The Donegal Co. U-14 hurlers had an early start on Saturay last as they travelled to Newry to take part in All-Ireland National B blitz
The 5.45 a.m. wake up was to have its’ effect on the teams first match against Wicklow.
Wicklow, who travelled the previous evening, looked fresher as the Donegal lads battled bravely but lost their opening group game 3-3 to 0-6.
Donegal were in control from the start in their next game against Sligo winning comfortably 1-5 to 1-2. This result along with Wicklow beating Sligo in the last group match ensured Donegal where through to the semi-final of the shield against Roscommon.
From the start Donegal dominated and controlled the game and turned on the style to record an empathic victory of 3-14 to 1-4 over 30 minutes. The final was a tense thriller against the home side of Down.
Donegal dominated possession and puck outs but their scoring opportunities fell short against a stiff wind in the first half.
Down having fewer chances proved more economical and ruthless in their attack and led by 6 points at half time. Donegal chipped back at the lead to within 3 points but the Down keeper proved to be the defining difference pulling off some top class diving saves against a rampant Donegal forward line.
The Down keeper and full back line simply blockaded the enduring Donegal pressure as they seeked out an equalising goal. Down the victors on a score line of 3-6 to 1-9.
Overall a successful day away for the young Donegal hurlers with some great performances, skill, spirit and team play on display. A special word of note goes to Caolan McDermott who missed the final due to injury. All the team and management wish him a speedy recovery.
1. Ciaran Bradley Burt
2. Josh Arbuckle Burt
3. Cian Randles St. Eunans
4. P.J. McCarron Buncrana
5. Fiachra McLoughlin Buncrana
6. Paul Tourish Buncrana
7. Cahir O’ Doherty Letterkeny Gaels
8. Ben Doherty Buncrana
9. Caolan McDermott Burt
10. Shay Doherty Letterkenny Gaels
11. Fintan Griffin McCools
12. Dylan Duffy Buncrana
13. Conor Kelly St. Eunans
14. Shea Logue McCools
15. Oisin Grant Buncrana
16. Cathal Kilcullen St. Eunans
17. Brian Diver Letterkenny Gaels
18. Conal Sweeney Aodh Ruadh
19. Mattie McDermott Burt
20. Ryan Hilferty St. Eunans
21. Ryan Ayres Aodh Ruadh
22. P.J. Walker Carndonagh
23. Conal Doogan Carndonagh
24. Jason Campbell Buncrana
25. Pauric Sweeney Dungloe