Hussey stars as the Saints march to Minor Final glory

Keanes Killorglin SuperValu County Minor Hurling Final
St Brendan's 2-18 Ballyheigue 3-8 
By Murt Murphy for
St Brendan's powered their way to their 11th County Minor Hurling Championship in the curtain raiser on Sunday at the Austin Stack Park Tralee, beating a gallant Ballyheigue side in the process, after a high quality contest.

It was a game that everything some excellent scores, blocking, hooking, movement and some very crisp stick work from both sides, that would leave one in no doubt but that the future of Kerry hurling in safe hands.
This was a tremendous win for St Brendan's considering over half the side is underage for the next two years and Mark Power has to take a lot of credit for the work he has put in with the squad.
2_mf.jpgThey were strong in every line, but a number of players caught the eye, most notably Cian Hussey son of the legend Gerard, who was a classy corner forward many moons ago!

Hussey gave some exhibition of free taking, and he was fouled for some of those free himself. He also scored that all important opening goal for St Brendan's and he looks to be a young player, who should go all the way to the top like his uncle Liam.
David Griffin looks another fine prospect and ran Cian close for man of the match, scoring four beauties from play and his general distribution and stack work, marks him out as another who should make it at senior level.
The captain Kieran Fitzgerald though carrying a shoulder injury is another strong player with good wrists and knows where the posts are. He scored two goals in their Co League win, and is another for the notebook.
Donie Mackessey comes from that sporting family who are not alone talented but also prepared to graft and he looks another who will make the transition up along.
Jack Savage who has made his name as fine footballer, is also a gutsy hurler and quick and aggressive, something that is laudable in a player, once it is controlled.
Kevin Skinner stood strong and tall at fullback and did not flinch an inch while David Fitzgerald cleared a lot of ball and looks a cool and clam defender who reads the game well. Killian Woulfe and Gearoid Silles are two more that caught the eye but every member of the St Brendan's team had a job to do and they executed Mark Power's game plan to perfection.

It was tough on Ballyheigue because in many respects, they needed it more, because they did not win a Co Minor title since 1992, while St Brendan's were winners in 2002, 2005, 2006 and this year.
4_mf.jpgBallyheigue were caught with the Cian Hussey sucker punch early on and you simply cannot give St Brendan's a six point start and expect to beat them. But they battled hard and never gave up which is to their credit. Michael O'Halloran is a class a defender and will play for the county for sure while Paudie Carroll and Shane Dunne at midfield ran at St Brendan's and both are players that should play with Ballyheigue in the years ahead.
Philip Lucid is a lovely tasty hurler who wastes very little while Gary Galway, is another with a bright future.
So for both St Brendan's and Ballyheigue clubs they seem to a conveyor belt of talent coming through and it should, though there is no guarantee, pay dividends in the years ahead.

St Brendan's, thanks to an explosive opening, when they raced seven points clear inside fifteen minutes , led 1-4 to 0-0 by the 15th minute.
Ballyheigue tried to rescue the situation; they just could not peg back that early St Brendan's onslaught, a first quarter scoring burst initiated by man of the match Cian Hussey.
To Ballyheigue credit they had reduced the gap to just three points by the 20th minutes and it was a mere four points at the interval, 1-7 to 0-6 in favour of St Brendan's.
However St Brendan's held all the aces up front, with Hussey being aided and abetted by David Griffin and Donie Mackessey. Then after initial second half resistance from Ballyheigue, St Brendan's drove home their superiority with a scoring burst that saw them lead 2-16 to 1-8 with time almost up, but two late Ballyheigue goals put a fairer reflection on the scoreboard.
St Brendan's were a well balanced side, with Kevin Skinner, David Fitzgerald, and Gearoid Silles outstanding at the back, while Jack Savage was very lively at midfield as St Brendan's hit the ground running.
Jack Savage opened the scoring in the 3rd minute and this was followed by three pointed frees from the stick of the precocious Hussey, who then ghosted through in the 10th minute for a well taken goal.
St Brendan's were 1-4 to 0-0 in front by the time Shane Dunne opened Ballyheigue's account with a 16th minute free, but four Ballyheigue points on the trot, saw them back in the game , with defenders Jonathon O'Regan and Mikey O'Halloran really excelling.
3_mf.jpgThen, an early second half Philip Lucid point proved merely a mirage for Ballyheigue, as five successive points from Hussey and another fine effort from Gearoid Silles, had St Brendan's six clear ( 1-13 to 1-7) by the 50th minute with Shane Corridan getting the losers goal.
However St Brendan's put the contest beyond Ballyheigue's reach, with three unanswered points from Mackessey, Silles and the outstanding Griffin, before Padraig Kearney finished to the net in the 57th minute.
Ballyheigue never gave up and a freak Shane Dunne goal was followed by another from Paudie Carroll, but it was purely cosmetic, as St Brendan's emerged victorious and title number eleven!

St Brendan's
C Hussey 1-10 ( 0-9 frees), D Griffin 0-4, P Kearney 1-0, G Silles 0-2, J Savage and D Mackessey 0-1 each

S Dunne 1-5 (0-5 frees), P Carroll 1-1, S Corridan 1-0, P Lucid 0-2.

St Brendan's
Ryan Delaney, Kevin Hanafin, Kevin Skinner, David Fitzgerald, Killian Woulfe, John Courtney, Gearoid Silles, Jack Savage, Fionan Horgan, Padraig Kearney, David Griffin, Donie Mackessey, Daniel Finnegan, Kieran Fitzgerald, Cian Hussey
Gearoid Sheehan for K Fitzgerald (inj 42), Darragh Dineen for J Courtney (inj 58)

Brendan Dunne, Padraig Behan, Jonathan O'Regan, Cian O'Sullivan, Kevin Casey, Michael O'Halloran, Shaun O'Mahony, Paudie Carroll, Shane Dunne, Philip Lucid, Gary Galway, Jimmy Hehir, Shane Corridan, Tomas Casey, Declan Behan
Subs: Mikey O'Connor for J Hehir (48), Michael Reidy for J O'Regan (inj 53)

Referee: Tom Godley (Kilmoyley)