The u16 hurling final was played in the county grounds Convoy on Thursday evening. St Eunan’s faced the league champions Buncrana undefeated at all age groups over the years. Indeed Buncrana club after a magnificent season were on the cusp of delivering a clean sweep of all underage hurling A competitions in 2014. For St Eunans the stakes were also high having lost out to Buncrana at u12 and u14 this year, they entered the field determined to avenge those and the u16 league final defeat in August.
St Eunans opened brightly with two points in succession from Niall O Donnell. Buncrana replied with points from Fiachra McLochainn and Kevin Vaughan on 8 minutes. Points were exchanged but the St Eunans attack was getting a lot a ball. A shot from Cian Randles hit the crossbar on 15 minutes followed by a point from Niall o Donnell. Both defences were working very hard, tackling furiously, denying space, hooking and blocking. Then, after good work in midfield Niall o Donnell came onto the ball and drove the sliotar into the Buncrana net. Buncrana responded with a flurry of attacks but the shots were forced wide under pressure from the St Eunan defence. Keeper Eoin Mc Laughlin was then forced to make an excellent save at full length from a Buncrana strike 5 minutes from halftime. The break came quickly with the score St Eunans 1.04 Buncrana 0.06.
Buncrana started the second half at a higher intensity with their midfield of Declan Mc Carron and Dylan Duffy prominent. Points from Paul Tourish, Kevin Vaughan and David Doherty had Buncrana in the lead by the 10th minute with the St Eunans defence under intense pressure. However, St Eunans refused to buckle and a long ball from Niall was finished in the net by his young brother Shane o Donnell on 12 minutes. Points from Pauric Neeley and Niall O Donnell restored Eunans lead But Buncrana replied with scores from Declan Mc Carron and James Doherty. Both teams were now throwing everything they had left into the game. On the 23th minute Niall O Donnell the games outstanding player took the ball on the 45m line, beat the Buncrana defence and scored a brilliant goal with an unstoppable shot. Five minutes left. A second run by Niall was blocked out for a 65 subsequently scored. Nevertheless, Buncrana were not beaten. Points from Dillon Duffy and Paul Tourish reduced the deficit to the minimum deep into injury time. Buncrana worked hard for that crucial score but the Eunans defence cleared every ball putting their bodies continuously on the line. Niall O Donnell fittingly scored the final point of the game for St Eunans to win by two points amidst wild celebrations. Prominent for Buncrana were James Doherty and Declan mc Carron. Whilst for St Eunans the whole defensive unit were outstanding and Niall O Donnell stood out driving on his team to victory. Final Score: St Eunans 3.09 to Buncrana 0 .16.
County Minor Hurling Chairman and Manager Tom Clare presented the trophy to Captain Niall O Donnell praising both teams for their excellent display. Indeed the whole Buncrana management and team were gracious in defeat despite their obvious disappointment. In truth Donegal hurling was the winner with only a puck of a ball between the teams at the end. Niall O Donnell thanked Buncrana, the referee, linesmen and the county board for the use of the pitch.
Eoin Mc Laughlin, Brian Mc Intyre, Sean Tourish, Conor Kelly, Ryan Hilferty, Lee Doherty, Jordan Barr, Sean Halvey, Kevin Keally, Cian Durack, Des Kenny, Shane o Donnell (1.0), Cian Randles, Niall o Donnell (2.08), Paurlc Neeley, Anthony Horgan, Shane Maguire, Ethan Doherty, Mark Mc Ginty, Cathal Kilcullen, Peter Mc Gee, Aaron Deany, Cormac Finn, Conor f Kelly, Kealan Barrett.
Darren Fitzpatrick, James Doherty (0.01), John Vaughan, Oisin Mc Daid, Paddy Wilson (0.01), Paul Tourish (0.02), PJ Mc Carron, Dylan Duffy (0.06), Declan Mc Carron (0.01), Ben Doherty, David Doherty (0.01), Kevin Vaughan (0.02), Oisin Grant (0.01), Fiachra Mc Lochainn (0.01), Daniel Deery, Matthew Wilson.
Referee: Anthony Coyle.
Linesmen: Hugo Wallace and JJ Laverty