Tremendous Tinahely win Feile
DESPITE playing into a very strong first half wind, St Nicholas were almost off to the perfect start when Shane Travers won the throw in ball and sent a smart pass to the unmarked Darragh Dillon on the edge of the Tinahely square.
Dillon's goal bound shot was parried on to the crossbar by the alert Tinahely keeper, Alex Byrne.
Daire Wright was on hand to mop up the breaking ball and opened the scoring with a well taken point. Tinahely wasted no time getting back on track with a great score from the marauding Bradley Hickey.
The excellent free taking of Matthew Ging accounted for two more Tinahely points before, in what was the move of the game, Fionn Furlong found Reid Byrne unmarked and his snap pass to James Hedderman caught the St Nicholas defense out of position.
Hedderman found Tinahely team captain, Cormac Kenny, and his pile driving shot almost burst the back of the St Nicholas net.
Eoin Darcy and Daniel Ging were totally dominating play from the midfield and half forward positions while Eoghan Byrne and Kevin Mulhall made sure that the St Nicholas opportunities were kept to the bare minimum.
Conor Breslin and Daniel Ging added two more points from play before Matthew Ging popped over another point.
St Nicholas went close in the closing minutes of the half with David Lawlor finding his path to goal blocked by another exceptional Alex Byrne save which saw Tinahely take a good 1-06 to 0-01 lead into the half time break.
Just as St Nicholas had done in the first half against the wind Tinahely grabbed the first score when Conor Breslin was set up by Eoghan Byrne.
St Nicholas got a bit of luck when Allen Moody sent a speculative shot to the square which deceived both backs and forwards bouncing straight to the back of the net. Daniel Ging replied with a well taken point which was only centimeters over the bar but the game had swung to St Nicholas. Wave after wave of attack set up by Shane Travers, Mark Reid and Henry Healy saw Tinahely pinned back in their own back line.
Time and again Kevin Mulhall, Eoghan Byrne and Fionn Furlong saw off the ganger but the dam finally broke when Daire Wright fired his unstoppable shot to the net.
Darragh Dillon added another point from play to leave only one goal between the sides.
St Nicholas now owned the ball and had Tom Moran's shot been just one centimeter lower the sides would have been level when he watched in agony as the ball bounced off the crossbar and back into play.
Time was not on the side of the lads from the west and referee Anthony Nolan blew the full time whistle it signaled celebrations for Tinahely.
They had just about survived in what was the most exciting, sporting and skillful feile final in recent memory. Tinahely who had represented Wicklow in Feile 2013 as runner's up will now take their place in the national competition as champions for their first time.
Presenting the cup, Coiste NanOg Chairman Martin Fitzgerald, thanked all teams who took part in the competition and wished Tinahely every success in the national finals.
Martin also thanked Eugene Doherty, Keith Peppard, Cieran Gaskin and Anthony Nolan for refereeing the games.
Tinahely: Alex Byrne, Eoghan Byrne, Cieran Condron, Eoin Darcy, Fionn Furlong, Matthew Ging, Daniel Hedderman, Bradley Hickey, Cormac Kenny (Capt), Kevin Mulhall, Thomas Hayden, Conor Breslin, David Byrne, Reid Byrne, Gerard Donoghue, Daniel Ging, Cathal Hayden, James Hedderman, Cillian McDonald, Jack Murray. Mentors: David Blake, Kevin Darcy , Maurice Hedderman.
St Nicholas: Kevin Butler, James Eager, Fabien English, Henry Healy, Aaron Moody, Shane O'Rourke, Shane Travers, Mark Reid, Simon Doyle, Darragh Dillon, David Lawlor, Oisin Sinnott, Daire Wright, Tom Moran, Cormac Burke, Conor Mullen, Cillian McCormack, Dean Flynn, Braden Waters.