Friday 20 September 2019

Piercestown retain crown

The showdown at sundown

The Piercetown squad with mentor Johnny Murphy and the spoils of success
The Piercetown squad with mentor Johnny Murphy and the spoils of success
Joint captains David Codd and Jamie Berry are presented with the cup by League Secretary Jim Dempsey
Luke Kavanagh of Piercestown applies pressure on Ryan Connolly (Gorey C.B.S.) in Monday’s final
The Gorey C.B.S. squad with mentors John O’Brien and Pádraig Cronin

With the sun starting to set and these two old rivals facing off once again, it was almost like an old Western thriller in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Roinn 'A' hurling final in Innovate Wexford Park on Monday.

Piercetown 4-7 Gorey CBS 2-5

Like the best rivals, there is lots of history between these teams. The same teams met each other in the premier football final earlier this season and on that occasion it was Piercestown who bridged a 16-year gap while spoiling Gorey's eight-in-a-row party. This time it was Gorey's attempt to upset the odds by stopping the south Wexford boys from claiming back-to-back hurling titles.

If this was a Western, then Piercestown's David Cantwell would be the fastest gunslinger in the south-east as he had three goals in the back of the Gorey net before the half-time break. Within seconds he had his first at the town end after a neat turn and close-range finish.

Oisín Waters also did not take long to prove his sharpshooting credentials when he put three points on the board in the opening stages. Points from lively forwards Seán O'Brien-Murphy and Lee Cushe and an impressive long-range Cian Molloy free got Gorey going.

David Cantwell was in deadly form however and it wasn't long before he had two more goals to his name to open up a three-goal lead for his team. His sharp turn, strength on the ball and cool finishing was simply proving too much for the Gorey backs to handle.

Gorey, to their credit, also had some nice attacking play up the field but they would have to be content with just another Cian Molloy pointed free before half-time. An Oisín Waters '65 brought the interval scores to 3-4 to 1-4.

Gorey appeared to be mortally wounded but came out in the second-half all guns blazing. Practically from the throw-in, Seán O'Brien-Murphy won a breaking ball, soloed in with devastating speed and finished to the far corner.

Immediately after this, Cian Browne was unlucky not to find the net to put Gorey right back in it. Piercestown had to wake up and realise that Gorey were not finished yet.

Their response came through midfielder Jamie Berry who won a dirty ground ball in a crowded tussle and ran through to finish a great goal. David Cantwell then scored his first point to put ten between the teams.

As the teams exchanged further pointed frees, it became clear that Gorey were going to have to go for broke and they dutifully rose to the challenge. Cian Molloy and Seán O'Brien-Murphy combined beautifully to create a fantastically-worked goal with ten minutes remaining and this served to get the Gorey crowd and their team's challenge going again.

With the game back in the melting pot, a different kind of hero was required and that was when Piercestown goalkeeper Rory Walsh earned his crust. Not once but twice he made brilliant saves to deny certain goals for the Gorey boys as they chased the game.

The final whistle brought bought joy and relief for the Piercestown boys. Gorey never relented and gave the game many of its individual flashes of brilliance. Ryan Connolly was inspiring in defence as he led the Gorey fightback.

Over the course of the hour though, from goalkeeper to the last member of their panel, Piercestown proved the stronger team as they played a skilful, passing game with plenty of backbone. It's never a dull affair when these two old rivals meet up.

Piercestown: Rory Walsh, Josh Reid, Zach Breslin, James Molloy, Rory Devereux, David Codd, Brian Codd, Luke Kavanagh, Jamie Berry, Oisín Waters, Diarmuid O'Leary, Francis Dempsey, Conor Keane, David Cantwell, Joe Mernagh, John Codd, Oisín Doyle, Sam Norval, Mark Hennessy, Kevin Reck, Christopher Ryan.

Gorey C.B.S.: Rory Tubritt, Seán Millar, Cormac Doyle, Darragh Fitzpatrick, Eoin Murphy, Ryan Connolly, Eoin Coleman, Seáiní Quirke, Brian Cushe, Cian Molloy, Cian Browne, Seán O'Brien-Murphy, Thomas Wheatley, Lee Cushe, Isaac Byrne-Murphy, James Higgins, Tommy Connors, Seán Egan, Harry McGuckin, Ryan Callaghan, Jamie Kinch, Tiernan Black.

Wexford People