Ardmore crowned AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Champions
AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Final
ARDMORE (Waterford) 3-11 FETHARD ST MOGUES (Wexford) 0-18 (AET)
By John Harrington at Croke Park
Ardmore battled to a dramatic extra-time victory over a gallant Fethard St. Mogues in an utterly absorbing All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Final in Croke Park today.
It looked like Fethard had one hand on the Cup when they went a point up in injury time of normal time, but then Ardmore’s David Gartland scored an incredible equaliser with the last puck of normal time.
Then, in extra-time, a John Gartland goal for Ardmore ultimately proved to be the most decisive score of the contest.
The match had started in frantic fashion as both teams, no doubt highly charged by the reality of playing in an All-Ireland Final, struggled for composure.
The error-count was high and both sets of forwards struggled to make inroads, but the honest endeavour of both teams still made it compulsive viewing.
As things started to slowly settle down, it was Fethard who began to play the more cohesive hurling.
Centre-forward Mark Wallace was looking really lively and two points from him and one from Michael Dwyer helped Fethard into a 0-3 to 0-1 score after 11 minutes.
Dwyer’s point is worth retelling. It looked like he was being bottled up when he cut in towards goal, but he produced a great moment of skill to somehow swipe at the ball one-handed and drive it over the bar.
Ardmore’s primary tactic was clear from very early on – get the ball into their full-forward Seamus Prendergast as much as humanly possible.
The former Waterford star is in his late thirties now but still in great shape, and whenever the ball came his way alarm-bells rang in the Fethard defence.
Perhaps rattled by his very presence, they failed to deal with a long free from Seamus Keating which gave Prendergast the opportunity to drive a ground-stroke to the back of the net for the game’s first goal.
Wallace immediately responded with another free for Fethard, and we now had a real contest on our hands.
It was to and fro from there until the half-time whistle, with the pick of the scores a fine long-range strike from Ardmore’s doughty centre-back Keating.
That helped the Waterford side into a 1-4 to 0-6 half-time lead, with everything still to play for.
The next decisive moment of the match came just seven minutes into the second-half when Ardmore scored their second goal.
From a Fethard point of view, it was a disastrous concession as goalkeeper Sean Foley had his attempted clearance hooked by Prendergast which gave John Gartland the opportunity to fire the ball to the net.
Fethard’s response was hugely impressive as they scored the next four points in a row to draw level.
From there until the end of normal time it was nail-biting stuff as Ardmore moved a point clear on two occasions but each time Fethard pegged them back.
It looked like Mark Wallace’s pointed free a minute into injury-time had won the game for the Wexford side, but then David Gartland scored an absolutely brilliant over the shoulder point with the last puck of normal time to bring the game into extra-time.
It looked as though conceding that equaliser knocked the stuffing out of Fethard, because it was Ardmore who put their best foot forward at the start of extra-time with points from Prendergast (2) and McGartland pushing them three clear.
Fethard finally got off the mark courtesy of a ’65 from Wallace, but by the end of the first period of extra-time trailed by 2-11 to 0-15.
They reduced the gap to a single point when Michael Dwyer pointed at the start of the second period of extra-time, but then Ardmore struck a really decisive blow when John Gartland scored his second-goal.
Fethard refused to throw in the towel and points from Wallace and Edmund Power reduced the gap to two, but that was all the brave losers could muster.
And so Ardmore held on, for the hardest of hard-fought victories.
Scorers for Ardmore: Seamus Prendergast 1-8 (7f), John Gartland 2-0, David Gartland 0-2, Seamus Keating 0-1
Scorers for Fethard St Mogues: Mark Wallace 0-14 (12f, 1 '65), Michael Dwyer 0-2, Garrett Foley 0-1, Edmund Power 0-1
ARDMORE: Jack Walsh; Niall Hennessy, Declan Prendergast, Daniel Power; Gavin Williams, Seamus Keating, Ritchie Hennesy; Kenny Murphy, Wayne Hennessy; Sean Barron, David Gartland, Michael Cronin; James Flavin, Seamus Prendergast, John Gartland. Subs: James Kennedy for Michael Cronin (ht), Kieran Conway for Daniel Power (43), Stephen Keating for Wayne Hennessy (69), Michael Cronin for James Kennedy (73), Wayne Hennessy for Gavin Williams (79
FETHARD ST MOGUES: Sean Foley; Martin Power, Ruairi Tubrid, Daniel Mullan; Richar Waters, Kevin Rowe, Joe Sutton; Garrett Foley, John Tubritt; Edmund Power, Mark Wallace, Daire Barden; Ciaran Dwyer, Graham O’Grady, Michael Dwyer. Subs: Darren Foley for Graham O’Grady (43), Bryan Power for John Tubritt (49), Brian O’Donoghue for Edmund Power (62), Edmund Power for Brian O’Donoghue (70), Graham O’Grady for Ciaran Dwyer (70).
Ref: Shane Hynes (Galway)