Wickham the hero
Geraldine O'Hanrahans 3-12 Dunbrody Gaels 2-8
Dylan Wickham struck for three goals as Geraldine O'Hanrahans eventually emerged with an impressive seven-point victory over Dunbrody Gaels in this exciting New Ross District Under-21 hurling Roinn 1 championship final in Clongeen on Tuesday.
Wickham was in sparkling form with some clinical finishing, as the New Ross town side enjoyed a sparkling start and shot into a 2-4 to nil lead inside the opening ten minutes.
That left the combined forces of St. James' and Horeswood with an uphill battle for the remainder of the game.
However, credit to the Dunbrody side as they showed real battling qualities, reducing the deficit to four points with just four minutes remaining.
It was at this stage though that Wickham struck to complete his hat-trick of goals and secure the trophy for his side, the majority of whom are still under-age for next season.
The game was less than one minute old when Wickham flashed over a point, which was followed by a third-minute point from Barry Roche. Then in a two-minute spell, between the fourth and fifth minutes, Wickham won the high ball on each occasion before turning his marker to drive home unstoppable shots from acute angles.
With Barry Kelly and Diarmuid Kehoe following with points, the Geraldines had built up a handsome 2-4 to nil lead by the tenth minute.
Dunbrody Gaels had to wait until the twelfth minute for their opening point, a neat Seán Nolan effort, with the same player adding a second one minute later. When Nolan struck a goal approaching the break it gave his side a real lift as they now just trailed by 2-7 to 1-5 at the interval.
While Barry Kelly and Pádraig Bailey points extended their side's lead on the resumption, points from Seán Nolan, Craig Murphy and Alan Walsh kept their side in contention.
When Darragh Lyons grabbed his side's second goal close to the finish after an Alan Walsh low free was blocked, it left just four points separating the sides (2-12 to 2-8), but Wickham secured his team's victory with a clinical finish from ten metres to put the issue beyond doubt.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: Brandon Gardiner; Tommy Doran, Gerry Cash, Gavin O'Leary; Pádraig Bailey (0-1), Enda Kelly, Jake Byrne; Jack Foran, Barry Kelly (0-6, 5 frees); Diarmuid Kehoe (0-1), Danielius Niekis, Michael Cleere (0-1); Dylan Wickham (3-1), Kyle Grangel, Barry Roche (0-1). Sub. - Ned Connors (0-1) for Niekis, inj.
Dunbrody Gaels: Joe Walsh; John Boland, Tommy Walsh, Damien Hearn; Conor Crosbie, Jamie Doran (0-1 free), David Murphy; Darragh Lyons (1-0), John Power; Seán Nolan (1-4), James Fitzgerald, Craig Murphy (0-1); Kevin Rowe, Alan Walsh (0-2 frees), Dylan Whitty. Subs. - Ronan Prendergast for Whitty, Aaron Murphy for C. Murphy, Conor Dalton for Boland, James Walsh for Fitzgerald.
Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).