Rosslare rejoice after late goal seals title
Permanent TSB Junior Hurling Championship Final: St Mary's Rosslare 1-11 Glynn-Barntown 0-12
In the end, the difference between joy and heartbreak boiled down to one swing of the hurl in a crowded goalmouth.
A sub-standard Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship final in Bellefield on Sunday had a thrilling finish to make up for the disappointing fare beforehand, and it left St. Mary's (Rosslare) indulging in wild celebrations whereas a gutted Glynn-Barntown remained glued to the spot of their late, late downfall.
The seasiders had been behind since just before half-time, and they were still chasing their District rivals when a long-range Lee Devereux free was batted out for a '65 near the end.
With the deficit at the minimum (0-12 to 0-11), and the game moving into the 59th minute, it's safe to assume that the impressive captain was hoping to split the posts and leave it all to play for down the home straight.
However, his delivery dropped short, and long-serving attacker Robert Butler confirmed to me as the Rosslare party started that he had got the vital touch to direct the ball to the net and return his club to Intermediate 'A' ranks for the first time since 2013.
It was the ideal time to strike such a crucial goal, and the circumstances behind it confirmed that lady luck is always a valuable competent in any team's march towards a title.
And even though a chance to wrap it up completely wasn't taken one minute later, with Danny Furlong's close-range pull stopped on the line, the long-time pace-setters from Glynn-Barntown were unable to respond in the 75 seconds of added time.
Ríoghan Crosbie fired a wide before Aaron Kehoe delivered a last-gasp free into the goalmouth, but it broke off a forward to the left of the posts and the final whistle followed immediately to give Rosslare their first title in this grade since 1999, and third in total.
In truth, the manner of the loss was cruel luck on Glynn-Barntown who had been ahead throughout the second-half before the goal, with a game-high lead of four points in the 43rd minute.
They've travelled a long way in a short period of time, though, having taken two games to see off Kilmore at the same venue as recently as last year in the lower level Junior 'A' decider.
For St. Mary's, it was all about persistence even when the gameplan wasn't working, and it's remarkable to think that they won a game of such importance even though it took them until the 45th minute to grab their first score from play.
The standard of play was very disappointing in the opening half and, quite incredibly, seven of the eight points scored arrived from placed balls.
The only man to go against the grain in that regard was Glynn-Barntown corner-forward Ian Moran when he latched on to P.J. Carley's long ball after a short Ciarán Joyce puck-out to equalise (0-3 each).
There was five more wides than scores overall before the break, with seven of the 13 coming from the eventual losers who could have done with being further ahead than 0-5 to 0-3 at the change of ends after playing with the wind.
Unusually for a game of hurling, the first score didn't arrive until the 14th minute when a bodycheck on Shane Doyle resulted in a pointed free from Glynn-Barntown's Aaron Kehoe.
They had shaded the wides count 4-2 beforehand, and St. Mary's were to miss another one before Lee Devereux finally levelled after an overcarrying call against a Glynn-Barntown defender at the midway point in the half.
One stand-out feature early on was the fetching ability of Robert Butler from his own puck-outs, and it prompted the opposition to switch their wing-backs, with Matthew Banville moving from right to left in a bid to curb his dominance.
Ríoghan Crosbie also came out to the left flank of their attack in a swap with captain J.J. Doyle and got on a lot of ball, but in general a Rosslare defence with the full-back trio plus veteran David Murphy prominent were adept at mopping up most deliveries.
The loss through injury of Larry Morrissey - their second survivor from 1999 along with Murphy - was a blow Rosslare could have done without, and they fell behind again when Kehoe converted after a foul on Crosbie in the 18th minute.
Lee Devereux levelled after the influential Robert Butler was impeded after catching a Niall Walsh puck-out after another Glynn-Barntown wide, and he added his third when substitute Ned Power was fouled (0-3 to 0-2).
It was the first time for Rosslare to hold the lead, but it didn't last as they posted two more wides before that sole opening half score from play arrived from Ian Moran.
Aaron Kehoe went on to add Glynn-Barntown points from a '65 plus a free respectively, but in truth their half-time lead of 0-5 to 0-3 didn't look wonderful with the elements to face on the re-start.
However, the afternoon brightened after a very brief spell of rain just before the interval, meaning that the elements weren't as significant a factor when the action resumed.
