Clare and Munster champions Atlantic Aviation Group/Molex finished a great season with their first ever All-Ireland title after defeating a good Creagh Concrete side in Sixmilebridge.
All Ireland Interfirm Junior Hurling Final: Atlantic Aviation/Molex 1-16 Creagh Concrete 1-08
The Antrim side endured a six-hour bus ride from their base in Toomebridge, on the northern shore of Lough Neagh. Both sides played through bitterly cold, wet and windy conditions before Creagh got back on the bus to head home to the Glens of Antrim and beyond.
Evan McInerney (Sixmilebridge) solos out of defence ahead of Anton McGrath.
The Shannon amalgamation put the game beyond the visitors by halftime with an unbeatable 9-point advantage. In the second half, they emptied their bench but still won by an 8-point margin.
Sean Glynn put the Shannon team ahead inside the first minute with a good point on the run. Darragh Carey added a second on 2 minutes when he pointed a free.
Creagh opened their scoring in the third minute thanks to Michael Devine’s point from out near the sideline. Unfortunately for them, they wouldn’t score again until first-half injury time. Alan Mulready restored his side’s advantage.
A Justin Cahill score and another from Darragh Carey stretched the Shannon side’s lead to four after 15 minutes as the rain poured down.
Thomas Cleary contributed a great score from out near the sideline after 18 minutes before a good passing move between Cleary and Mulready put the Sixmilebridge player through for his second point on 20 minutes.
Cleary kept the scoreboard ticking over with another pointed free on 23 minutes. Good play from Justin Cahill on 27 minutes created some space for Daire Keane to score a great point on the run.
Just before the half-hour mark, Thomas Cleary stretched the lead to 9 points after a good turn and shot over the bar. Mulready’s third point of the game preceded Creagh’s second point, the final score of the half, when Paul Shiels raised a white flag in injury time to leave the half-time score Atlantic Aviation/Molex 0-11 Creagh Concrete 0-2.
In the second half, the elements favoured the Antrim men. To their credit, they gave a spirited performance starting with a long ball from Bernard Graham to James McNaughton whose effort was just wide of the goal.
Nicky McKeague reduced the deficit to a point in the 32 minute before Carey responded for the Shannon firms with his fourth free of the game three minutes later.
McNaughton supplied the pass for Anton McGrath to fire past goalkeeper Darragh McGrath from inside the 21 after 37 minutes. The goal gave Creagh renewed hope of a comeback.
Paudie O’Leary (Templederry Kenyons) flicks the ball to the net for the Shannon side’s goal.
However, the Shannon firms bounced back in less than a minute with a goal of their own from Paudie O’Leary who finished to the net after a strong run to reinstate the 9-point advantage.
Another pointed free from Carey after 43 minutes left 10 points between the sides again. That was stretched to 12 when Thomas Cleary scored with 11 minutes remaining.
Creagh pressed for goals in the closing stages but good defending from Tadgh Keogh, Alan Brigdale and Eoin Keane kept the Antrim side at bay.
Late points from Eoin O’Neill, Gabriel McTaggart, Paul Shiels and a free from Nicky McKeague brought the Antrim men to within 8 points of their opponents as the game entered injury time.
Both sides had points from Justin Cahill and Chris Kearns before Limerick referee Mike Sexton blew the full-time whistle signalling an All Ireland title for Atlantic Aviation Group/Molex.
On their way to success, the Shannon amalgamation recorded seven wins to earn a well deserved first All-Ireland victory.
After the game, Michael Mulcahy from Inter-Firm Central Council presented the cup to the victorious captain, Crusheen man Alan Brigdale.
Atlantic Aviation/Molex: Darragh McGrath (Ballinahinch), John O’Gorman (Cratloe), Tadgh Keogh (Sixmilebridge), Alan Brigdale (Crusheen), Sean O’Connor (Newmarket), Evan McInerney (Sixmilebridge), Sean Chaplin (Cratloe), Darragh Carey (Templederry Kenyons 0-5), Cian Flanagan (Newport), Alan Mulready (Sixmilebridge 0-3), Sean Glynn (Killanena 0-1), Justin Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs 0-2), Eoin McDonagh (Coolaney/Mullinabreena), Thomas Cleary (Kilruane MacDonaghs 0-4), Daire Keane (Kilmaley 0-1). Subs: Eoin Keane (Kilmaley) for O’Gorman, Padraig O’Leary (Templederry Kenyyons 1-0) for McDonagh, Gavin Whyte (Sixmilebridge) for Glynn, Jake Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Mulready, Richard Dorgan (Wolfe Tones) for O’Connor.
Creagh Concrete: James O’Mullan, Geoffrey Og Laverty, James McKeague, Ruairi Laverty, Kevin McKeague, Bernard Graham, Christopher Kearns, Paul Shiels (0-3), Anton McGrath (1-0), Nicky McKeague (0-2), Gabriel McTaggart (0-1), Michael Devlin (0-1), Eoin O’Neill (0-1), Paddy Martin, James McNaughton. Subs: Peter McKeague for Devlin, Conor Laverty for Martin, Kevin McKillop for McGrath, Sean Og McErlaine for McNaughton.
Referee: Mike Sexton (Limerick).