GOOD START FOR FIRST TIMERS IN TYRONE
This week past hurlers from 4 schools in West Tyrone ventured into the unknown and participated as an amalgamated team in the Casement Cup, an U18 Ulster Colleges hurling competition for the first time ever.
This team is made up of players from Holy Cross College, Strabane, Sacred Heart College, Omagh, St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley and Omagh CBS.
The players have been training together once a week in Omagh CBS from the start of September to take part in this initiative backed by the Schools, Tyrone County Board and Ulster Colleges.
On Tuesday 4th October the 4 weeks training was put to the test against St Colman’s from Co Down in a fiercely contested first game played in good conditions at Sherry Field in Armagh.
Colman’s were the first to get the scoreboard ticking and went ahead 0-3 to no score until West Tyrone put their first point on the board after 7 minutes. A great pass played from centre back Aidan O’Neill saw Barry O’Neill score.
Points were exchanged throughout the rest of the half until Lee Murphy struck the back of the net a minute from half time to leave the score 0-6 to 1-3.
After the break the game started at lightning pace with West Tyrone tapping over 2 frees from Alex Murphy and 2 from play from midfielder Gerard Gilmore. Colman’s struck back with a long range 65 tapped over by their centre half back and 2 more from play.
The game ebbed and flowed and the score was tight at 1-7 to 0-9 until West Tyrone struck the net again. A loose ball picked up by Sean Fox who side stepped a Colman’s defender and struck low to the net. 2-7 to 0-9 with 10 minutes to go.
Colman’s fought back bravely with 2 more fine points, from wing and corner forwards to leave it 2-7 to 0-11 in the closing 3 minutes.
A long range free from centre back O’Neill was floated in high and a strong leap from full forward Lee Murphy saw his hurl tap the ball nicely past the oncoming Colman’s keeper to close the game out.
A good start to the competition and first win under the new teams belt. West Tyrone 3-7 to St Colman’s 0-11.
TOUGHER TIMES IN BAD CONDITIONS FOR WEST TYRONE HURLERS
West Tyrone ventured south to Clonmore GAC in Armagh for the second of their round games in the Casement Cup. They faced La Salle from Belfast in this tie and it was sure to be a tough encounter.
The weather did not lend itself to hurling as the winds blew strong from one end of the pitch.
West Tyrone had the use of this in the first half but found it hard to convert long balls and frees. However they were the first to get the scoreboard ticking as La Salle struggled for the first 10 minutes of the half. West Tyrone led 0-3 to 0-1 after 10 had gone.
La Salle then seemed to take control of the midfield area and a constant supply of long range balls into their big full forward started paying dividends as they went 3 in front after 21 minutes to leave the score 0-5 to 0-8.
Centre Back Conor “Reevy” was hurling well but at the other end to the field ball was being cleared too often too quickly. The La Salle Centre half back was beginning to dominate in the air and a long range ball into their corner forward seen the green flag raised after 25 minutes. La Salle lead by 1-10 to 0-8.
In the dying seconds of the first half Ryan Owens converted to leave 4 in it at the break.
The second half started badly for West Tyrone as they conceded 2 goals one after another. The wind was a major contributing factor as the puck out was reaching only the half back line who were under immense pressure. However the lads settled and started getting into to the game and struck a fine point and then a goal to leave the score 3-10 to 1-9.
Constant pressure in spite of the wind ensured the Tyrone back line tightened up, and provided more ball into the forward line who scored a goal courtesy of Ruari Grugan and then the La Salle keeper gifted Tyrone a goal to leave the scoreline in the 24 minute 3-12 to 3-6.
In the last 2 minutes another goal was conceded to the leave to final score West Tyrone 3-6 La Salle 4-12.
West Tyrone, due to the win in game 1 progress to the Quarter Final stage of the competition the week of 10th October were they will face Antrim side St Louis of Ballymena.