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Middletown through to All-Ireland Final

Middletown through to All-Ireland Final

Middletown have reached the All Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Final after their 3-14 to 2-10 win over Effin

Congratulations and best of luck in the Final!

 

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AIB HURLING ALL IRELAND INTERMEDIATE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI- FINAL

Na FIANNA  3-14  EFFIN [LIMERICK ] 2-10
Middletown qualified for the the All Ireland Intermediate club final in style last sunday in St Brendans Park Birr when a  powerful display of quality hurling blew away the favourites and Na Fianna  were full value for their seven point win .This was undoubtedly the finest  display by a Middletown side for many years and the intensity and speed with which they  played the game left the Limerick side reeling and they could not match the  skill levels and tempo of the Middletown  gameplan .
On a near perfect day for hurling for the time of year  Middletown played with a breeze in the first half and they started the game at whirlwind speed. Kieran McKernan ,Paddy McBride and Barney McCann set the example in the middle third and the rest of the team followed suit  so much so that the first half was over in a flash  but was packed full of great patches of play from both sides who  moved the ball at pace . An early shot from Martin Moan drifted wide  but Middletown soon opened their account when good work out the field by Kieran McKernan released David Carvill and his  pass set up Ryan Gaffney .Ryan was fouled and David Carvill pointed. Paddy McBride was mopping up loose ball at midfield and when he passed to Martin Maguire on the run Martin was pulled down with David Carvill once more pointing the free . Effin were struggling to gain a foothold in the game  but did manage a point from influential Thomas Quaid before another foul on the rampaging Martin Maguire this time further out the field was punished by a Kieran McKernan long distance pointed free .  Nathan Curry and his defenders were carrying out their instructions to a tee with close tackling and first time deliveries into space and one such from Nathan  found Cahal Carvill who bore down on goal and recycled the sliothar for Ryan Gaffney to fire over a point . Middletown were playing hurling at this stage with such intensity and verve that Effin were shell shocked .Barney McCann  Brian Mallon Fintan Woods and Kieran McKernan were tackling and harrying their opponents   at every opportunity and Pauric Hughes and Paul Gaffney were imperious as ever -    clearing their lines with clever reading and positional play . Martin Maguire was tormenting the Effin defence on the right wing and his pass into   Ryan Gaffney  was offloaded to Cahal Carvill who was tackled high and  once more David Carvill slotted over the  free .
  Middletown  pulled further ahead with a well worked goal . Barney McCann found Ryan Gaffney in space and his quick delivery put Cahal Carvill in the clear near to goal and he finished to the net .Effin replied with a point  but Kieran McKernan   supported well from midfield to receive a pass from Ryan Gaffney and he fired over another point .Midletown were gathering up  loose ball around the middle and Effin tried hard to take them out of position to create some chances of their own . This ploy backfired when Middletown`s corner back Fintan Woods  was first to react to a  long clearance out of the Effin defence and fired over an inspiring score from outside the 65 metre line . Middletown were still on top in most parts of the field but a series of  three pointed frees in this  section of the game  from the Munster champions   kept them in contention coming up to the break.  Martin Maguire was fouled  once more on collecting a puck out and David Carvill pointed the free with ten minutes to go to half time .Paudie Moan  showed his value to the team with a stunning point blank save followed by good cover from Fintan Woods  as the Effin corner forward bore down on goal  and this was to prove crucial to protect the lead and the hard work done in this half . Middletown were interchanging Ryan Gaffney and David Carvill between half and full forwards and  keeping up the tempo of the game throughout the field . Martin Maguire got a point  from out on the wing  -  reward for a strong  first half performance . Effin were still pushing for a  strong finish to the half  and it took a spectacular high catch from Paul Gaffney deep in his own goal mouth to  prevent a score .  Effin had the final point of the half from a free to leave the score at the break
 NaFianna 1-9 Effin 0-6
