Connors points the way
Adamstown's long-cherished desire to win the Junior 'B' hurling championship remains intact, but only just after they pipped Blackwater by a point in this very competitive Co. semi-final in Oylegate on Saturday.
Adamstown 0-12 Blackwater 0-11
The black and ambers completed a five-in-a-row of New Ross District titles last month and, after losing at this stage three years running from 2012 to 2014, they are now aiming to go one better than twelve months ago when they reached the decider but were well beaten by Duffry Rovers.
The fact that they have followed in the footsteps of their Intermediates by getting to the final again is a sure sign that hurling is on a high in the club, but this particular crew won't rest easy until this elusive county title is secured.
Team captain John Connors had a mixed day shooting-wise but still came up trumps when it mattered most, as his ten-point haul more than made up for also striking half of their twelve wides, including four from frees.
Blackwater, fresh from a first Wexford District title win since 2012 just six days earlier, were the more accurate side in the first 23 minutes and moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.
Paudge Kavanagh may have given Adamstown the lead in the second minute, but the response was strong as Tomás O'Brien converted three placed balls while Jack Sheridan chipped in with a point from play.
John Connors converted his first free to end a scoreless spell of just under 25 minutes for the eventual winners, and they went on to trail by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break after two more Connors placed balls were cancelled out by Tomás O'Brien (free) and Paul Murphy.
Scores continued to be hard-earned on the re-start, but Adamstown drew level by the 42nd minute after another Connors free was followed by his first strike from play.
James Roche, operating as a third midfielder for most of the game, restored the Blackwater lead, and they kicked on with a free and '65 from Tomás O'Brien to move 9-6 clear with ten minutes left. A swift reply to the latter score, in the shape of an inspiring point from wing-back Pat Delaney, was a vital tonic for Adamstown.
And when Connors knocked over three placed balls in under four minutes, they edged ahead by 0-10 to 0-9. Tomás O'Brien restored parity with three minutes left, and a replay looked a distinct possibility.
However, Connors had other ideas, latching on to a cross from Shane Bradley who was substituted and re-introduced before firing over a point, and then moving into double figures himself from another free three minutes into added time.
Paul Murphy and Tomás O'Brien (free) had struck wides on either side of the Connors point that put Adamstown 11-10 clear, and while Denis O'Brien did split the posts from a placed ball, it proved to be the last puck as Blackwater bowed out after a brave fight.
Adamstown: Paul Cooper; James Furlong, Liam McDonald, Michael Doran; Pat Delaney (0-1), Colm Boland, Mosey Delaney; Paudge Wickham, James Delaney; Shane White, Thomas Furlong, Shane Bradley; Paudge Kavanagh (0-1), John Connors (capt., 0-10, 7 frees, 1 '65), Ian Stafford. Subs. - Mick Foley for Bradley (29), Andrew English for McDonald, inj. (34), Andrew French for Kavanagh (37), Bradley for French (55).
Blackwater: Brendan Murphy; Mark Donoghue, Ian Curran, Aidan Whelan; Gavin O'Toole, Denis O'Brien (0-1 free), Aaron Nobbs; Joe Neville, Tomás O'Brien (0-7, 5 frees, 2 '65s); Peter O'Brien (capt.), Joey Murphy, Ger Lynch; Jack Sheridan (0-1), Paul Murphy (0-1), James Roche (0-1). Subs. - Cathal Fortune for J. Murphy, temp. (24-28), Fortune for J. Murphy (50).
Referee: David O'Leary (Rathnure).