Ferns St. Aidan's put in a magnificent team performance in St. Patrick's Park on Monday of last week to claim the Gorey Guardian Coiste na nÓg Juvenile football Roinn championship 2 title at the expense of St. Joseph's.
Ferns St. Aidan's 2-13 St. Joseph's 0-3
The victors were tremendous. Powerful through the spine of the team, with ample speed in wide positions, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Bishopswater boys to stick with their quality-filled opponents.
St. Joseph's were playing their first championship final since re-forming their under-age set-up five years ago. It was far from their best performance, and they'll be disappointed with how it went, but there are plenty of positives to take from another strong year.
To their credit they never threw in the towel. It was clear the game wasn't going to end well midway through the second-half but they kept battling and were a credit to a management team, led by Wesley Kinsella, who are doing a fantastic job with these lads.
Ferns started off in dominant fashion but struggled with their accuracy. The excellent James Lawlor had a couple of scores on the board when Tommy Sheridan pulled one back for the Wexford town club.
Despite Robert Murphy kicking a nice point off the outside of his right boot, his side still had eight wides soon after. Lawlor made it 0-4 to 0-1 but St. Joseph's almost drew level when Kallum Broaders broke through on goal and brought a fantastic save out of Liam Murphy.
The miss was even more keenly felt when Ferns netted in first-half added time. Adrian Breen's ball into the edge of the square was fired goalwards by Kieran Murphy, and it could have already crossed the line but Patrick O'Toole made sure from close range (1-4 to 0-1 at half-time).
Ferns continued to dominate after the changearound. They kicked five points in a row, with Kieran Murphy (two), Tom Brown, Shane Breen and Niall Murphy on target. A Dale Convey point halted the momentum, but only momentarily as Lawlor bludgeoned to the net from close range.
Justin Butler scored a nice point for St. Joseph's boys but Ferns ended with four-in-a-row, three from Lawlor and one from substitute Glen Williams, to round out a fantastic win for the Gorey District club.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Liam Murphy; Alex Rothwell, William Bolger, Steve Warren; Rory Scallan, Patrick O'Hagan, Adrian Breen; Niall Murphy (0-1), Robert Murphy (0-1); Michael O'Brien, James Lawlor (capt., 1-6, 0-2 frees), Patrick O'Toole (1-0); Tom Brown (0-1), Kieran Murphy (0-2), Shane Breen (0-1). Subs. - Tomás Breen for Brown (47), Glen Williams (0-1) for O'Toole (53), Kevin Stafford for K. Murphy (58), Charlie Carney for S. Breen (58), Evan Murphy for L. Murphy (60), Eoghan Murphy for Warren (60), also Barry O'Toole, Barry Murphy, Seb Rynhart, Pádraig Kinsella, Cory Dunbar, Bob Byrne, Kyle McHale, Joey McHale.
St. Joseph's: Jordan Murphy; Justin Butler (0-1), Gloudy McKenzie, Aaron Keane; Warren O'Connor, Gary Hall-Roche, Darragh Whelan; Dale Convey (capt., 0-1 free), Aaron Smith; Ciarán Paige, Kallum Broaders, Josh Guerrine; Eoin Kinsella, Tommy Sheridan (0-1), Darragh Howell. Subs. - Liam Doyle for O'Connor (37), Sky Moroney for Howell (47), Ryan Warren for Keane (52), also Adam Ennis, Jordan Farrell, Dylan Fowler, Dylan French, Jay Warren, Seán Breen, Liam Godkin.
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).