20-year-old Donnacha Ó Dálaigh breaks Tooreen hearts with outstanding final display 3 weeks ago

20-year-old Donnacha Ó Dálaigh breaks Tooreen hearts with outstanding final display

Monaleen 1-17 Tooreen 1-15

A Donnacha Ó Dálaigh inspired Monaleen defeated Tooreen to win the All-Ireland intermediate club hurling championship.

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The 20-year-old was on fire in Croke Park, coming up with improbable points whenever his club needed them and, eventually, despite a valiant effort from Tooreen, that was enough for the Limerick champions.

The sharpshooting Mark O'Dwyer also contributed for Eoin Brislane's team, sniping three brilliant points from play, but while Andrew La Touche Cosgrave worked hard and captain Lorcan Lyons defended well, it was all about their young corner forward.

Ó Dálaigh simply could not miss on the biggest stage of all.

His first touch was immaculate and then, with a drop of the shoulder or a shake of the hips, he'd create a yard before swinging points with the minimal of fuss. This was the story of the game as the two-year Limerick under-20 ended his day with five of the finest points from open play.

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That being said and as good as Ó Dalaigh was, Tooreen were still very unlucky.

The Mayo kingpins were ten minutes from becoming their county's first ever club to win a hurling All-Ireland and they will rue a number of first half wides and a pair of second half efforts that hit the post.

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That was the difference in the end. It was the difference between winning and losing.

Having lost three semi-finals at this grade, Tooreen will be heartbroken not to have gotten over the line this Saturday but many of their players could not have done anymore.

At centre back, the pacy Stephen Coyne was outstanding for Tooreen, clearing ball after ball. Fergal Boland and Cathal Freeman both roared into the game with a thunderous second half displays, their pace causing Monaleen plenty of problems.

Goalscorer Liam Lavin also showed up well but in the end, it was Ó Dalaigh's day, and it was Monaleen's day.

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"The work those lads (our defenders) put in with the last few balls, the last ten minutes, winning those dirty rucks on the sideline - an absolute credit to themselves, fantastic work," said Ó Dálaigh, deflecting the praise onto his team-mates.

"It was fantastic, playing that type of hurling in Croke Park, with those lads, it's unbelievable," said the man-of-the-match on TG4 after the game.

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Monaleen

Jamie Power; Simon Griffin, Bryan Canny, Jamie Porter; Leo Morrison, Lorcan Lyons, Ronan Lyons, Joseph Fitzgerald (0-1), Lochlann McHale; Dan Power (1-0), Mark O’Dwyer (0-7, 0-4 frees), Luke Murphy (0-1), Donnacha O Dalaigh (0-5), Ed Doyle (0-1), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (0-2)

Subs: David Moloney for Power (54 mins), Eoghan O'Driscoll for O'Dwyer (61 mins).

Tooreen

TOOREEN: Bobby Douglas; Conor Henry, Michael Morley, Oisin Greally; Joe Boyle, Stephen Coyne, David Kenny (0-1); Sean Kenny (0-1), Daniel Huane; Liam Lavin (1-0), Fergal Boland (0-2), Cathal Freeman (0-2); Shane Boland (0-4, 0-2f), Sean Regan (0-2), Eoin Delaney (0-2)

Subs: Kenny Feeney for Huane (51 mins), Gary Nolan for Henry (55 mins).