Whitty grabs the winner
A Bob Whitty point with four minutes remaining earned Cloughbawn a dramatic victory in the Enniscorthy District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship semi-final in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
Cloughbawn 1-10 HWH-Bunclody 0-12
It was fitting that Whitty knocked over the winning score given that the full-forward almost single-handedly kept his side in the contest when Bunclody threatened to take a stranglehold on the game, racking up an impressive personal tally of ten points.
They Half Way House boys looked to be on their way to victory as they held a four-point advantage in the 51st minute (0-12 to 0-8), but after Whitty had pulled a point back, an instinctive strike from Connal Flood drew Cloughbawn level before Whitty capped a fine individual display by slotting over the winner.
A shell-shocked Bunclody threw everything at their opponents in the closing moments but Cloughbawn defended tenaciously to keep them at bay in a tense finale.
Bunclody were the better side for much of the opening period and held a 0-9 to 0-6 lead at the interval, and could have enjoyed a greater cushion but for some wayward shooting.
Cloughbawn got off to the better start though and held a 0-3 to 0-1 lead on ten minutes thanks to a hat-trick of Whitty points, with Bunclody replying when Eddie Dunbar fisted a John Dunne '45 over the bar.
James Fitzgerald was the most potent attacking threat for Bunclody, and the corner-forward slotted over three points on the trot to edge them ahead, but the Cloughbawn reply was swift with ace attacker Whitty again doing the needful.
However, Bunclody dictated matters for the final ten minutes of the half and built up a three-point advantage with a trio of points from John Dunne and one apiece from James Fitzgerald and Andrew Kelly, while a couple of Bob Whitty scores kept Cloughbawn within striking distance.
Two Whitty frees had Cloughbawn just one behind within four minutes of the re-start, but then it was James Fitzgerald's turn to take centre stage and he bagged the next three points to give Bunclody a four-point advantage with 50 minutes on the clock.
Bob Whitty almost plundered the goal that Cloughbawn so desperately craved in the 53rd minute but his shot was blocked after a flowing move, although his free two minutes later reduced the gap to three.
In the next attack they were level, with Whitty placing the ball into the path of the inrushing Connal Flood who fired a rasping half-volley to the net.
Cloughbawn's tails were up and a minute later a chance fell to Whitty in front of the posts.
Predictably he made no mistake, with the ace marksman calmly popping the ball over the bar to settle an absorbing contest.
Cloughbawn: Cian O'Connor; Gareth Murphy, Cillian Doyle, Jack Wickham; James Dempsey, Connal Flood (1-0), Shane Greene; Robert Kinsella, Darragh O'Connor; Billy Wickham, Dean Murphy (capt.), Lee Keeley; David Casserly, Bob Whitty (0-10, 4 frees), Daniel Dempsey. Subs. - Micheál Kavanagh for Casserly, Stephen Casserly for Dempsey.
HWH-Bunclody: Bobby McKeown; Conor Hendrick, Conor Crean (capt.), Seán Nolan; Paddy Dunbar, Billy Kelly, Peadar Cowman; John Dunne (0-3, 1 free), Andrew Kelly (0-1); Martin O'Connor, Eoin Kelly, Diarmuid Crean; Darren Murphy, Eddie Dunbar (0-1), James Fitzgerald (0-7, 3 frees). Subs. - Josh Martin for D. Crean, Adam Hogan for Dunbar, Cathal Doyle for Murphy.
Referee: John O'Loughlin (Monageer-Boolavogue).