Captain fantastic leads the way for Bunclody
Captain fantastic Ciarán Kavanagh scored a goal and saved a last-minute penalty as HWH-Bunclody edged out Ferns St. Aidan's in a hard-fought New Ross Standard Coiste na nOg Under-14 football Division 3 championship final in St. Patrick's Park.
HWH-Bunclody 2-6 Ferns St Aidan's 1-7
Half Way House had kept their noses in front ever since Kavanagh had intercepted in midfield and drove in on a slalom run through the Ferns defence to goal in the 18th minute, only for his side to give away a last-gasp penalty when Pádraig Kinsella was fouled.
Kavanagh went back between the sticks in place of the reliable Stuart Power for the added-time spot-kick and moved to his right to smartly save a Kieran Murphy effort that was heading towards the corner of the netting.
It was the second medal in four days that Kavanagh and several of his team had collected, having been involved with the victorious Under-16 side in the Gorey Guardian Roinn 1 final on the previous Tuesday. And a third followed in Juvenile hurling
The penalty save ended a tough battle for the winners who had resisted all they could handle from their lively opponents. Ferns came into the game as slight underdogs having finished second in the table and lost out by the same two-point margin when the sides met all the way back in April.
The Gorey District lads put it up to their opponents again and led by 0-2 to 0-1 after points from Rory Scallan and Kieran Murphy.
James Black, scorer of three points, had opened the Bunclody account but they hit the front when Kavanagh netted.
Shortly after Ciarán Regan pointed, the diminutive forward hared away on the right and flashed a stunning shot to the roof of Patrick O'Toole's net.
However, Ferns goaled through Barry O'Toole from Páraic Nolan's pass and added a further point from Byron Jordan to trail by 2-3 to 1-4 at the interval.
While Ferns nabbed the first point of the second-half through Corey Dunbar, Black immediately responded and his side would never be caught.
Regan's free opened the gap to three but Kieran Murphy's third point made it 2-5 to 1-6 with eleven minutes remaining.
Again Black pointed to round out a fine individual performance, meaning that despite Murphy's free, and the late penalty drama, HWH-Bunclody hung on to claim the first part of a potential football and hurling double.
HWH-Bunclody: Stuart Power; Thomas Fitzgerald, Lee Levingston, Alan Carton; Páraic Nolan, Cathal Dunbar, Ben Martin; Gerry Connors, Ciarán Kavanagh (1-0); Mick 'Red' Connors, Jerry Connors, Eoin McDonnell; Ciarán Regan (1-3, 0-2 frees), James Black (0-3), Mylie Connors. Subs. - Larry Connors for Mick Connors (26), also Oisín Kelly, Mick Connors, Mick Connors, Derry Mahon, Mylie Connors, Paddy Connors.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Patrick O'Toole; Bob Byrne, Alex Rothwell, Conor O'Toole; Barry Murphy, Rob Murphy (capt.), Seb Rynhart; Rory Scallan (0-1), Shane Breen; Pádraig Kinsella, Tom Browne, Byron Jordan (0-1); Barry O'Toole (1-0), Kieran Murphy (0-4, 3 frees), Corey Dunbar (0-1). Subs. - Adam Quinn for B. Murphy (41), Brian Stafford for B. O'Toole (43), Ned Cash for Jordan (45), also Adrian Breen, James Kinsella, Jerry Cash, Keelyn Roche, Evan Murphy.
Referee: Frances Neville (Shelmaliers).