Cloughbawn goals are key
Three green flags in first-half quell OLI/Fintan’s charge
Three first-half goals proved to be the difference between the sides as Cloughbawn comfortably held off the challenge of Our Lady's Island-St. Fintan's to capture the Wexford People Minor hurling Roinn 2 championship crown at the Ferns Centre of Excellence on Sunday.
Cloughbawn 3-7 Our Lady's Island-St. Fintan's 0-7
The green and whites had the advantage of the forceful breeze in the opening half, and despite being guilty of some wayward shooting, registering nine wides with the winds at their backs, they still had more than enough in hand to thwart the brave efforts of the combination outfit after the interval.
Micheál Kavanagh knocked over the opening point for Cloughbawn with just a minute on the clock, and he then showed his predatory instincts by adding a goal in the ninth minute.
Darragh O'Connor's delivery into the danger zone was batted down by goalkeeper Shane Pettit, and Kavanagh was on to it like a flash to fire the ball to the net.
Billy Wickham added a free for the Enniscorthy District side, before Quinn Saunders steadied the OLI/St. Fintan's nerves by stroking over two admirable points on the trot to give them a foothold in the game.
However, they were soon on the back foot again and the sweet-striking Connal Flood arrowed over two points either side of a fine Billy Wickham score, before they grabbed their second goal in the 22nd minute.
Billy Wickham angled the ball into the square and Johnny Connors applied the faintest of touches to divert it to the net.
The green flag was waving again as the game ticked into first-half injury time, with Connal Flood blasting a 21-yard free over the line, and Darragh O'Connor added a point to give Cloughbawn a 3-6 to 0-2 half-time advantage.
OLI-St. Fintan's began the second-half quite brightly but they really needed goals to get back into the game and a tenacious Cloughbawn defence weren't in the mood to give up scoring chances cheaply.
The Wexford District team registered the first four points after the turnaround, with Quinn Saunders converting two frees, Liam Flood following up with a point, and Philip Foley sending over a classy score from the left wing.
Cloughbawn then went close to adding to their goal tally when a Steven Casserly effort was smothered by netminder Shane Pettit in the 44th minute, with Billy Wickham converting a free to further take the sting out of any possible OLI-St. Fintan's fightback.
They never stopped trying though and Quinn Saunders saw his 21-yard free blocked on the line, while David Pettit slotted over a super point in the 51st minute.
Saunders went close to bagging that elusive goal in injury time, but his shot flashed across the goal and wide and Cloughbawn could celebrate adding another trophy to the cabinet.
Cloughbawn: Seán Keating; James Boland, Jack Wickham, James Flood; Darragh O'Connor (0-1), Connal Flood (joint capt., 1-2, 1-1 frees), Fionn Codd; James Dempsey, Kyle Murphy; Daniel Dempsey, Billy Wickham (joint capt., 0-3, 2 frees), Steven Casserly; Liam Flood, Micheál Kavanagh (1-1), Johnny Connors (1-0). Subs. - Jack Fleming for L. Flood, Michael Murphy for Casserly, Jack Harris for Kavanagh, also Fergus Rooney.
Our Lady's Island-St. Fintan's: Shane Pettit; Robert Cloney, John Cullen, Edmond Cleary; Jack Hendrick, Cian Meyler, Adam Devereux; Eoin O'Callaghan, Cathal Devereux; Liam Flood (0-1), Quinn Saunders (capt., 0-4, 2 frees), David Pettit (0-1); Shane Kehoe, Cian Wright, Philip Foley (0-1). Subs. - James Newport for Kehoe, Josh Burke for Hendrick, also Eoin Goff, Dean Corish, Adam Mullins, Jason Devereux.
Referee: David Owens (Askamore).