Blackwater 0-12 Rathnure 0-7
Brilliant Blackwater shut down the Rathnure threat in Ferns on Sunday to collect a deserved Enniscorthy Guardian Juvenile hurling Roinn 1 championship title.
The sides had played out a seven-goal thrilling draw in the group stages of the championship but this was a whole different ball game. It was tight, tense and full of dogged, tenacious defending from both teams.
However, Blackwater proved that they had that little bit extra. They did it at both ends of the field, starting in defence, where the amount of times a back came from off his man to win possession was hugely impressive.
The Over The Water boys got two superb performances from midfield duo Patrick O'Connor and John O'Toole, while the sextet of forwards contributed in different ways, and all of them were influential at different stages throughout the 60 minutes.
Blackwater did a lot of the hard work against the breeze in the opening half. Tomás Murphy pointed to put his side ahead before Brian Og Curran flashed over the crossbar on the run to make it 0-2 to nil.
Rathnure actually scored five of the next six points but it took them 25 minutes to move 0-5 to 0-3 in front.
Charlie Tector and Jack Redmond nabbed a brace each in that spell but it could have been worse for their side as the tricky Murphy kicked narrowly wide when through on goal in the 24th minute.
A 0-5 to 0-4 deficit, after Ross Berry pointed just before the interval, would certainly have been acceptable to Blackwater before throw-in.
No doubt wary of the old adage that wind doesn't win a game for you, they redoubled their efforts in the second-half.
Following great work by Ben Cullen in defence, they were ahead when Josh Culleton tapped over in the 36th minute.
A.J. Redmond responded with a dead-ball but it would be the last time Rathnure got level.
Driven on by Tomás Murphy winning three frees in a row, Patrick O'Connor put his side 0-9 to 0-6 up with nine minutes left.
Redmond and O'Connor exchanged points before Blackwater survived a major scare when Eamon Wickham's scooped shot was scrambled off the line.
A seventh O'Connor point settled the nerves and Brian Og Curran's late score ensured that the Wexford District club took their first Under-16 title in eight years.
Blackwater: Adam Cullen; James Cullen, Adam Murphy, Ben Cullen; Jason Wallace, Feidhlim Roche (capt.), Bryan Mooney; Patrick O'Connor (0-7, 5 frees), John O'Toole; Ross Berry (0-1), Tomás Murphy (0-1), Josh Culleton (0-1); Brian Og Curran (0-2), Shane Lynch, Kealan Fikentscher. Subs. - Conor Byrne for Fikentscher (51), also Jonathan Blake, Ollie Murphy, Alan Malanowski, Seamus Walsh, Don Redmond, Liam Lynch, Fiachra O'Reilly, Shean Corrigan.
Rathnure: Philip Roche; Brendan Foley (capt.), Ciarán Maher, Jamie Lennon; Brian O'Neill, A.J. Redmond (0-2, 1 free), Kyle Martin; Owen Lennon, Liam Doocey (0-1); Seán Moran, Jack O'Neill, Charlie Tector (0-2); Michael Somers, Adam Carty, Jack Redmond (0-2). Subs. - Eamon Wickham for Somers (37), Conor Somers for J. O'Neill (52), also Mattie Butler, Eoin Farrell, Harry Codd, Donal Wickham, David Cooney-Browne.
Referee: Joe Kelly (Naomh Eanna).