Double delight for Geraldines
Geraldine O'Hanrahans 3-6 Adamstown 2-8
There was double delight for Geraldine O'Hanrahans in Tom Somers Memorial Park, Gusserane, on Friday when they added the Greenstar New Ross District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship crown to the hurling equivalent with a one-point win over Adamstown.
Success at any level is undoubtedly a major fillip for the town club, and they just about got over the line on this occasion after pouncing for a crucial third goal from county Minor Diarmuid Kehoe in the 46th minute.
The decisive score came moments after the energetic midfielder had to take a breather when he lost the ball in a strong tackle. However, he managed to compose himself before Danielius Niekis heard his call and picked him out with a well-placed free.
Kehoe's turn of pace saw him cut a hole in the Adamstown rearguard before he finished clinically to leave the Geraldines clear by 3-6 to 2-5.
Progress to the title was by no means a straightforward matter all the same. Indeed, the eventual victors didn't score again, with placed ball accuracy from the young men in black and amber narrowing the gap to the minimum.
Wexford F.C. netminder Colum Feeney converted a booming '45 after Dean Katus saved well from Michael Boland.
Harry Cosgrave then knocked over a free before his attempt on goal was blocked, and Feeney once more nailed the '45 in the 56th minute (3-6 to 2-8).
Geraldine O'Hanrahans managed to compose themselves somewhat but hit a couple of late wides after lifting the siege.
They had some luck on their side too as, according to my stopwatch, the action ended after just 29 minutes and 40 seconds of the half, with Adamstown unable to mount one last attack and possibly force extra-time.
The winners amassed their entire tally from open play, although it took them quite a while to locate the posts.
Indeed, all seven of their first-half wides from a total of twelve (Adamstown had six) were registered before they opened their account with a somewhat fortuitous goal in the 18th minute.
Prior to that, Adamstown got off the mark in the second minute when Harry Cosgrave's shot on goal was tipped over by Dean Katus.
However, they went one better and raised the green flag in the tenth minute when Rory Foran's delivery from the right was pushed out from under the crossbar by the netminder into the path of full-forward Rory Browne who rattled the net from close range.
It was left to a Geraldines defender to show the way to his previously misfiring attackers early in the second quarter.
Michael Cleere raced forward to accept a crossfield free and, although it's highly unlikely that he meant to go for goal, his shot went over Paudge Kavanagh's head and into the far corner of the net.
It was a big lift for the Geraldines, although county player Seán Barden picked off an Adamstown point before the town team hit the front for the first time in the 21st minute.
Big Danielius Niekis was a constant handful on the edge of the square, and he caught Seán Duffy's free before turning and hammering the ball home for a 2-0 to 1-2 lead.
Dylan Wickham added a point and Cleere was denied a second goal by Paudge Kavanagh before the accurate left boot of Duffy produced a brace of scores, with Harry Cosgrave pulling one back from a free to leave the Geraldines ahead by 2-3 to 1-3 at half-time.
The leaders resumed brightly as corner-forwards Jack Power and Wickham increased their lead to five, while Kavanagh came to his side's rescue again with a fine save to deny Barry Roche.
Eoin Furlong and Seán Duffy swapped points before Adamstown goaled in similar circumstances to GOH's first.
The only difference was that Seán Barden kicked from the left flank rather than the right, but the ball looped over netminder Dean Katus just like Michael Cleere's earlier effort for the opposition and left a mere two between them (2-6 to 2-4).
Colum Feeney increased the pressure on the leaders when he earned and converted a free, but that precious final score for the Geraldines - Diarmuid Kehoe's goal - was just around the corner and was worth its weight in gold.
The victors now await the county semi-final and there's a 50-50 chance that it will be a repeat of the hurling given that Cloughbawn, their conquerors by four points in early September, have qualified to take on Monageer-Boolavogue in the Enniscorthy District decider.
This was the town team's first success in this grade since 2004 when they went on to win their sole county title.
It's interesting to note that the two District Roinn 1 crowns decided thus far have featured just one game apiece.
The only other entrants in New Ross were St. John's Gaels, the Clongeen and Bannow-Ballymitty combination, who gave Adamstown a semi-final walkover, with the six remaining clubs included in the Premier championship.
It was a similar story in Wexford District where the final featuring Sarsfields and St. Anne's was the only contest after Blackwater and Volunteers respectively were unable to field teams.
Gorey District leads the way with three games played before next weekend's decider between Réalt na Mara and St. Patrick's, while there was action in both Enniscorthy semi-finals last Friday too.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: Dean Katus; Michael Cleere (1-0), Pádraig Bailey, Gerry Cash; Jake Byrne, Barry Kelly (capt.), Enda Kelly; Diarmuid Kehoe (1-0), Jack Foran; Ben Walsh, Seán Duffy (0-3), Barry Roche; Jack Power (0-1), Danielius Niekis (1-0), Dylan Wickham (0-2). Subs. - Michael Cullen for Power (42), Brandon Gardiner for Roche (50).
Adamstown: Paudge Kavanagh; John Dunleavy, James O'Shea, Michael Dunleavy; Mosey Delaney, Michael Foley, Tomás French; Michael Boland, Colum Feeney (0-3, 2 '45s, 1 free); Rory Foran, Seán Barden (1-1), Seánie O'Neill; Eoin Furlong (capt., 0-1), Rory Browne (1-0), Harry Cosgrave (0-3, 2 frees). Sub. - Laurence Roche for Foran (45).
Referee: Fintan Whyte (St. James').