Doran hits winner as boys in blue edge it
PADRAIG DORAN was the hero yet again as his point, two minutes into injury time, scraped Oylegate-Glenbrien to glory in the Intermediate hurling championship final replay at Wexford Park on Saturday last.
In a rip-roaring finish either side could have come out on top but it was no surprise that it was talisman Doran who came up with the goods when pointing running away from goal as the clock ran down.
Half Way House played with an unending desire to succeed and drove back up the field in search of an equaliser in the dying embers, but Mark Murphy's shot to force extra-time, from just inside his opponent's '45, was pulled just wide of the left post to leave their hopes in tatters.
It was a bitter pill for the runners-up to swallow as there proved to be almost nothing between the sides over 120 minutes of hurling, the final whistle just happening to come at a point in a series of breathless exchanges of scores where Oylegate-Glenbrien had the lead.
Like their first encounter seven days earlier, Oylegate-Glenbrien got off to a flying start thanks to another Pádraig Doran goal. Jamie Reck had already sent his side ahead with the opening point but better was quickly to follow. Michael Heffernan's clearance was doubled on by Peter Nolan and Doran, starting two yards behind his marker, was quickly ahead and onto the ball, and in the flash of an eye the talented forward battered a powerful shot past Art O'Neill in the HWH-Bunclody goal.
Three points in quick succession, with Fergal Doran and Eoin O'Mahoney getting their opening scores, stretched the lead out to seven (1-4 to nil), but HWH-Bunclody finally broke their scoreless spell with a superb Seán Kenny point from midfield.
Fergal Doran pointed a second dead ball in the 17th minute but that was his side's last point until first-half injury time, by which stage HWH-Bunclody had drawn level. An Aidan Nolan free started the run that could have been so much better had Mylie Connors found the corner of the net with his pull from close range - although J.P. Connors did appear to be in the square in the build-up, a transgression the referee missed.
Nolan flighted over again with ten minutes of the half remaining to cut the deficit to five, but the gap was quickly narrowed further when Padge Kehoe hauled in a long Mylie Connors pass and dribbled home his side's opening goal with a mis-hit shot (1-5 to 1-3).
Colm Farrell and Barry Kehoe found the target within three minutes of each other to tie the game entering added-on time but there was still an opportunity for the rival free-takers to exchange points and leave the sides deadlocked at the break (1-6 each).
Having been dominated in the second quarter, Oylegate-Glenbrien bounced back after the resumption with a superb ten-minute spell. Jamie Reck started the second-half the same way as he began the first - with a point - a score Fergal Doran matched seconds later.
Following a quiet spell after the first blistering ten minutes, Podge Doran burst to life in the 38th minute when hauling in Jim White's long ball. Hotshot Doran tried to turn on goal only to be fouled, leaving referee David O'Leary with no option but to signal for the penalty. Doran stepped up to it and rifled his shot down the middle of the goal into the roof of the net (2-8 to 1-6).
A Doran lay-off allowed Jamie Reck to grab his third point but three HWH-Bunclody scores in a row, with Aidan Nolan firing over a brace of frees, and Colm Farrell adding another, drew the underdogs within three points again.
Jamie Reck gathered a loose ball and pointed again to momentarily settle the growing Oylegate-Glenbrien nerves, but it proved to be only a moment's respite from the growing HWH-Bunclody pressure as Padge Kehoe pounced on some weak defending and pulled to the net (2-11 to 2-10).
Barry Kehoe pointed to level running away from goal with six minutes remaining, but Oylegate-Glenbrien stemmed the flow of scores when Eoin O'Mahoney launched over a huge point from near midfield. At this stage the pace of the game had increased to astronomical levels as both sides sensed the winning line was in sight.
Nolan levelled for HWH-Bunclody in the 58th minute and when Padge Kehoe sent over a sensational point from just inside the '20, almost touching the sideline, they were ahead for the first time and looked like they might go on to win it.
However, there is plenty of resolve in this Oylegate-Glenbrien side and they proved it in a rousing finish. With excitement reaching fever pitch, Fergal Doran held his nerve from close range to tie the contest from a placed ball.
In injury time it was just a matter of who could get ahead and it was the Oylegate-Glenbrien talisman, Doran, who proved to be the big man for the big occasion with a classy point two minutes into added time to claim the cup for his side. So, just a year after going down from Senior, Oylegate-Glenbrien regain their place at the top level and captain Michael Shiggins collected the cup on behalf of his side from county Secretary Margaret Doyle and District Secretary Seamus Whelan.