Duffry down one year after contesting final
A swift start proved to be key for Blackwater as they fought past Duffry Rovers in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship relegation final in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
Blackwater 2-12 Duffry Rovers 1-13
Two goals in the opening eleven minutes sent Blackwater on their way to consolidating their place in the championship whilst relegating their opponents who only lost the final after a replay to Shamrocks last year.
It took just three minutes for the eventual winners to make the initial breakthrough when a Michael Lillis free fell at the feet of Brian Dooley who pulled into the bottom of the net.
The teams exchanged minors before the Duffry's net was breached again, this time through a rocket from Paul Murphy who capitalised on some questionable defending. Blackwater led by 2-2 to 0-2 at this early stage.
Rovers grew into the game with points from numerous different sources including captain Paul Nolan and free-taker Stephen Watchorn, but they could not close the gap to less than three points at any time during the first-half.
Dean Wright and James Dooley made contributions as Blackwater led by 2-6 to 0-8 at the interval.
The second period began much like the first finished with the Duffry throwing everything at their opponents but struggling to reduce the gap in the scoreline.
That was until the 48th minute when Alan O'Neill marauded through Blackwater's defence and struck a shot high past 'keeper Peter O'Brien, reducing the deficit to only one point (2-9 to 1-11).
This made for a tense final ten minutes. Lillis struck his only point from play before two quick-fire Rovers minors courtesy of Johnny Flynn-O'Connor and Liam Pender levelled the contest.
Not willing to let the game slip, James Dooley edged Blackwater back ahead moments later when he pointed from distance.
The Duffry threw the kitchen sink at their opponents for the final five minutes but they could find no way through a resolute Blackwater defence. Lillis dealt the final crushing blow in injury time when he knocked over his fourth free.
Blackwater: Peter O'Brien; Kevin Purcell, Lar Lacey (capt.), Anthony Roche; Darren Byrne, Diarmuid Murphy, Seán Cash; Michael Lillis (0-5, 4 frees), Denis Carroll; Dean Whelan, Dean Wright (0-1), Seánie Purcell (0-2); Paul Murphy (1-0), James Dooley (0-4), Brian Dooley (1-0). Subs. - Kevin O'Brien for Cash (45), Wayne O'Connor for Wright (49), Dillon Dixon for Purcell (54).
Duffry Rovers: Niall Maher; Matthew Flynn-O'Connor, Donie Doyle, Ciarán Pender; Cathal Clince, Paul Nolan (capt., 0-1), James Nolan; Aidan Byrne (0-2), James Codd; Alan O'Neill (1-0), Thomas Dunne, Johnny Flynn-O'Connor (0-2); Liam Pender (0-3), Robert Frayne, Stephen Watchorn (0-5 frees). Subs. - Donie O'Connor for Frayne (31), Jason Rackard for C. Pender (31).
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).