Buffers Alley 2-10, Askamore 1-10: Buffers Alley ended a 26-year wait by lifting the Gorey District Junior 'D' hurling championship title at Páirc Uí Siocháin on Saturday last with a hard-earned three-point victory over Askamore. GOREY DIST. JDHC BY LIAM DORAN The Monamolin-Kilmuckridge men had needed some late scores to secure a replay a couple of weeks ago, but they were full value for their victory on this occasion, despite the considerable loss of regular fullforward John O'Sullivan through injury.
Led by the ageless duo of Paul Gahan (player-manager) and Tom Dempsey, who won eight Senior county titles apiece in bygone years, the Alley led from the outset. They had racked up 1-3 before Askamore got off the mark with a Tommy Ruth point in the 17th minute.
Dempsey converted a '65 and the industrious Micheál Murphy scored two good points before teenager Declan Gahan netted from close range after 14 minutes. Lorcan Prendergast, Paul O'Leary (two) and Tom Dempsey (free) added further first-half points, but Askamore finished with a bit of a flurry as Tomás Kenny pulled back a 26thminute goal, while team captain Davy Tobin added a point to leave Buffers Alley 1-7 to 13 ahead at the break.
The crucial score arrived less than two minutes after the re-start, when the winners' teenage midfielder, Ewan Johnston, sent a crisp first-time pull to the Askamore net after a Tom Dempsey free had broke kindly for him.
However, this seemed to temporarily spur their determined opponents - who were seeking their first District crown since 1999 - into action, as they hit five unanswered points between the 32nd and 42nd minutes. Tommy Ruth converted three placed balls, while David Murphy and Lorcan Higgins added good efforts from play (2-7 to 1-8).
Talented young attacker Paul O'Leary settled Buffers Alley's nerves with a fine point on the run, before earning a free, which Tom Dempsey converted. A 47th-minute free from Ruth again left just three points between the sides and only two more scores were registered thereafter, as Buffers Alley were forced to defend stoutly to hold on to their advantage.
Substitute Barry Whelan had edged his team four ahead with an excellent 52ndminute point, but Buffers Alley's netminder, Jimmy Kennedy, made an important save from Davy Tobin soon after as Askamore pressed hard for a goal.
However, they could only manage an injury-time consolation point from John Kirwan (free) as Buffers Alley comfortably held on, and Gorey District Chairman, Michael O'Neill, was on hand to present the cup to winning captain Dermot Murphy.
Buffers Alley: Jimmy Kennedy; Shem O'Hagan, Paul Gahan, Shane Furlong; Lorcan Prendergast (0-1), Dermot Murphy (capt.), Kevin Hall; Pat Laffan, Ewan Johnston (1-0); Micheál Murphy (02), Tom Dempsey (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '65), Paul O'Leary (0-3, 1 free); Declan Gahan (1-0), David Moran, Edward Doyle. Subs. - Barry Whelan (0-1) for Doyle, inj., also Des Murphy, John Murphy, Darren O'Brien, Kevin Gahan, John O'Sullivan.
Askamore: Ger Kinsella; James Tomkins, Pat Butler, John Donohoe; John Harte, John Kirwan (0-1 free), Brian Buttle; Tony Ruth, Tomás Kenny (1-0); Andrew Byrne, David Murphy (0-1), Tommy Ruth (0-6, 5 frees, 1 '65); Patrick Tomkins, Davy Tobin (capt., 0-1), Lorcan Higgins (0-1). Subs. - Neal Martin for Kenny, Maurice Kinsella for Byrne, Michael Kavanagh for P. Tomkins.
Referee: Joe Kelly (Naomh Éanna).