Donegal’s u-17 hurlers just miss out on Tom Hogan Cup final berth

The season ended for Donegal’s Celtic Challenge Development Squad at Kilballan GAA club in Ballyconnell on Saturday afternoon. There was only a point between the sides as they lost to a well drilled Kildare in the Tom Hogan Cup semifinal.

Kildare 1-9  1-8 Donegal.

Unlike previous games Donegal were very slow off the mark, several wides and a 65’ off the upright kept Donegal scoreless for 23 minutes. Kildare’s defence was impressive, time after time breaking down the Donegal attack, working the ball up through their lines and taking simple scores. Donegal introduced Matthew Callaghan and Shane Ellison into the attack and they made an immediate impression.

Donegal got a score on the board from a free awarded after an under-pressure Kildare defender was penalised for a throw ball. Brendan Gaffey from close range, opened the Donegal account. Donegal upped their game and attacked much better after this. Eoghan Walsh impressive throughout, won a dirty ball, stepped out of the ruck and slammed to the net. Donegal now recovered, went in one point down at half time.

Kildare 1-5  1-4 Donegal

On the restart Donegal levelled matters with another well taken free from Gaffey but Kildare responded with three unanswered scores. Donegal pushed hard and introduced the short puc out with super play from Ben McDaid and Oisin Diver delivering quality ball to the Donegal attack. Donegal won frees and were reliant on the steady free taking of Brendan Gaffey for scores. Aidan McKinney slipped through the Kildare defence and added a lovely point from play. Into added time Donegal were one point down and pushing hard but Kildare turned over the last attack and were relieved to hear the final whistle.

Kildare 1-9  1-8 Donegal.

This ends Donegal’s under 17 hurling campaign. Overall, the squad performed very well and are unlucky not to advance to the Corn Tom Hogan final. The future is bright with many of the panel eligible to play in the same grade again next year. Adie Gaffey has laid the important foundations and has set the standards required to represent Donegal with distinction.

Donegal: Brendan O’Carroll, Killian Barr, Oisín Diver, Michael Doogan, Ben McDaid, Stephen Browne Eunan Gallagher, David Horgan, Donal Farrelly, Eoghan Walsh (1-0), Aidan McKinney (0-1), Brendan Gaffey (0-7,7fs), Matthew Callaghan for Farren and Shane Ellison for Killian Barr 20min, Oisin Kerr for Kealy 50min.