Waterford Senior Hurling Championship Final – De La Salle 3-13 Ballygunner 1-11

Do-or-die De La Salle catch fire in second half

De La Salle 3-13 Ballygunner 1-11

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, October 25, 2010

DE LA Salle stormed to a second Waterford senior hurling title yesterday, reversing their group stages defeat at the hands of Ballygunner as they ran out easy winners in Walsh Park. Defeated 3-20 to 0-14 during the summer by yesterday’s opponents, De La Salle turned things around in fine style, with three second-half goals putting Ballygunner to the sword. It was a game that was slow to come to the boil: the teams couldn’t be faulted for effort, but despite perfect conditions for hurling, the final didn’t crackle in a lacklustre first-half. De La Salle’s tactical gambit was the move of John Mullane from the full-forward line to centre-half-forward, presumably with the intention of testing Fergal Hartley’s speed. Ballygunner countered with the switch of Philip Mahony to centre-back, where he did well on the Waterford county star.

The Gunners’ problems lay further upfield, where De La Salle held sway in the half-back line in particular: a pre-throw-in move sent Bryan Phelan from midfield to wing-back in a direct swap with Conan Watt, and he, Stephen Daniels and the imperious Kevin Moran at centre-back dominated proceedings. In that first-half, Ballygunner were reduced to shots from distance and the free-taking prowess of Stephen Power, as they made no headway against a resolute De La Salle defence. At the other end De La Salle were also relying on the dead ball, with Mullane unerring and David Greene chipping in with two points. It might have grown worse for Ballygunner on 24 minutes when Mullane shipped a heavy challenge and then, soon after, Jake Dillon was floored near goal. Neither incident drew a whistle from referee Michael Wadding, much to the annoyance of those in white and red.

Four up at the break, eight points to four, De La Salle began the second-half in fine style, Mullane hitting over a superb point from the wing and adding a free to give his side a six points lead. JJ Hutchinson and David O’Sullivan cut that to four, but Mullane added another free before the game was blown wide open. On 40 minutes Páidíú Nevin broke through a knot of players 40 yards from goal and the De La Salle man kept his nerve, soloing through to bury a fine goal from close range. Within 60 seconds De La Salle had the ball in the net again: Dean Twomey beat the cover on the right wing and bore down on goal, finishing neatly in the corner.

At that stage it was 2-11 to six points, and people started heading for the exits. Four minutes later that trickle of early departures became a flood, thanks to Nevin’s second goal. Twomey fielded a long Stevie Brenner puck-out before slipping a clever pass to Nevin, whose finish made it 3-11 to 0-7. With the game over as a contest, Ballygunner picked up some consolation scores, David O’Sullivan pulling first-time on a loose ball for a goal, while free-taker Stephen Power’s late penalty soared over, rather than under, the bar.

An eight-point defeat didn’t flatter the champions, who have now added a second title to their inaugural win back in 2008. They’ll fancy their chances in the Munster club championship, given their recent – 2008 – experience in winning that title. “I think we’ve finally got the respect we deserve,” said John Mullane at the final whistle. “Take our backs, that half-back line of Stephen Daniels, Bryan Phelan and Kevin Moran, our full-back line – they’re as good as any six not just in Waterford, in Ireland. “The goals we got today, Páidí Nevin and Dean Twomey wouldn’t be the usual lads you’d see getting goals, but thank God they got them today. We’re a do-or-die team. We’ve proven that down through the years. When it comes to the knock-out we’re a very hard team to beat.”

Other contestants in the Munster club hurling championship have been warned.

Scorers for De La Salle: J. Mullane 0-9 (0-7 fs); P. Nevin 2-0; D. Twomey 1-0; D. Greene 0-2; L Hayes, E. Madigan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballygunner: S. Power 0-7 (04 fs, 0-1 65, 0-1 p); D. O’Sullivan 1-2; JJ Hutchinson, Philip Mahony 0-1 each.

Subs for Ballygunner: N. Waldron for T. Power, (46); B. Coughlan for J. Kearney, (50). M. Kearney for JJ Hutchinson (53).

Subs for De La Salle: E. Madigan for J. Dillon, (47); L. Hayes for Greene, (50); D. McGrath for J. Keane, (54); P. Kennedy for Doherty, (58).

