Roche inspires the Hogues
The first meeting of these sides in a final saw once proud Ballyhogue emerge from the doldrums with a comprehensive ten-point victory over Taghmon-Camross in this 2015 Greenstar Under-21 football Roinn 1 decider played at St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Saturday.
Ballyhogue 1-14 Taghmon-Camross 0-7
This was built up as an intriguing final between two close neighbours but there was no doubting the superiority of the eventual winners, who led throughout the 60-odd minutes and made up for narrowly losing the corresponding 2014 clash to Crossabeg-Ballymurn.
While the foundation was laid through a dominant midfield pairing of Shane Byrne and Syl Byrne, it was lightning corner-forward, Noel Roche, who proved his side's outstanding player throughout.
Roche was a constant thorn in the opposing defence and, despite the heavy underfoot conditions and strong breeze, his accuracy was such that he emerged from the game with a personal tally of 1-10, with 1-2 coming from play.
The goal arrived three minutes from the end, but it was worth waiting for.
Having won possession out on the right, he worked his way along the endline, but despite the presence of several defenders, he managed to cut inside to create an angle before powering a low right-footed shot to the net, capping a man of the match performance.
To win a game in the heavy conditions, a direct approach was needed. In true Ballyhogue style, they made the ball do most of the work, with long lengthy kicked passes into space for the attack to tear the opposing defence asunder.
This was in stark contrast to Taghmon-Camross whose short handpassing game from deep in defence left them physically drained, being unable to give their attack an adequate supply of quality ball at any stage.
Ballyhogue, having lost out last year to Crossabeg-Ballymurn, will be delighted with the response of this group of players, guided by former club player, Denny Tyrrell, who certainly won out in the tactical stakes against former Kildare and Wexford manager, Jason Ryan, as his more direct style of football saw his side dominate both in the air and on the ground.
Ballyhogue pushed forward straight from the start, moving into a 0-4 to nil lead inside the opening five minutes through Syl Byrne, Noel Roche (two frees) and Shane Byrne. Taghmon-Camross had to wait until the eighth minute for their opening score, an Ian Carty point.
For the following few minutes the exchanges were even enough until Noel Roche kicked a superb 40-metre free, while Mick Condon got on the end of a sweeping forward move to finish with a point, leaving his side leading by 0-6 to 0-1.
While Taghmon-Carmoss responded with two well-taken pointed frees from Luke Sinnott into the breeze, Roche continued to push the opposing defence as he steered his side to a 0-10 to 0-3 interval lead with three further points, two frees and one '45, along with a fine Mick Condon effort.
Taghmon-Camross opened with a Luke Sinnott pointed free within two minutes of the re-start, with Roche and Sinnott going on to exchange further pointed frees.
There was to be no denying the Ballyhogue dominance though as their play continued to flow forward, giving their opponents little opportunity to attack as they totally dominated midfield where Syl Byrne was outstanding with his fielding and distribution.
Ballyhogue looked comfortable when leading by 0-14 to 0-7, and Roche's late goal capped a fine all-round display which helped them lift the coveted title with some comfort.
They won the title with a simple gameplan and the hope is now that it will inspire the club to further success at Intermediate level in the coming months.
Both sides lost a player each to second yellow cards close to the finish, with Dylan Dalton and Lee Hayden sent for an early shower by referee Kevin Carty.
Ballyhogue: Darragh Byrne; Cian Rodgers, Graham Parker, Conor Long; Micheál Long, Shane Doyle, Peter Doyle; Shane Byrne (0-1), Syl Byrne (capt., 0-1); Mick Condon (0-2), John Kehoe, Conor Byrne; Noel Roche (1-10, 0-7 frees, 0-1 '45), Dylan Dalton, Fionn Rochford. Subs. - Dean Power for Rochford, Declan Power for Condon, also Ronan Minogue, Dean Sinnott, Enda Byrne, Shane Fenlon, Liam Rossiter.
Taghmon-Camross: Jack Dunne; James Carroll, Jack Murphy, David O'Keeffe; Lee Hayden, Ian Carty (0-1), Conor O'Keeffe; Darren Carty, Stephen O'Gorman; Stephen Stafford, Shane Doyle, Barry Og McGrath; Stuart Murphy, Pierce Doyle (0-1), Luke Sinnott (0-5, 4 frees, 1 '45). Subs. - Darren Hayden for C. O'Keeffe, Richard Stafford for S. Stafford, Adam Winters for McGrath, Stephen O'Keeffe for S. Murphy, also Anthony Doyle, Johnny Murphy.
Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).