Ferns hold on
Anne’s comeback denied
Ferns St. Aidan's clung on to the Wexford People Minor football Roinn 2 crown for dear life, somehow repelling an almighty St. Anne's final quarter onslaught to be crowned champions in St. Patrick's Park on Sunday.
Ferns St. Aidan's 0-13 St. Anne's 1-9
The winners looked fantastic in the first-half, kicking several superb scores, and were full value for their five-point lead.
However, the longer the game wore on, the better their opponents played and only an inspired performance from goalkeeper Jason Maguire prevented them getting in front and staying there.
Midfield was a real strength for Ferns in the early stages with Ivan Meegan and Eoin Murphy pulling the strings. After falling an early point down, they responded with five of the next six to take a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after ten minutes.
While both midfielders scored in that spell, James Lawlor kicked a pair of quality points and Conor Jordan registered, it was St. Anne's who found the game's only goal. It came from Kyle Kennedy in the 13th minute and was the product of precise inter-play between Philip Rawson and Dylan O'Brien in the build-up.
Still, it didn't halt the Ferns momentum for long. They outscored their opponents 6-1 in the remainder of the half with Meegan (four) and Murphy (two) on target to help the Gorey District side into an 0-11 to 1-3 lead at the interval.
When Meegan added his sixth point in the 32nd minute it looked like business as usual. However, they would not trouble the scoreboard again until the 58th minute and by then they were well and truly in a battle.
St. Anne's were quiet themselves until substitute Finn O'Driscoll kicked a nice point in the 40th minute. Philip Rawson's rocket a minute later was initially saved by Maguire and then scooped off the line, over the crossbar by Patrick O'Hagan, although the Rathangan boys were adamant that a goal should have been given.
Maguire made further stunning saves from O'Driscoll on two separate occasions as St. Anne's upped the tempo. A pair of O'Brien minors and an Andrew Kennedy free narrowed the deficit to one in the 56th minute (0-12 to 1-8).
Meegan's 20-metre burst and clinical finish over the crossbar in the 58th minute would prove vital. O'Brien again narrowed the gap to one but then drilled wide when through on goal in the second minute of added-time.
Brian Kavanagh's strike looked to have taken a deflection for a '45 as time ran out, however a wide was waved and when Maguire kicked out, referee Paul Browne's full-time whistle brought jubilant celebrations to a relieved Ferns side.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Jason Maguire; Rory Scallan, Patrick O'Hagan, Brian O'Neill; Niall Murphy, Conor Scallan (capt.), Adrian Breen; Eoin Murphy (0-3), Ivan Meegan (0-7, 5 frees); Jeff Tobin, Chris Turner, Conor Jordan (0-1); Shane Stafford, James Lawlor (0-2), Jordan Ryan. Subs. - John Power for Ryan (53), also Liam Murphy, Steve Warren, Michael O'Brien, Jack Ryan, Patrick O'Toole, Eoghan Murphy, Kevin Stafford, William Bolger, Glen Williams.
St. Anne's: Dylan Kavanagh; Brian Kavanagh, Andrew Walsh, Luke Redmond; Barry Roche, Darragh Furlong, Kevin Redmond; Vincent Carroll, Ben Moore (capt.); Conor Ryan, Andrew Kennedy (0-2 frees), Philip Rawson (0-1); Adam Moore, Dylan O'Brien (0-4), Kyle Kennedy (1-1). Subs. - Finn O'Driscoll (0-1) for A. Moore (31), Philip Murphy for K. Redmond (42), K. Redmond for L. Redmond, inj. (49), also Paddy White, Karim Byrne, Peter Clancy, Michael Carroll, Ian Bennett, Seán Staples, Billy Ryan, Seán Kirwan.
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).