Wily Simpson inspires late St. Anne's surge
Dramatic late goals from Franny Simpson and Paddy Miskella sealed victory for St. Anne's in the All-County Hurling League Division 7 final at Grantstown on Sunday.
St Anne's 4-7 St James' 0-16
The Rathangan men found themselves two points down with minutes to go, but terrific finishes from the veteran Simpson and then substitute Miskella meant the boys in blue went home happy, leaving the St. James' players to rue plenty of missed chances in the second-half.
St. Anne's themselves were guilty of missing some gilt-edged chances in the first-half, with not even the vastly experienced Simpson able to cool the heads of his team-mates as they struggled to hit the target.
Two frees from Michael O'Grady had given St. James' an early lead, but St. Anne's eventually struck back in devastating fashion with well-taken goals from Jess Codd and David Kavanagh.
O'Grady's accuracy from the dead ball would be a major factor for the remainder of the half, but Shane Mythen answered back with three frees for the Anne's, before a terrific late point from Kevin White meant they led by four going into the break.
St. James' upped their game from the re-start, with O'Grady, Mark Myler and Andrew Walsh all firing over early doors, whilst St. Anne's again struggled to kick into gear.
O'Grady and Mythen then traded frees, before a second point from Walsh and an excellent score from substitute Jason O'Grady put St. James' in front with just five minutes left.
St. Anne's looked to be dead and buried but then Simpson rolled back the years, making a superb catch from a long ball before turning two men and kicking past the onrushing 'keeper. Minutes later, Paddy Miskella put the game to bed with a smart finish, before Shane Mythen ended the job with a late free.
St. Anne's: Conor Kavanagh; Ray Kelly, Mossy Byrne, Gary Cloney; Tony McDonnell, Niall Doyle, Gordon Simpson; Michael O'Brien, Patrick O'Brien; Diarmuid Kelly, Franny Simpson (1-1), Kevin White (0-1); Shane Mythen (0-4 frees), Jess Codd (1-0), David Kavanagh (1-1). Subs. - Jack Moore for R. Kelly, Josh Cloney for P. O'Brien, Paddy Miskella (1-0) for Doyle, Gavin Howlett for Mythen.
St. James': Simon Murphy; Pádraig Culleton, David Doyle, Pádraig Murphy; Pádraig Walsh, Adam Long, Tom Crosbie; Greg Doyle, Donal Barron; Andrew Walsh (0-2), Mark Myler (0-1), Michael O'Grady (0-10, 7 frees, 1 '65); Joe Walsh (0-2), John Crosbie, John Ryan. Subs. - Jason O'Grady (0-1) for Ryan, Robert Murphy for P. Murphy, Tommy Walsh for T. Crosbie, William Murphy for P. Walsh.
Referee: Aidan Foley (Shelmaliers).