AIB Club JHC Final: Conahy Shamrocks triumph
AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship Final
CONAHY SHAMROCKS (KILKENNY) 0-22 RUSSELL ROVERS (CORK) 0-15
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Kilkenny's Conahy Shamrocks are AIB All-Ireland junior club hurling champions for the second time in their history after capping a dramatic campaign with the ultimate accolade.
Paul Buggy's side didn't actual win their county title but progressed due to the ineligibility of winners O'Loughlin Gaels and took their big chance with both hands.
They had a star man in James Bergin, a Leinster U-20 medallist last year, who struck 0-12 and thrilled with a huge display.
The big win matched their 2008 success at the same level with a number of players still involved while current manager Buggy was also a player back then.
It was an emotional afternoon for former GAA President Nickey Brennan who watched the action unfold from the Hogan Stand press area.
It was a high quality junior decider for the most part with both outfits displaying their full array of skills throughout the hour or so.
Bergin hinted at his quality with a terrific high catch in the 16th minute, drawing a free that he converted to put Shamrocks 0-7 to 0-2 clear.
He added another from play moments later and suddenly they led by six points, the perfect start to an All-Ireland decider.
Fit again Josh Beausang took his place at full-forward for Russell Rovers and opened the scoring for his side with an eye-catching point over his shoulder as he moved away from goals.
He added three more in a row, all from frees, mid way through the half to reduce the gap to just two points at, 0-8 to 0-6.
Unfortunately for the Shanagarry outfit that was as good as it got for them with Conahy responding in kind, reeling off three points themselves to help open up a 0-11 to 0-7 lead at half-time.
Worse still for the Munster outfit, Beausang had to be replaced in first-half stoppage time with an apparent injury, stripping them of a key forward who'd scored 0-5.
Conahy Shamrocks added to the misery with three points in a row after the restart, including two from Kieran Mooney, to open up a size 0-14 to 0-7 lead.
Luke Duggan Murray pulled back a brace of points for Russell Rovers and Brian Hartnett grabbed his second of the game but they were always playing catchup and the closest they got to the Leinster champions was six points.
Bergin turned in the style in the last quarter hour and pinched two terrific points from play saw his side hit the 20-point mark for the afternoon.
Midfielder Eddie Delaney added another to establish a nine-point lead and the Shamrocks were at their ease from there on.
Scorers for Conahy Shamrocks: James Bergin 0-12 (8fs), Kieran Mooney 0-4, Donal Brennan 0-2, Bill Murphy 0-1, Eoin Cahill 0-1, Tom Phelan 0-1, Eddie Delaney 0-1.
Scorers for Russell Rovers: Josh Beausang 0-5 (4fs, 165), Brian Hartnett 0-4 (2fs), Luke Duggan Murray 0-2, Daniel O'Brien 0-1, Ross Walsh 0-1 (f), Daniel Moynihan 0-1 (f), Kieran Walsh 0-1.
CONAHY SHAMROCKS: Padraic Delaney; Liam Cass, Davy Healy, Simon Callinan; Darren Cuddihy, Brian Healy, Eoin Carroll; Donal Brennan, Eddie Delaney; Eoin Cahill, John Mullan, Tom Phelan; James Bergin, Kieran Mooney, Bill Murphy.
Subs: Daniel O'Brien for Beausang (30 + 2).
RUSSELL ROVERS: Ross Walsh; Kevin O'Brien, Eoghan O'Sullivan, Paul Lane; Chris Ruddy, John Paul Ivers, James Kennifick; Kevin Tattan, Kieran Walsh; Jack McGrath, Luke Duggan Murray, Daniel Moynihan; Kevin Moynihan, Josh Beausang, Brian Hartnett.
Subs: Alan Healy for Cuddihy (48), Tom Rice for Cahill (60), Tom Nolan for Murphy (62).
REFEREE: Sean Stack (Dublin).