U12 Andy Egan tournament champions 2013

imageOn Sunday last our Under 12s had an early start when they headed for Kilkenny for the James Stephens annual tournament at 8.30am. The local boys were in a group with Naas, Kilmacud CroKes and Thomastown. First up for the Comer boys were Naas who proved to be difficult to break down as they were much bigger than the comer boys. However the Erins Own boys never took an step back and punished their opponents at every opportunity. Led by Dan Coogan up front the comer boys took a foothold on the match approaching half time with two good goals from Conor Clarke and Jamie Maher. On the resumption of the second half the pushed home their advantage to run out good winners by 7-5 to 3-1. Nicky Connolly in goal brought off some great saves and in front of him the tigerish Kevin Holland was a rock all afternoon. In front of them Christopher Kroff swept all in front of him alongside Captain Jack Buggy. This was the launching pad for many Comer attacks where the full of running Conor Clarke made great inroads scoring three great goals. Others to do well in this game were Killian Hogan, Liam Doyle, Billy O Neill and Lee Holden.
Next up for the locals was Kilmacud CroKes. In what was a brilliant game of hurling which went from one end of the field to the other the Comer boys came from behind to draw level on the final whistle for a share of the spoils on a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-8. This game had all the skills of the game on view with points from long range frees and line balls the highlight of the Comer scores. Dan Coogan scored two wonderful long range frees and Jack Buggy cut a superb line ball over the bar. However this game was had more than this for the big crowd to enjoy. The bigger CroKes team looked at one stage that they would overrun the Comer boys but as the game wore on it was Comer who looked more comfortable on the ball. It was the great hurling of Shane Coogan, Kealan Ring, Luca Downey, Nicky Connolly in goals, Dan Coogan, cathal O Reilly and Ciaran Meagher allowing for the fact that most of them are still under ten. This draw was to prove critical as the day progressed. Thomastown were next up for the Comer boys with top of the table up for grabs. Again the Comer boys started excellently and ran up a great lead to lead by 9 points at the break. With a good lead built up and a semi final place guaranteed it gave the comer mentors a chance to rest some players for the next tussle. With a lot of the younger boys getting their chance they surely did take it and ran out good winners by 4 points. Excellent in this match were Liam Doyle, Kealan Ring, Billy O Neill, Kevin Holland, Dan Coogan, Killian Hogan and Jamie Maher.
So it was onto the cup semi final against the host club James Stephens and a big vocal local support. This turned out to be one of the finest under 12 games for many a long day. The lead changed hands on four occasions in a fine competitive game played in a great spirit. At the break the Comer boys were three points down but just like all games this didn’t unduly worry the young lads from our club. With Christopher Kroff, Jack Buggy, Connor Clarke, Kevin Holland, Dan Coogan and Nicky Connolly saving their best hurling of the day for the second half all present knew it would go down to the wire. Having pulled back the half time deficit to the minimum Comer were dealt a body blow when they conceded a soft goal. However after a great team move involving Conor Clarke and Jack Buggy all the way from the half back line Jack finished a great goal to bring the Comer boys back into the game immediately. The same player posted another minor score from a free and at the full time whistle we had another draw on a scoreline of Comer 3-4 to James Stephens 2-7 and it was onto extra time. The Comer boys were much the quicker to settle in extra time and added two lovely points in the first half. The second half was a real tester for the Comer boys as they held onto a dangerous two points lead heading into the last two minutes. Another pointed free from Jack Buggy followed by a super goal from Lee Holden following a great ball from Conor Clarke saw the Comer boys through to the final after a fantastic game of hurling played by two superb teams. Every player contributed magnificently to this victory from goalie to all the substitutes.
From there it was down to two teams who had never met each other previously Erins Own versus Ballygunner to decide who would win the Andy Egan perpetual cup. With Comer having won the Cup last year we were now in real bonus territory to be in with a great chance of winning it again. The first half was a tense affair as expected with both teams making mistakes. Comer settled well and a dangerous low shot from Conor Clarke found its way through a forest of hurls to end up in the corner of the net. This was followed by a pointed free from Jack Buggy to put the Comer lads up by 4. Ballygunner replied with a point before Jack Buggy’s side line ball went to the corner of the net. Immediately the Waterford boys replied with a goal to leave the half time lead 2-1 to 1-1 to Comer. Ballygunner started much better in the second half and had wiped out the Comer advantage by the fifth minute and then went three ahead. At this stage the Comer legs were showing signs of a full intense days hurling and the big support wondered could they get back into the game. Conor Clarke kept them in touch with a lovely point followed by a similar one from Jack Buggy from a free. On their next attack Comer used the ball very well with some lovely hand passing the ball found its way to Dan Coogan who showed great skill and composure to finish an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net to give us a two point lead. Comer defended brilliantly from here to the end and beat away ball after ball. On the stroke of full time Ballygunner had a 21 yard free to snatch victory but the shot rose high and over the bar to leave a point between the teams. On the puck out the final whistle blew and great celebrations began as Comer retained the Andy Egan Cup for 2013 following on from last year’s win. It would be unfair to single out any player in the final as the whole panel played their hearts out and chased every ball from the first whistle to the last.
Having gone all day undefeated this was a great win for a very dedicated bunch of young boys who have improved greatly as the year went on. Afterwards the cup was presented to captain for the day Jack Buggy and his team mates. Well done to James Stephens who organised a super tournament with all games on time and all games played in a great spirit.

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