Referee: M. Wadding (Roanmore)

Cork Senior Football Championship Final – Nemo Rangers 2-10 St. Finbarrs 1-8

Mighty Nemo kings again


Nemo Rangers 2-10 St Finbarr’s 1-8

By Fintan O’Toole

Monday, October 25, 2010

THE natural order of club football matters on Leeside has been restored. Nemo Rangers were a notable absentee from the pageantry of county final day and that has been a source of irritation to the fraternity in Trabeg over the past 12 months. Yesterday afternoon in Páirc Uí Chaoimh they sought redress before a crowd of 6,017 in the 2010 instalment of the Cork SFC final. At the finish there was the familiar sight of black and green jerseys alighting the victory podium, with Briain Morgan hoisting the Andy Scannell trophy into the air on this occasion.

It was a day when experience won out. St Finbarr’s aspiration was that the memories of last year’s defeat would fuel their drive to success. Nemo’s Southside rivals proved stubborn opponents who refused to yield until the very end. Yet the experience that this group of Nemo Rangers players have stockpiled over the past decade served them well as they chiselled a win out of tight circumstances. When dissecting the game, the timing of Nemo Rangers two goals had a seismic influence on proceedings. They had endured a listless opening to the game which paled in comparison to St Finbarr’s bright and vibrant beginning.

Trailing 0-4 to 0-1, Nemo’schallenge was ignited in the 13th minute. A William Morgan sideline from the left wing was not adequately dealt with by the StFinbarr’s defence, and when it fell to Paul Kerrigan at the back post, he bundled a shot to the net. Two minutes later Glen O’Connor coughed up possession under pressure and David Kearney swept a precise shot between the posts. A deficit had suddenly morphed into an advantage for Nemo Rangers and they were back in the hunt. Their second goal was a critical strike as it served as a perfect riposte to a St Finbarr’s surge.

In the 40th minute Robert O’Mahony ghosted in along the left flank and uncorked a fizzing drive to the net. That gave St Finbarr’s renewed impetus and two minutes later they nearly carved open the Nemo Rangers backline again to raise another green flag. Jason Sexton popped a pass to send Jim O’Donoghue careering clear but he was foiled by goalkeeper Briain Morgan who sprung to his right to palm the shot around the post. Roy Leahy did swing over the resultant ‘45 but as the match descended into its final quarter, Nemo Rangers raised their second green flag. The score was the product of a team move that featured David Niblock, Alan Cronin, Colin O’Brien and Sean O’Brien, with Barry O’Driscoll capping off that sequence of passes with a decisive finish to the net.

That sent Nemo racing 2-9 to 1-7 clear and that is not the type of advantage that they are in the habit of relinquishing. St Finbarr’s persistence meant the game stayed interesting until the end. But two factors frustrated their attempts at a revival. First Nemo Rangers’ defending was of the top-drawer variety. After a nervous phase in the opening-half when Jason Sexton wreaked havoc with stylish points off left and right, Nemo’s rearguard tightened up.

County men Derek Kavanagh and Brian O’Regan offered great assurance, while youngster Aidan O’Reilly stymied the threat ofSexton when handed that task before half-time and kept him scoreless in the second-half. The man-of-the-match bauble went to half-back Colin O’Brien and it was merited as he produced another brilliant display. Secondly St Finbarr’s tried to force goals too early in the finale. They punted several high balls in the direction of substitute Ian Leahy hoping to profit from breaks but he lacked support around him. When Fionán Murray curled over a free in the 52nd minute, there was just four points between the sides. Yet on a couple of occasions after that when St Finbarr’s could have popped the ball over the bar from out the field, they eschewed the chance and tried to manoeuvre opportunities closer to goal.

Terrific St Finbarr’s defending in the final quarter ensured that the scent of victory was always there. Glen O’Connor, substitute Michael Ryan and Neal Horgan drove them on, while Michael Shields gained a foothold when shifted to midfield. However, their areas of profit in attack dried up as Nemo Rangers came to terms with Colin O’Sullivan’s creativity and denied Roy Leahy opportunities to split the posts from dead ball situations. Nemo Rangers were sloppy in front of goal in the final quarter as they squandered chances to increase their lead. But Alan Cronin was accurate when swinging over a shot in the 62nd minute and that point copper-fastened their 18th crown.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan 1-3 (two frees); B O’Driscoll 1-1; D Kearney, D Niblock, A Cronin 0-2 each.

St Finbarr’s: J Sexton (one sideline), R Leahy (two frees, one ‘45) 0-3 each; R O’Mahony 1-0; F Murray (one free), C O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Substitutes for Nemo Rangers: M Cronin for Breen (44), J Masters for Kearney (46), D Mehigan for W Morgan (50), A Morgan for O’Brien (53), B Twomey for Niblock (62).

St Finbarr’s: F Murray for O’Donoghue (48), M Ryan for O’Shea (48), I Leahy for O’Sullivan (52), G Leahy for McCarthy (60).

Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty)