South IHC Final
Ballybacon-Grange 1-13 St Marys 0-11
Ballybacon Grange resumed their domination of the the Martin’s Fruit & Veg sponsored South Intermediate hurling championship with a 5 point victory over holders St Marys in the Final played at Cahir on Sunday last.
This was their eighth South titles in the grade since 1999 with Brendan Cummins, Johnny English, Alan O’Gorman and Nigel Carrigan all winning their eighth medal.
Although the standard of hurling never reached great heights, the good sized attendance was treated to an enthralling contest as both sides contested every ball with ferocious intensity and until the closing stages there was never more than two points between them with the sides level on nine occasions.
In a game where both defences were on top a goal was always going to be vital and it arrived on 19 minutes of the second half when goalkeeper Brendan Cummins blasted a 20 metre free to the St Mary’s net after Tom Kirwan was fouled under a dropping ball. This put them into a 1-10 to 0—10 lead and they quickly added points from Tom Kirwan and Danny O’Regan.
Although St Mary’s continued to battle they failed to get the goal they needed as the Ballybacon defence, especially the full back line of Brian Dillon, Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Michael O’Sullivan, held firm. They were also denied by two excellent Brendan Cummins saves in injury time.
St Marys played with the aid of the breeze in the first half but it was Ballybacon who were quickly off the mark with a Tom Kirwan point within 30 second. Declan Power equalizesd after 5 minutes. Gearoid Buckley pointed St Marys ahead from a free which was quickly cancelled out by a Brendan Cummins free from his own 45. Gearoid Buckley and Johnny English exchanged frees before Aaron Cowan from a Peter Hally pass put Ballybacon 4—3 ahead.
Brendan Cummins then produced a fine save to deny St Mary’s Brian McDonald after the latter made a fine catch and run through the centre of the Ballybacon defence. Jason Lonergan then scored a fine point to again level matters. As the exchanges became intense tempers became more frayed which resulted in a brief flare up in the 20th minute, but referee Andy Moloney quickly restored order with Ballybacon’s Alex Kirwan yellow carded. Two Gearoid Buckley frees to one Johnny English free saw St Mary’s 6—5 ahead as the game entered injury time. St Mary’s goalie Ger Corcoran then produced a fine save to deny Danny Regan and from to resultant 65 Eoin Walsh again tied matters to leave the half-time score 0-6 each.
Eoin Walsh from another 65 edged Ballybacon ahead within 30 secs of the restart. Danny O’Regan doubled it with a fine score from the right wing. But St Mary’s showed that they were not going to give up their title without a fight and 2 points from Jason Lonergan and Brian Carroll brought the sides level again.
Seamus Kennedy from a long range free put them back in front but Johnny English free quickly levelled matters. Jason Lonergan set up Brian Carroll to again put St Mary’s ahead 13 minutes into the half. Tom Kirwan was now operating at full-forward for the winners and his ball winning ability was beginning to cause the St Mary’s defence problems and he set up Johnny English to level matters at 0-10 each after 15 minutes.
Then in the 19th minute he was fouled and Brendan Cummins scored the decisive goal from the resultant 20 metre free. The winners quickly added 2 points from Danny O’Regan and Tom Kirwan to put 5 between the sides for the first time in the game as we entered the last 5 minutes.
But St Mary’s continued to battle and Gearoid Buckley reduced the margin with another free, but Johnny Englishclosed the scoring although the losers continued to press but were unable to get the goal they needed as the winners defence held firm.
They also lost Brian Carroll to 2 yellow cards at the end.
Best for Ballybacon were Brendan Cummins, Diarmiuid O Sullivan, Brian Dillon, Billy Hewitt, Aaron Cowan, Peter Hally and Tom Kirwan while Johnny English was excellent from frees as was Gearoid Buckley for St Marys. Best for them were Donnacha Fahey, Ciaran Brady, Seamus Kennnedy, Noel O’Mahoney, Jason Lonergan and Brian Carroll. Both sides now advance to county quarter finals next week-end with Ballybacon facing west runners up Sean ATreacy’s and St Mary’s taking on Rockwell Rovers
After the game South Bord Chairman Joe Brennan along with Eric Martin representing the sponsors presented the cup to the winning captain Peter Hally
Scorers, Ballybacon, Johnny English (0-5 3F) Brendan Cummins (1- 1, F ) Eoin Walsh (0-2, 65s) Danny O Regan (0-2) Aaron Cowan (0-1) Tom Kirwan (0-2)
St Marys, Gearoid Buckley (0-5F) Jason Lonergan (0-2) Brian Carroll (0-2) Seamus Kennedy (0-1F) Deckie Power (0-1)
Ballybacon –Grange - Brendan Cummins, Brian Dillon, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Miceal O’Sullivan, Sean Nagle, Eoin Walsh, Billy Hewitt, Aaron Cowan, Craig Carrigan, Alex Kirwan Peter Hally, capt; Tom Kirwan, Daniel O’Regan, Brian Lonergan, Johnny English. Subs used - Aiden Savage, Alan O’Gorman.
St Mary’s - Ger Corcoran, Fergal Condon, Donnacha Fahey, Ciaran Brady, Stephen Buckley, Seamus Kennedy, Noel O’Mahoney, Ciaran O’Connell, capt; Deckie Power, Gearoid Buckley, Brian McDonnell, Luke Moore, Jason Lonergan, Brian Carroll, Jamie Peters. Subs used - Darren Cass, Emmet Ryan, Alan Lonergan
Referee - Andy Moloney (Cahir)