Hurling:Irish beaten despite brave show

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Losing by two points, and with the clock ticking down, Jim McCormack was fouled in the 21.

As Denis Finnegan stood to take the free hit at goal the referee told him that if it went in for the three points, Jersey Irish would win.

If he failed, he would blow his whistle and Clon Na Gael would win.Despite this make-or-break kind of pressure, he gave it a decent thump, only to see it go narrowly high and wide.The match was over, and with it the trophy was gone.However, team member Dermot Harrison had nothing but praise for his team-mates, who never recovered after two players had to be led from the field in the first half.

The first player, the influential Jeremy Clare, broke his finger after 15 minutes.

Then corner-back Pat Kelly was concussed two minutes later after being slapped, by accident, in the side of his head with a hurley.’It was an accident.

He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ said Harrison, who described it as ‘a game of two halves.”In the first we had the wind with us.

In the second half, with two players out and with one of our only two substitutes having to play, but on the bench already injured, we tried to defend our two-point lead.’We nearly did it.

They only scored four points over the next 35 minutes.’But it was hard, and they missed a lot of chances.

At times every one of our players, bar one, was having to defend.

I cannot fault any one of our team, and our ‘keeper, Gerry Hall, was outstanding.’The game had started so brightly, too, when playing with the wind at their backs they went into a three-point lead through a John Payne goal after six minutes.

Captain Eugene McCarthy then scored a point and with regular points from Harrison (one goal, two points), Finnegan (one point), plus another point by Geordie Sharpe, by half-time the Irish were in the lead.Ominously, though, Clon Na Gael had scored three goals of their own, with the last one coming just before the end of the half.And, at half-time, everyone knew that with their two subs on, any game plan they had went out of the window.’We simply had to defend as if our lives depended on it,’ said Harrison.A two-point lead was never going to be enough, particularly as players were having to play out of position, but Jersey Irish ran their rivals ragged and, at the end, could have turned defeat into victory if only Finnegan’s shot, into the wind, had dipped into the net for those three extra points.’It could have been a fairy tale ending,’ said Harrison, ‘but it was just not meant to be.’Jersey: Gerry Hall, Tony Kelly, Ger O’Gorman, Pat Kelly (Eddie McGrath), Pat Maloney, John Molloy, Jimmy McCormack, Denis Finnegan (player/manager), Joe Peglay, Eugene McCarthy, John Payne, Dermot Harrison, Richie Maloney, Geordie Sharpe, Jeremy Clare (Damien Machuge).

Team officials thanked the supporters who went with them, at their own expense.

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