NO STOPPING CASTLEBLAYNEY ONCE AGAIN

17 August 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Colm Shalvey
Eight championships in nine years and 12 in 14; the achievements keep coming for Castleblayney’s hurlers. They faced a stern test of their credentials in last Sunday’s Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship Final at Aughnamullen, but they held off Inniskeen’s challenge to retain the title.
With an unbeaten record in Monaghan hurling and two trophies already added to the cabinet this year, Blayney are once again the undisputed top dogs, having led from start to finish in Sunday’s decider. 2010 champions Inniskeen proved they are on this stage to stay; competing much better than in last year’s final, although they will be nonetheless disappointed to end up empty-handed
Castleblayney burst out of the traps by hitting the first four points, but Inniskeen gradually settled into the game and they were just two points adrift by half-time (0-9 to 0-7), by which stage they could have been ahead had their finishing been more accurate. The Grattans continued to push throughout the second half, but they were never able to catch up with Blayney, who looked to have wrapped the game up when they struck for the game’s first goal on 53 minutes.
Rising star Fergal Rafter was the man who got it (with his last touch before being substituted), pouncing to send a ground-strike to the net after a high ball in from Gary Boyd broke loose. When Mickey McHugh converted a free a minute later for his fifth point, Blayney looked home and dry, but Inniskeen weren’t going down quietly. Points by TJ Byrne and Michael Lennon gave them hope and a foul on Dónal Meegan allowed Pauric Dowdall to drive a free beyond everyone to close the gap to two points and set up a grandstand finish. Blayney held firm, however, to secure a 1-13 to 1-11 victory which, on balance, they deserved. Blayney will be very happy with how they defended, particularly in the full-back line, where Paul Murphy and Mark Treanor impressed, as did Peter Treanor at centre half-back. Team captain Gary Boyd not only got his hands on the Mick Quigley Cup, but also the Man-of-the-Match award after an excellent performance, particularly in the second half, when he won a huge amount of possession and gave quality service to forwards like McHugh, Rafter, Hugh Byrne and Stephen Forde, who all chipped in on the scoreboard. Paul Hughes and co. were also able to introduce players of …

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