Hill lead five points to one after 10 minutes. Then in the 12th minute the Hill struck for the first goal and a great goal it was. The industrious Sean Desmond playing at corner forward burst forward and bearing down on goal released a lovely pass to Shane Og O Regan who pulled on the sliotar sending it goalward and giving the Tracton keeper no chance. The Hill lead 1-5 to a point. Over the next 15 minutes the Hill added seven points, five from placed ball with Shane O Regan as always proving clinical and precise, Kevin O Neill playing on the forty also added a score from play as did Anthony Cronin from midfield, a lovely strike over the right shoulder. During this period Tracton did add a second point from play but had to work hard for the score as the Hill’s defence were working extremely hard to limit their scoring chances, a notable mention for young Colin Cronin at corner back who was playing very well. As the game approached the end of the first half, the Hill pounced for their second goal of the game. Characteristic of the teams work rate, it started with a cleared ball from full back Aaron Ricken who found Shane Og O Regan running into space, great control of the sliotar in the air, picked it up and showing a great turn of pace took off on a powerful run goalward and coolly despatched it to the net to make the score 2-12 to 2pts at halftime.
Our lads came out in the second half and took off where they left off, taking the opening score of the game as the two Shane O Regan’s combined lovely with Shane Og picking off the resulting opportunity. Tracton added their third point from a free before Kevin O Neill got a lovely point, made by the hard working Shane O Regan who pounced on a loose clearance from the Tracton goalkeeper and setting up Kevin. The score after 5 minutes in the send half was the Hill 2-14, Tracton 3 points. Tracton added the next score from play before a skirmish led to a few yellow cards being brandished and Tracton finding themselves down to fourteen men with still twenty three minutes left to play in the second half. The Hill didn’t ease up and added the next three scores in quick succession, the first from Anthony Cronin, after good work from wing forward Paudie O Leary and two from placed ball with the clinical Shane O Regan, making no mistakes. In the 14th minute of the second half, a well struck side-line cut 35 yards out from Shane Og, went over a lot of heads but the quick thinking Daire O Leary turned on his heels and was quickest to react following the flight of the sliotar and pulling on the ground off his left, he got the Hill’s third goal of the game. Tracton did respond well and got a good point from play, but once again the Hill didn’t ease back and added another point from play from Shane Og. Not long after, a great interception by Aaron Ricken and a lovely pass up the field to Sean Desmond, sent Sean on his way and once again unselfishly spotted Shane Og in a better position and off loaded a nice pass that allowed Shane strike goalwards once more and lifting the green flag. The score was now 4-18 to 5 points with still twelve minutes left on the clock. Despite the deficit on the scoreboard and a man down, great credit goes to Tracton who never gave up and added three further points before the final whistle. Likewise our lads never eased up and continued working hard on and off the sliotar. Points from Kevin O Neill and two from Shane O Regan inside the last 10 minutes had the score 4-21 to 8 points heading into injury time. The last score of the game epitomised the Hill display throughout. Shane O Regan once again burst forward, and gave Paudie O Leary a lovely pass on the run who struck a great shot goalwards, the Tracton keeper parried it out, but Shane Og was on his toes and took the rebound and with quick hands drove the sliotar to the net for the Hills fifth goal and the games last. This was a great team display from the Hill who were sharp throughout. The introduction of players like Eoin Barry, Aidan Foley, Kieren O Keeffe, Dan Dennehy and Mike Kennedy in the second half further strengthened the team performance and the team management can certainly be pleased with this opening game. Lots of hurling to be played in 2020 but fair play to the squad today on opening their competitive season with a very positive performance. The only negative was injuries to Aaron and Eoin whom we wish a speedy recovery to and hope to see them back in action shortly. The final score Watergrasshill 5-21, Tracton 8 points.
Watergrasshill Team: Daire O Callaghan, Pa Cronin, Aaron Ricken, Colin Cronin, Shane Field, Patrick O Regan, Brian Fenton, Anthony Cronin, Don O Riordan, Shane O Regan, Kevin O Neill, Padraig O Leary, Sean Desmond, Shane Og O Regan, Daire O Leary. Substitution’s: Eoin Barry for Daire O Leary, Aidan Foley for Sean Desmond, Kieran O Keeffe for Pa Cronin, Dan Dennehy for Aaron Ricken, Mike Kennedy for Don O Riordan.