A great season for Robert Emmets ended in disappointment when they were defeated by Croke Rovers in the Duhallow under 21 hurling final played in the most trying of conditions at Castlemagner on Saturday afternoon, the victors pulling clear by 0-16 to 0-5.
Horrendous weather conditions preceded the game in the way of heavy showers of hail, sleet and rain but thankfully the weather cleared and remained dry but bitterly cold for the most of the final. The damage however had been done and though the playing surface held up remarkably well at the outset, inevitably the ground dug up considerably denying the players the platform to display their credentials.
In the early stages, Croke Rovers showed their natural ability in finding the target and two early points gave them the advantage after four minutes. Robert Emmets competed in admirable fashion throughout with the defence particularly doing well.
At the other end they were left to rue eight first half wides as a number of scoring opportunities went abegging and the side ended with a poor return after some fine approach play.
Croke Rovers gradually added to their tally with two points in quick succession towards the end of the opening quarter. Robert Emmets were eventually rewarded for their endeavours as marksman Paul Verling found the target from a free.
Croke Rovers were more fluent in attack and while Robert Emmets racked up the wides, at the other end Croke Rovers were far more economical and clinical in their finishing as three more points swelled their advantage.
Paul Verling pointed for a second time after twenty five minutes but in reply Croke Rovers added two further points. The half concluded with a third Robert Emmets point, again through Paul Verling but in truth their first half return of three points was not sufficient to justify their contribution to the game in general.
As the teams retired to the break Croke Rovers led 0-9 to 0-3.
Two minutes into the second half Croke Rovers added a free but at the other end Paul Verling was again on target following some neat build up play from Robert Emmets.
The game remained competitive but the lack of scoring power on the day meant that the game went further away from Robert Emmets. The defence toiled excellently led by goalkeeper Shane McAuliffe, who was well marshalled by the commendable efforts of Paudie Allen and Colm Noonan while Michael O’Leary and Gavin Forde were also inspiring with their exploits.
Croke Rovers skilfully added a couple of superb scores before a fifth Paul Verling point, left the score reading 0-12 to 0-5 with fifteen minutes remaining. With playing conditions now abysmal, Croke Rovers stamped their authority and undoubted class on the final and each point which followed struck a further blow to Robert Emmets and increased the margin as four unanswered points were added before the conclusion.
The final whistle followed and while obviously disappointed, Robert Emmets will reflect on a fine season in which they bridged a long gap for both Newmarket and Lismire clubs in getting to a divisional final at this grade, which will hopefully bode well for the future of both clubs.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Paul Verling (0-5)
|Daniel Richard Guinee||Colm Noonan||Paudie Allen|
|Alan Ryan||Gavin Forde||Michael O’Leary|
|Eddie Allen||Cathal Noonan|
|Jacko Flaherty||Brian O'Callaghan||Barry O'Connor|
|Bryan O'Connell||David Quinlan||Paul Verling|
|Subs: David Enright, Nicky Barrett, Billy Lane, Jeremy Kiely.|