St Brendan's may navigate victory over Ballyheigue

Keanes Killorglin SuperValu County Minor Hurling Championship final - preview
By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
Last years beaten finalists St Brendan's will face off against Ballyheigue in the Keanes Killorglin SuperValu County Minor Hurling final in the curtain raiser at the Austin Stack Park on Sunday and it's a toss of coin, on who will collect the coveted title here.

Ballyheigue last won a minor title back in 1992 and from that team some fine players emerged such as the Boxer Slattery and Ed Flahive and on Sunday they will be aiming to win their fourth minor title to the Club.

St Brendan's have been more prolific as they won their last in 2006 and are going for title number eleven so they will making every effort to get their hands on the Sean Lovett Memorial Cup.
St Brendan's proved too strong for South Kerry in the quarterfinals on a 4-14 to 1-13 and than beat neighbours Kilmoyley in a hard fought semi final winning narrowly on a 2-9 to 1-10 scoreline with Cian Hussey scoring 1-7 of their total.

Ballyheigue on the other hand really set the cat among the pigeons when they knocked out the pre Championship favourites Causeway 3-9 to 2-10 but then they looked in big trouble against Abbeydorney in the semi final, until midway through the second half and they came from behind to win by four ( 0-15 to 0-11) . Ballyheigue know that any repeat of their first half showing against Abbeydorney and St Brendan's will not give them the chance to comeback.
St Brendan's have already won some silverware as they captured the Co Minor League title, beating Ballyduff 4-12 to 2-8 though the losers were without Padraig Boyle. Kieran Fitzgerald stood out in that game scoring 2-1 while Cian Hussey chipped in with 0-6.

St Brendan's chairman Justin Horgan is happy with the way the year has gone "It's been a very good campaign for us despite the fact that over half the starting fifteen are under sixteen. We won the county league and beat Kenmare in Killarney and then just got home against a strong Kilmoyley side. Again this was a very good game - Cian Hussey was on the ball with his free taking and Kilmoyley were a good balanced team, and Kilmoyley being the good team that they are came back very strong in the last quarter and we hung on in the end to emerge victorious. They made us work very hard to earn that victory.
On Sunday we are up against a very strong Ballyheigue team and they beat a much fancied Causeway team earlier in the campaign and there is no doubt but that Causeway was strong favourites for this years Championship. Fair play to Ballyheigue they did their homework and they came out and did the job on the day.
Ballyheigue will probably be going in as favourites on Sunday because I think its nine of our lads that are starting are under 16 so we are very young.
But they are a good bunch of lads and they have been putting in the work and they have been trying very hard. Look, I would be confident that they should be there or thereabouts and some of them have the experience of being in last years Minor final when they lost to Kenmare so they will not want to lose again. But despite their youth I would be hopeful that if they bring their A game to the table they have a great chance but it will not be easy. I think that the lads will do their club and their jersey proud on Sunday and that is all you can ask!
We have a few knocks but I am hoping that everyone will be available because Ballyheigue a physically strong side and we will have to be at our very best to beat them"

Ballyheigue coach is their senior fullback Michael Lucid but he has injury worries ahead of Sunday "At the moment we have serious concerns over our midfielder Paudie O'Carroll, fullback Jonathon Regan and Garry Galway who plays on the forty. O'Carroll is the biggest worry with a groin problem and he is one of our main players so we will need him to start. Paudie Carroll is our chief concern at the moment but we are hopeful that come Sunday that they will be ready. "

Lucid believes that Ballyheigue must improve despite putting out Causeway
"We are quite happy with the way the Championship has gone for us to date. Mike Halloran, Kevin O'Sullivan and myself have been involved with the team and we are happy with the way the lads have performed to date.
We overcame a very strong Causeway side that were expected to win the Championship this year in the quarterfinal... They had beaten us in a North Kerry League Final earlier in the League and that kind of spurned our guys on. We probably performed above ourselves on the day. We were very happy and it was really down to the determination of the players on the day that won it.
Since then while training has gone well and everything, but we seemed to be very poor in the first half against Abbeydorney. But having said that, Abbeydorney were very strong with the three O'Leary brothers and their appetite was ferocious.
Our fellows did not seem up for it but they came at half time and they probably realised what they were losing out on, getting to a county final for the last time as there are I think nine of them overage next year. So they were determined to get to the final and in the second half they came good.
I would say that the lads know because we spoke after the Abbeydorney game that we have improve one hundred percent if we are to have any chance in the final against St Brendan's. We would not beat Ardfert if they play like the played in the first half of the semi final and that's the truth!"
Lucid believes that St Brendan's experience of losing last year will stand to them and that they will take some stopping. But he believes that 1992 is too long to be waiting for Minor success "Its'92 since we last won a minor final and from that team we got the likes of, Willie Joe Leen, John Healy, Ed Flahive and Mike Slattery all came from that team and it started a purple patch for Ballyheigue hurling, going on to win senior in '95 and '96. So we are hoping maybe on Sunday we can start another sequence but it does not always work out that way. But we will be giving t our best shot"


Verdict:
Predicting minors is an inexact science and much will depend on how Mikey Halloran, Shane Dunne, Paudie Carroll and Gary Galway along with Tomas Casey play.
St Brenda's are strong all round and in Fitzgerald and Cian Hussey they have potential match winners.

Prediction; St Brendan's by a nose!