Mellows men claim victory
Liam Mellows 1-13 Bannow-Ballymitty 1-9
Liam Mellows edged out a depleted Bannow-Ballymitty side on their way to a four-point win in the Enniscorthy Electrical Wholesale and Plumbing ACHL Division 4 final in St. Patricks Park.
The Coolgreany side will be thankful that their wayward shooting did not scupper their chances of victory against a more efficient, but less creative New Ross District outfit.
Liam Mellows looked to set the early tone of the game. Stephen Maloney pointed within 15 seconds of the throw-in and Joe Gardiner opened his account moments after to double the lead.
Bannow-Ballymitty struck back almost immediately. Garry Morton's impeccable sideline found Patrick Fitzharris close to goal, with the captain making no mistake as he fired low past Darragh Murphy.
The opening major of the encounter lifted Bannow-Ballymitty to what would be their best ten-minute spell of the game, with Fitzharris pointing three straight and Morton raising the white flag from another well-executed sideline cut.
Liam Mellows could only manage two minors in this time, both courtesy of free-taker Joe Gardiner. They found themselves trailing by three points despite their positive opening minutes.
Yet, Gardiner was on target for three more before the break, the half ending all square (0-7 to 1-4). The telling stat was the wide count however, with Liam Mellows' seven looking huge in comparison to Bannow-Ballymitty's one.
With Gardiner and Fitzharris again dominating the scoring for their respective teams after the re-start, the vital moment came in the 48th minute.
Bannow-Ballymitty's efficiency in front of goal had kept them in a game where they were clearly second best, but when Richard Farrell rounded the netminder and blasted into an empty net they suddenly found themselves four points adrift (1-10 to 1-6).
With James McCormack and Fitzharris minors being nullified by singles from Stephen Gardiner and Joe Gardiner, Bannow-Ballymitty were running out of time and ideas.
Yet, Liam Mellows' continued inaccuracy was very nearly punished late on. After Conor Furlong's point from distance made it a one-score game, a Fitzharris handpass found Niall Harney 15 metres out. The substitute's first-time effort narrowly flashed wide of the Liam Mellows near post and it appeared that Bannow-Ballymitty's last chance had come and gone.
This was confirmed in the fourth minute of injury time, with Colin Kennedy thumping over a free just as the referee's whistle sounded, granting Liam Mellows victory.
Liam Mellows: Darragh Murphy (capt.); Frank Roche, Andy Merrigan, Conor Cleary; Aaron Condren, Danny Gardiner, Marc Halpin; Colin Kennedy (0-1 free), Stephen Maloney (0-2); Stephen Rafferty, Joe Gardiner (0-9, 6 frees), Colm Morris; Seán Roche, Richard Farrell (1-0), Ross Cody. Subs. - Stephen Gardiner (0-1) for Rafferty (31), also Eoin Cullen, Pádraig Byrne, Danny Dixon, Liam Condren, Peter Fogarty, Shane Halpin.
Bannow-Ballymitty: Garry Jordan; John Mernagh, John O'Leary, Alan Barden; Pádraig McCormack, Conor Furlong (0-1), Michael Murphy; Arthur Sweetman, Richie Walsh; James McCormack (0-1), David Currid, Garry Morton (0-1), Donal McLoughlin, Patrick Fitzharris (capt., 1-6, 0-5 frees), Clem Rossiter. Subs. - Niall Harney for Walsh (35), Mark Colfer for Rossiter (56), Walsh for Mcloughlin (58), also Eddie Dermody.
Referee: Mick Lanigan (Shelmaliers).