Effin are known as a second half team as their display in the Munster final proved, so Middletown knew that they would have to work hard to defend their lead. Two of the forwards who  were worked hard in a   tough tackling midfield diamond in the first half were instrumental to a great second half display of clever forward play-Martin Moan and Connor McCann   ..David Carvill who was injured in the first half showed the determination  written on the faces of the Na Fianna players  on the restart when despite shipping a heavy challenge he  offloaded a pass to  Connor McCann and was on hand to fire over the free after Cahal Carvill was fouled . Effin pointed to cancel out this score and it needed  good work by Paudie Moan who saved smartly at his post and determined cover from Paddy McBride  to keep them out .  Middletown  inspired by this went up the field and  the accuracy of Kieran McKernan`s passing  created the next two scores – two stunning goals that rocked St Brendan`s Park . Kieran fired in a long cross field pass into space for Martin Moan to collect, outstrip his  marker and cut in from the wing to smash the sliothar to the net .Moments later Kieran passed inside to Conor McCann who played a clever one-two with Ryan Gaffney to  cut open the defence and Conner fired to the net  to open up a  twelve point lead .
 Brian Mallon Nathan Curry  and Fintan Woods   were  providing good cover in defence but Effin worked their way through for a goal  as Ned McCann replaced the injured David Carvill. Martin Moan was fouled and Ryan Gaffney took over free taking duties to point the free .Another Effin point narrowed the gap and Paddy McArdle was introduced into the defence .The Effin supporters were on their feet moments later  when their side  raced through and cracked home another goal . Middletown knew they were going to be asked serious questions  with the scoreline at 3-11 to 2-8 and fifteen minutes to go . .  Kieran McKernan  was fouled fifty yards from his own goal and Nathan Curry`s long range free was placed perfectly for Martin Moan who had ghosted out from the opposite corner to receive , turn and fire over a well worked score . The tackling and pace of the game was unrelenting and Middletown showed the character that  was needed to see out the game .  Effin added two more scores  but could not get past Paudie Moan again  as Kieran McKernan  Paddy McArdle Paddy McBride and  Paul Gaffney stood firm . Shea Gaffney and Ned McCann were giving Middletown new options in attack and Ned`s bravery in plucking a high ball out of the sky and  setting up Martin Moan for a  point  edged Middletown neared to safety .Paul Curry and JJ Hughes   refreshed the side when introduced and  it was fitting that Middletown finished the game with a piece of sublime skill from College All Star Shea Gaffney who pointed from a narrow angle .
Middletown had produced their best performance of the  season so far when it was needed most - coupling  skill  with discliplined tackling.  The  quality of the scores and the amount of turnovers acheived was particularly heartening to their  supporters   . The diligent  intensive  work done  by the management team of Sylvester McConnell Martin Curry Arthur Hughes  and Eamonn Long  over the long season  was borne out on the pitch last sunday  and  tributes were paid by many at the game as to the quality of the hurling by both sides . Effin were disappointed to lose  with an All Ireland final place within reach  but knew that on the day Middletown produced the better hurling and were deserved winners. The game was well refereed by Sean Cleere  Kilkenny .
Middletown play Mount Leinster Rangers in the ALL Ireland final  on Saturday 11 th February and  there will be no talk of anything else in the Middletown area for the next  few weeks . On behalf of club chaIrman Sean Harnett and the club committee  we would like to thank the players and management of our senior hurlers who have brought such great honour and prestige on our club for the record breaking achievement of reaching an All Ireland Final  and to get there in such style !. A word of thanks to the many supporters who have followed the team throughout the championship and the large numbers of supporters from within the club from, neighbouring clubs and  from around the county   who travelled to Birr and gave us  the proudest day in our clubs history so far . A special word of thanks to  our  sponsors -The Commercial Hotel Middletown  Lennons Middletown  Toal Trucks  and Market Stores Keady  and the many other businesses and individals who have donated and worked tirelessly to date to make our championship run so successful .The committee and players are  very appreciative of everyone`s efforts and  we will redouble our efforts to see an All Ireland trophy in the hands of Ryan Gaffney on 11 th February  2012
Na Fianna 3-14 Effin 2-10
MIDDLETOWN
 P MOAN   B MALLON   P HUGHES   F WOODS 0-1  K McKERNAN -2  N CURRY  P GAFFNEY   P McBRIDE   B McCANN   M MAGUIRE 0-1  C McCANN 1-0  David CARVILL 0-4   R GAFFNEY  0-2  C CARVILL 1-0   M  MOAN  1-2  subs  used  N McCANN   P McARDLE  S GAFFNEY 0-1   JJ HUGHES  P CURRY    subs  L WOODS  K HUGHES    S McCANN  J McKERNAN

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