by Eamonn Phillips in Sligo IT
Sligo IT was the venue for the All-Ireland Wheelchair Hurling Interprovincial Finals on Saturday 1st November.  The four provinces all arrived in their colours for what turned out to be a great day for both players and spectators alike. The Connacht side were looking to go one better this year – after finishing runners-up to Munster in 2013.
Round 1: Connacht 2 Munster 1
The first round-robinÓgame of the day threw-in with Connacht taking on  All-Ireland Champions Munster.  Five minutes into the game our Connacht midfielder Stephen Melvin scored the first goal of the day with a well hit long range strike. One minute later, Munster replied with a great goal leaving both teams level at half time. The second half started off with Connacht goalie, Liam OBoyle, making a superb save to keep Connacht in the game.  Both teams looked very even and a draw looked imminent until captain fantastic, Aidan Hynes popped up with a lovely last gasp effort to win it for Connacht. This was Connachts first ever win over Munster, a massive achievement by the hurlers in blue and white.
Round 2: Connacht 2 Ulster 2
Five minutes later, Connacht were back in action again, this time against Ulster.  And once more it was Connachts magnificient midfielder Stephen Melvin, who put us first on the score sheet. The second half began with two fast Ulster goals, but with 58 seconds remaining on the clock, Stephen Melvin scored a quality penalty, ensuring the draw for Connacht.
Round 3: Connacht 3 Leinster 0
After an hours break, Connacht were ready to roll again. They played against Leinster and the game got under way with a goal by Connacht captain Aidan Hynes.  With a  minute remaining in the first half, Connacht defender Pat Carty hit a wonder goal to the top corner from a sideline ball, leaving the Leinster goalkeeper helpless. In the second half, Stephen MelvinÓgot his fourth goal of the tournament and Connachts third of the match.  Connacht won 3-0, resulting in qualification for the A Final.  Much praise must go to the Connacht defenders and goalkeeper Liam OBoyle for keeping out a determined Leinster team.
Final: Munster 3 Connacht 2
Connacht and Munster met again in the A Final with a longer game of three 7 minute periods of duration.  In the first third, Connacht came out all guns blazing and Peter Egan was the first to score for Connacht with a great bottom corner effort.  Seconds later, Connachts Stephen Melvin scored from a Munster error, to put the Westerners two-nil up after the opening period. The tables turned in the second period with James McCarthy Scóring twice for Munster to bring the sides back level at 2-2. Munsters constant pressure in the final third paid off as captainÓger OHalloran popped up to get the winner for the Southerners, as the game ended 3-2 to Munster. However, Connacht go home with their heads held high having represented their province so brilliantly and there is no doubt that they will be back next year.
Eamonn Phillips is a Transition Year Student in Ballyhaunis Community School and has been working closely with the Connacht GAA Wheelchair Hurling team with coaching and PR as part of his TY Work Experience with the GAA over the past month.
Adrian Hession (Coach), Thaigh Morley (Coach), Tim Hynes (Coach)
David Tarpey (Ardrahan – Galway), Liam OBoyle (Knockmore – Mayo), Stephen Melvin (Owenmore Gaels – Sligo), Val Lenehan (Charlestown – Mayo), Aiden Hynes (Calry – Sligo), Pat Carty (Tourlestrane – Sligo) Fergal Mahon (Western Gaels – Roscommon), Peter Egan (Kilmovee – Mayo), Shane Curran (Moycullen – Galway), Sarah Cregg (Western Gaels – Roscommon), Tom Fleming (Charlestown – Mayo).



03-Nov-14 by Leitrim GAA