Murphy clinches title hat-trick
MAYO SHC FINAL
Three-in-a-row champions Ballyhaunis left it late to see off great rivals Tooreen in a thrilling final at Ballyhaunis yesterday.
Tooreen shot three clear as they dominated the opening quarter but were gradually reeled in, Ballyhaunis holding a one-point lead at the break -- 0-7 to 0-6.
An upset appeared on the cards when Tooreen led by a point entering the final quarter thanks to ace freetaker Cathal Freeman, but Donal O'Brien's point made it 0-10 apiece with 10 minutes to go.
Two scores from Stephan Hoban then had Ballyhaunis driving for the line but a massive point from Stephen Hunt pared it back to a one-point game with three minutes remaining.
However, a huge score from substitute Keith Higgins followed by another from the superb Niall Murphy sealed it for Ballyhaunis, who were let off the hook by Tooreen, who shot nine bad wides.
Scorers -- Ballyhaunis: S Hoban 0-7 (0-5f), N Murphy 0-3, D O'Brien 0-2, C McCrudden, K Higgins 0-1 each. Tooreen: C Freeman 0-8 (0-5f), K Feeney, S Markham and S Hunt 0-1 each.
Ballyhaunis -- M Walsh; A Brennan, P Healy, D Keadin; P McConn, D McConn, H McKermitt; P Higgins, N Murphy; C McCrudden, L McDermott, T Buckley; B Hunt, D O'Brien, S Hoban. Subs: K Higgins for McDermott (39), J Swords for McCrudden (54).
Tooreen -- A Hession; P Hunt, S Morley, S Ganley; C Mitchell, G Henry, M Morley; S Markham, P Freyne; C Charlton, A Freeman, K Feeney; C Freeman, S Hunt, M Martin. Subs: K Robinson for Freyne (18), G Nolan for Martin (40), P Delaney for Charlton (55).
Ref -- C Collins (Lacken).