We headed to Hendon last Saturday looking forward to participating in St Kiernans’ James O’Brien Memorial Tournament with the James O’Brien Memorial Cup and Shield to play for having been successful in this tournament last year taking home the Shield.
Parnells Gold team went in to Group 2, a very strong group indeed; the panel comprising Ronan Carolan, Matthew Cox, Darragh Egan, Alex Hipwell, Thomas Keane, Lorcan Moriarty, Ben Rossiter and Alex Wilson.
There would be four group games, over the bar being worth 3-points and under the bar 1-point aimed at encouraging children to go for points.
Group Game 1 – Parnells 0-2 (6-points) v Tara Gold 0-4 (12-points)
This was a tough and very close encounter with Tara narrowly winning by two scores with Parnells hitting the cross bar three times – it just wouldn’t go over!
Group Game 2 – Parnells 1-12 (37-points) v Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-3 (9-points)
The boys really had their shooting boots on and dominated for long periods with some great passing and link up play from the centre zone in to the attacking zone and won the game comfortably showing no lasting effects from the opening defeat.
Group Game 3 – Parnells 0-6 (18-points) v St Clarets 0-3 (9-points)
This was a close game with St Clarets putting up a good challenge but the boys were now full of confidence and managed to keep going notching their second win in the group.
Group Game 4 – Parnells 2-7 (23-points) v North London Shamrocks 0-5 (15-points)
Another tough encounter with NLS putting over some late scores however the good early work in taking their scores provided enough of a gap to secure the third win.
Therefore having won three out of four of the group games the boys progressed to the Cup Semi-Final and were drawn against Taras other team.
Cup Semi Final – Parnells 1-5 (16-points) v Tara Green 0-5 (15-points)
This was a really close affair and full credit to the boys for holding on despite a late rally from a gallant Tara side who pulled back three scores in a row unanswered to almost level it. This was definitely a game for biting the nails and the final whistle couldn’t come quick enough!
In to the final the boys went against Tara Gold who had beaten them in the very first group match.
James O’Brien Memorial Cup Final – Parnells 1-8 (25-points) v Tara Gold 0-3 (9-points)
I asked the boys to give me their best 15-minutes and to a man they did just that. It was hard to believe this was the same group of players who had just squeezed through the semi-final. From the throw in they fought for every ball and pegged Tara back not giving an inch with Tara unable to register a score in the first two zones as the boys upped their game in all parts of the field. Unlike the semi-final the boys never let up the pace and were relentless with Ronan and Alex Wilson starting up front getting us off to a great start as we put over a number of scores in the first zone. As the match progressed there were also some great long range scores from Thomas and Lorcan. Ben and Darragh were very strong in the challenge refusing to be beaten and Alex Hipwell also showed good control when in possession with Matthew Cox battling for every ball for the team and showing good control even when under pressure. This was a strong team they were up against but the determination, drive and skill shown by all the boys was fantastic to see as they secured the cup for the first time since 2011.
It was a great end to a long day and the boys got what they deserved, the above brief note in no way does any justice to the effort and contribution made by each member of the panel. To say I was extremely proud of all of them would be a massive understatement.
Thanks also to Mandy Hipwell who helped me throughout the day with the team and thanks to the parents for staying and in some cases rearranging plans so the boys could stay. The support given to the boys in the final was excellent.
Also special thanks to St Kiernans for inviting us to participate in a well-run and well organised tournament.
Finally hard luck to Parnells Blue team who fell at the final hurdle losing the Shield Final to St Clarets.
WELL DONE PARNELLS GOLD