Coleman strikes late to break Anne's hearts
A Ger Coleman goal deep into injury time fired Duffry Rovers into the final of the Junior 'B' hurling championship after a tension-filled encounter in Taghmon on Saturday.
Duffry Rovers 1-10 St Annes 0-12
Coleman had been called ashore at half-time but was re-introduced in the 48th minute, and it was a decision that reaped rich dividends for the Duffry mentors given the full-forward's dramatic late intervention.
It was tough on the losers though as it was the first time the Enniscorthy District side got their noses in front in the game, but to the Duffry's credit they kept going until the last puck and got their reward in a sensational finish.
St. Anne's had the best of it for much of the first-half, and were 0-9 to 0-4 ahead when Francis Simpson fired over a classy point on 25 minutes, but they couldn't stretch their advantage beyond five and a dogged Duffry outfit always stayed within striking distance.
Shane Mythen scored six of St. Anne's first-half points, the first a fine effort from the right in the opening minute, before adding five more from frees, while David Kavanagh and Diarmuid Kelly also chipped in with a point apiece.
The Duffry kept in touch with points from impressive midfielders Mattie O'Connor and Kevin Nolan, with Micheál Doyle and Seamie Cullen splitting the post from placed balls.
Gavin Watchorn finished the first-half scoring with an excellent point on the run to leave Duffry Rovers trailing by four at the interval (0-9 to 0-5).
Duffry Rovers began to gradually eat their way into the lead after the break with Micheál Doyle firing over a couple of frees and substitute Gavin Rafter also finding the range.
However, St. Anne's looked to be keeping them at arm's length with points from Shane Mythen (free) and Patrick O'Brien.
Gavin Watchorn knocked over two frees to move the Duffry within one point (0-11 to 0-10) by the 53rd minute, but Shane Mythen also did the needful from a placed ball two minutes later to give St. Anne's a semblance of breathing space as the tension reached suffocating levels.
After playing catch-up for the entire game, the Duffry's last chance came when they were awarded a free 30 yards out in the third minute of injury time.
Gavin Watchorn fired in a shot on goal which was blocked, but Coleman showed his forward's instinct by being in the right place at the right time to bat the ball to the back of the net and win it for the Duffry.
Duffry Rovers: Kaylem Fenlon; Brian Cullen, Larry Doyle, Colm Ryan; Craig Casey, Seamie Cullen (0-1 free), Glenn Rafter; Mattie O'Connor (0-1), Kevin Nolan (0-1); Loughlin Rafter, John McCarthy, Ted O'Brien; Micheál Doyle (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '65), Ger Coleman (1-0), Gavin Watchorn (0-3, 2 frees). Subs. - Conor Nolan for Ryan, Gavin Rafter (0-1) for Coleman, Conor English for O'Brien (temp.), Ger Coleman for M. Doyle.
St. Anne's: Conor Kavanagh; Gary Cloney, Tomás Byrne, Ray Kelly; Jack Moore, Niall Doyle, Gordon Simpson; Diarmuid Kelly (0-1), Patrick O'Brien (0-1); Michael O'Brien, Ben Moore, Kevin White; Shane Mythen (0-8, 7 frees), David Kavanagh (0-1), Francis Simpson (0-1). Subs. - Tony McDonnell for M. O'Brien, Conor Hannigan for Cloney.
Referee: Michael Gannon (Horeswood).