Duffry destroy Adamstown in second-half
Junior 'B' Hurling Championship Final
Duffry Rovers produced a powerful second-half performance in St. Patrick's Park on Sunday to ease away from Adamstown and collect the Junior 'B' hurling championship crown for the first time with a fair degree of ease.
Duffry Rovers 2-19 Adamstown 0-13
An outstanding exhibition of free-taking from Micheál Doyle, coupled with the goalscoring instincts of Gavin Watchorn, saw the Enniscorthy District champions steer well clear of their rivals after a very close first-half.
Adamstown ought to harbour regrets about their performance after the interval when they conceded far too many scoreable frees.
Nine of the 14 awarded against them were within the range of Doyle, who grabbed the first eight Duffry points of the half from placed balls, and Barry O'Neill who added one from longer distance, with the point-to-point jockey swapping the saddle for a hurl and producing a polished display at wing-back.
Given the way the action unfolded after the break, it's amazing to look back and realise that the sides were locked together six times in all during a tight first-half. Johnny Connors helped Adamstown to start brightly with a fine point from the right corner before adding another from a free, but that was one of only two times for a gap of two to divide the teams in the opening half.
Micheál Doyle (play and free) responded in kind to begin his haul of scores which yielded an impressive 14 points in all by the finish. Connors (free) and Conor Nolan then swapped points, with a Tomás French effort for Adamstown cancelled out by Gavin Watchorn before Connors edged the New Ross District champions ahead once more from a free (0-5 to 0-4).
The Duffry gained the lead for the first time when Loughlin Rafter obliged after another Doyle free, but Adamstown wing-back John Whelan restored parity from an Eamon Lawlor handpass.
Two more Doyle placed balls gave the eventual winners their biggest lead thus far (0-8 to 0-6), only for Johnny Connors (free) and Andrew English to drag Adamstown back to level terms by half-time.
Those expecting an equally close second period were way off the mark as the Duffry assumed control with an impressive display. They were aided and abetted by an Adamstown defence playing from behind and fouling repeatedly, but it was still impressive to watch as the grand total of 2-11 was added before their sole second-half wide arrived in added time.
Midfielder Mattie O'Connor started the procession with a point, and the next eight were all from Micheál Doyle frees as he made the most of every single chance.
Adamstown had conceded four points without reply before Johnny Connors opened their second-half account from a 39th-minute free, and they were heading for certain defeat after the Duffry pounced for two killer goals near the end of the third quarter.
The first came when Kevin Nolan's high ball was caught by Ted O'Brien, stationed at full-forward, and he fed Gavin Watchorn who made no mistake.
And less than two minutes later Watchorn pounced again in relatively similar circumstances, latching on to the break from Seamie Cullen's delivery to make it 2-14 to 0-9.
There was no stopping the Duffry at that stage, with four of their last five points coming from frees by Micheál Doyle (three) and Barry O'Neill.
The last effort was created by their match-winner from the semi-final, Ger Coleman, shortly after his introduction when the former Wexford Senior's little flick in the left corner found Gavin Watchorn who crossed to Doyle.
The move had another goal written all over it, but Adamstown's Paul Delaney made a magnificent save to turn the piledriver from close range over the bar.
A well-struck pointed line ball from the hard-trying Johnny Connors was another highlight for the losers whose other late scores came from Connors, Shane Bradley and Thomas Furlong ('65), but they simply couldn't cope with the overall superiority of the Duffry in the second-half.
It has been a tough few years for the new champions in the higher grades of both codes, with successive relegations in football followed by a similar drop this year from Intermediate hurling, just twelve months after drawing the county final.
In these circumstances any title is to be warmly welcomed to give the club as a whole a boost, and this one was certainly richly deserved.
Duffry Rovers: Kaylem Fenlon; Tom O'Connor, Larry Doyle, Craig Casey; Glenn Rafter, Seamie Cullen, Barry O'Neill (0-1 free); Mattie O'Connor (0-1), Kevin Nolan; Ted O'Brien, Loughlin Rafter (0-1), John McCarthy; Conor Nolan (0-1), Micheál Doyle (0-14, 12 frees), Gavin Watchorn (2-1). Subs. - Gavin Rafter for L. Rafter (54), Brian Cullen (capt.) for Glenn Rafter (57), Colm Ryan for Casey (57), Ger Coleman for O'Brien (57), Seamus Breen for Watchorn (60), also Conor English, Paul Coleman, Micheál Fardy, Jason Watchorn.
Adamstown: Paul Delaney; Michael Doran (capt.), Liam McDonald, Mosey Delaney; John Whelan (0-1), Thomas Furlong (0-1 '65), Patrick Delaney; Podge Wickham, Eamon Lawlor; Tomás Harrington, Andrew English (0-1), Shane Bradley (0-1); Tomás French (0-1), Johnny Connors (0-8, 5 frees, 1 line ball), Harry Cosgrave. Subs. - Seán Breen for M. Delaney, Colm Boland for English (37), J.P. Furlong for Doran (49), Jack Curtis for Whelan (49), James Furlong for P. Delaney (51), also Stephen English, Pádraig Kavanagh, Eoin Furlong, Andrew French, Michael Foley, Lee White.
Referee: Seán Slaven (Faythe Harriers).