High hopes rested on this years U16 team having reached an All Ireland Feile final in 2008. Few however could have envisaged that they would win all their games before overcoming Miltown in a tight & tense county final in Cooraclare on May 3rd. This was achieved with the minimum of resources as only 21 players were available to Mike Riordan & his selectors all season. The size of our panel was used to our advantage as every opportunity was given to give players as much game time as possible.
After a shaky opening half against Doora Barefield, the Tones came back to win by 8 points. This victory was followed up with further wins against Kilrush, Eire Og, Cooraclare, Miltown, Kilmihil & Ennistymon. Having topped the group, we were now paired against Cooraclare in the semi final in Kilmihil. Our exploits to date had not gone unnoticed & a healthy crowd travelled from Shannon to the game. Cooraclare had a devastating start to lead us by 1-3 to 0-0 after 8 minutes. Point by point we got back into the game to lead 1-7 to 1-5 at half time. A brace of goals from Mikey Hasty early in the second half put us in the driving seat & the Tones won 5-10 to 1-8.
And so onto the final against our old friends Miltown. These teams had met in two recent Feile finals & knew each other well. The game was fixed for Cooraclare on the evening of the May Bank holiday. A large attendance from both camps made their way to the final. The team spent the day together & the form was good. It was Miltown who made the brighter start though & they kicked a couple of early points. Disaster then struck for David Murphy as he had to retire inhured after only 10 minutes. Finally Tones made the breakthrough when captain William Flynn soloed through to score a fine goal. Two more goals followed from Dylan Birchall & ‘Tuts’ & Tones led 3-3 to 0-3 at half time. Miltown never gave up though & point by point they clawed their way back into it. Both sets of supporters started to get excited as the tension began to mount. With the gap down to 2 points Tones missed a chance to score but from the kicked out, Jack Carrigs effort ended up in the back of the net. The relief was palpable & when Jack Kelly kicked his second point moments later the cup was on its way back to Shannon for only the fourth time on a final score of Wolfe Tones 4-4 Miltown 0-10. Wolfe Tones & county board officer Joe Kelly presented the cup to captain William Flynn who then led the cavalcade back to Shannon.
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