Windgap are into the hat for the next round of the junior hurling championship, a position they scarcely felt was attainable a couple of months ago.
In a not too inspirational game, they travelled to Tullaroan with hope in their heart, ice in their veins, and courage in their DNA.
Rounding up all the able-bodied troops they could find in the little Principality, they faced into the challenge that awaited in Tullaroan. They had toppled Mullinavat the previous week, so they were seeking some continuity to their ambitions.
It was not the prettiest game, or the most skilful game you will ever see. With respect to both sides who were trying to win the game, and probably provide a little entertainment to the gathered few, it was dull, lacked the competitive edge, and scrappy. But as one of the Windgap players remarked, “ I would prefer to win a scrappy game than lose a thriller”.
And who could fault such honest opinion.
Cloneen really did not help their own cause in the first half when aided by the cold breeze. They shot 14 wides, and that kind of wastefulness is counter-productive to say the least. The score after 9 minutes was level at one point each. It has scarcely improved after fifteen minutes as Cloneen led by two points to Windgap’s one. At sixteen minutes, a Windgap move, started by William Phelan on his own halfback line, transferred to Eoin Cody and moved to Eamonn Hawe through Philly Lonergan was finished to the Cloneen net by the returning Hawe.
At half time the score read, Windgap 1-3, Cloneen 0-3.
Philly Lonergan added a point to the Windgap total within a minute of the re-start. Two minutes later, the hard-working Cody worked the ball to his corner forward colleague, Pauric Walsh. Walsh took the ball in his stride and left Sean O’Neill in the Cloneen goal helpless as the ball sped to the corner of his net.
The game was all but over at that stage, and Windgap were destined for the hat bar a disaster of titanic proportion.
Graham Lalor, and Ronan Walsh tried their utmost to get their side going but they were pushing a rope up an incline.
Windgap on the other hand proceeded to snipe a few points compliments of Philly Lonergan, who again led his team mates with confidence. Eoin Cody weighed in with a point or two, as did Pauric Walsh and Cian Ryan.
Windgap had excellent defenders in the Landy brothers, Peter and Vinny, William Phelan and Ger Purcell. Philly Lonergan, Tommy Fleming and Eamonn Hawe were the pick of the forwards.
For Cloneen, Paul Kelly, Mark Maguire, Brian Cahill, Ronan Walsh, and Graham Lalor tried hardest.
Scorers: Windgap - Pauric Walsh (1-1); Philly Lonergan (0-3, one free); Eamonn Hawe (1-0); Eoin Cody (0-3); Cian Ryan (0-2); Tommy Fleming (0-1). Cloneen - Graham Lalor (0-4, two frees); Ronan Walsh (0-2).
Windgap - Niall Walsh, Aidan Mackey, Conor Lonergan, Vincent Landy, Ger Purcell, Matt Enright, Peter Landy, William Phelan, Tom Lonergan, Cian Ryan, Philly Lonergan, Tom Fleming, Eamonn Hawe, Eoin Cody, Pauric Walsh. Subs - Darragh O’Shea, James Murray, Michael Power, Shane Walsh, Stephen Purcell.
Cloneen - Sean O’Neill, Philip Roche, Paul Kelly, Mark Maguire, Dean Shortall, Kevin Phillips, Fergal Brennan, Brian Cahill, Kevin Delaney, Ronan Walsh, Cormac McDonald, Gary Delaney, Padraig Delaney, Eamonn Mooney, Graham Lalor. Subs - Donal Lalor, David Wilson, Pádraig Maher, Kieran Whelan.
Referee - Paul Whelan.