Glen Rovers regained the Rebel Óg Premier 1 Minor Hurling Championship title at Páirc Uí Rinn on Monday night, claiming their first win since 2017. They led at half-time 2-7 to 0-8 with both goals coming from lively corner-forward Stephen Lynam.
Unfortunately for Bride Rovers, when news filtered through before the match that star midfielder Cillian Tobin – an All-Ireland minor medallist with Cork this summer – was absent due to an ankle injury he picked up on Thursday night, it was a monumental blow to their chances.
He did make an appearance in the 40th minute with his side trailing by seven points but he didn’t last, being substituted again nine minutes later.
Bride Rovers, who haven’t won this title since 1932, went with a sweeper, Ronan O’Connell, and while he helped to shore up their defence, it robbed them of a man up front. They battled all the way but the Glen had more strength overall.
Adam Hayes opened the scoring for Bride Rovers, but it was a point from Charlie Hurley in the fourth minute that set Glen Rovers on their way.
Lynam grabbed his first goal in the eighth minute after he was put through by Hurley. Lynam then raised a white flag and there was one from play from county minor Eoin O’Leary as the Glen moved 1-3 to 0-1 ahead.
By the first water-break, the city team were 1-6 to 0-2 up – O’Leary registered the points, and all three were classy scores including a huge free from way out on the touchline.
Adam Hynes, Hayes, and Adam Walsh got the Bride scoreboard moving again but a second goal from Lynam three minutes from the change of ends put his team in the driving seat. He collected from a long delivery and finished in style.
With the game getting away from them, Hayes and Walsh (2) scored crucial points to leave Bride five adrift at the short whistle.
Lynam and O’Leary stretched the gap to seven points after the restart, a margin they maintained until the second water break, 2-11 to 0-10. Glen Rovers goalkeeper Ben Heffernan pulled off a point-blank save from Walsh.
At the other end, custodian Ronan O’Riordan denied O’Leary a third Glen goal to keep his side in contention.
When O’Leary notched his seventh point, and there was one from play courtesy of Eoghan O’Sullivan, the advantage was now nine points.
Bride Rovers outscored the Glen two to one in the closing five minutes, but there was no denying Mark Kennefick’s side their hour of glory.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: S Lynam (2-3), E O’Leary (0-7, 0-3 frees), C Hurley (0-2), C Maguire, E O’Sullivan and C Walsh (0-1 each).
Scorers for Bride Rovers: A Hayes (0-4, 0-1 free), A Walsh (0-3), L Roche (0-2), A Hynes (free), D Barry, J Ahern and R O’Connell (0-1 each).
GLEN ROVERS: B Heffernan; J Kirwan, E Varian (Capt), R Moroney; S Cronin, F O’Driscoll, D Wall; R Dunne, Z Lynch; E O’Sullivan, E O’Leary, C Hurley; C Maguire, C Walsh, S Lynam.
BRIDE ROVERS: R O’Riordan; C O’Sullivan, L Collins, E O’Connor; K Cotter, D Cashman, A Hynes; D Barry (Capt), C Hazelwood; N Kelleher, J Ahern, A Walsh; R O’Connell, L Roche, A Hayes.
Subs: C Tobin for N Kelleher (40), B Knox for Tobin (49 inj).
Referee: Mark Maher (St Finbarr’s).