And from the third quarter exchanges it was clear that Glynn-Barntown were going to be very difficult to dislodge, with stylish veteran P.J. Carley setting the tone from full-back.
Pádraic Wafer was full of energy at midfield too and, with Cormac Cooney improving in attack, Ríoghan Crosbie repeatedly running at the opposition, and their big men Cormac Rowe and Matthew Banville closing off the supply lines around the half-back zone, Rosslare were doing well just to stay in touch.
Team captain Lee Devereux was always a threat, while the Byrne and Rossiter brothers along with David Murphy, Robert Butler and Rees Broaders also worked exceptionally hard to keep their side in the hunt.
Glynn-Barntown's Pádraic Wafer caught a Rosslare clearance and soloed away for the first point of the new half before an exchange of frees between Devereux and Aaron Kehoe.
They both added a brace of scores apiece from placed balls in a five-minute spell, with the Killurin side's biggest lead of 0-9 to 0-5 quickly erased.
Devereux's sixth successful free was followed, finally, by their opener from play, as Tiarnan Rossiter latched on to the Glynn-Barntown puck-out and split the posts at the scoreboard end.
And when Rees Broaders added a fine point from a Barry Quirke clearance, Rosslare were just one point in arrears with 13 minutes to play (0-9 to 0-8).
Aaron Kehoe made the most of a Matthew Banville delivery to bring Glynn-Barntown to a double-digit total, with his strike from the left flank just making it over via the crossbar.
St. Mary's hit back quickly, with Devereux and Conor Cafferkey involved before Tiarnan Rossiter arrowed over his second point, but a wide followed as they found it increasingly difficult to get back to level terms for the first time since late in the opening half.
Glynn-Barntown were defiant, and when Ian Moran made it 11-9 from a P.J. Carley clearance, before Aaron Kehoe knocked over a free after a foul on Cormac Rowe, it was looking good for the club's first title in this grade since their top team did the business in 1976.
Rosslare had seven minutes to rescue the game, and to their immense credit they delivered as 1-2 without reply ensured they added to their previous title wins in 1934 and 1999.
Lee Devereux, who had moved to the left wing after the introduction of Pat Moroney, grabbed his sole point from play from a Tiarnan Rossiter pass in the 54th minute.
A goal chance was then wasted when Conor Cafferkey fired left and wide after good work by Gearóid Byrne and Devereux.
Ben O'Shea missed the target for Glynn-Barntown before an overcarrying call resulted in Devereux - who was named as the official man of the match afterwards - making it a one-point game in the 57th minute.
He had two more attempts at the posts, and the second one ultimately led to glory as Robert Butler swung his stick at the dropping ball and did enough to ensure his club's return to the third tier of club hurling in 2020.
The winners accounted for eleven of the game's 24 wides, and were awarded 18 of the 31 frees.
St. Mary's (Rosslare): Niall Walsh; Barry Quirke, Naomhan Rossiter, Emmet Byrne; Shea Boggan, David Murphy, Seán Finan; Tiarnan Rossiter (0-2), Gearóid Byrne; Robert Butler (1-0), Lee Devereux (capt., 0-8, 7 frees), Larry Morrissey; Danny Furlong, Conor Cafferkey, Rees Broaders (0-1). Subs. - Ned Power for Morrissey, inj. (17), Pat Moroney for Power (44), also Micheál Ferguson, Des Ferguson, Andrew Murphy, Liam O'Connor, Jason Ellard, Derek Brohan, Conal Grant, Richard Bent, Kevin Power, Liam Kehoe, Cian Boggan.
Glynn-Barntown: Ciarán Joyce; Shane Doyle, P.J. Carley, Murtagh Joyce; Matthew Banville, Cormac Rowe, David Roche; Pádraic Wafer (0-1), Colm Moore; Cormac Cooney, Ben O'Shea, J.J. Doyle (capt.); Ian Moran (0-2), Aaron Kehoe (0-9, 7 frees, 1 '65), Ríoghan Crosbie. Subs. - Conor Graydon for Roche (50), Jimmer Doyle for Moore (54), also Tommy Kehoe, Dylan Roche, Darragh Nolan, Cillian Joyce, Daniel O'Regan, Conor Clarke, Colm Kiely, Chris Flood.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).