Monday 22 October 2018

Hegarty delight as Whitechurch claim All Ireland

All Ireland Club Junior B Hurling Final: Whitechurch 2-16 Upperchurch/Drombane (Tipp) 0-11

Diarmuid Sheehan

Whitechurch were crowned All Ireland Junior B Hurling champions after seeing off Tipperary side Upperchurch / Drombane in Killeedy last weekend.

The men in yellow and wine made history in front of their adoring fans in the most sensational of styles leading from start to finish and pulling clear at the end to take the national title by all of eleven points.

Led in the scoring stakes by corner forward Padraic Dennehy and on the pitch by captain Killian Ryan and centre-forward Sean Keane, Whitechurch took this game y the scruff of the neck from the off and outside of a 10 minute flurry from the Tipperary men, looked winners from a long way out.

"It is brilliant, unbelievable," said Whitechurch manager Donal Hegarty after the win.

"I really thought I was going to have a heart attack at times. I know we were comfortable at the end but that really was a battle the whole way through. We got the goals at the right times, and what great goals they were too.

"Padraic [Dennehy] popped up at the right time and finished brilliantly for both. We really couldn't have asked any more from the guy. He had a hamstring injury since the semi-final so we wrapped him in cotton wool for the last two weeks and today it really did pay off.

"All the lads were brilliant today and all season. It has been a tough season, all 14 months of it so far but days like this really make it worthwhile."

Whitechurch opened up much the stronger with a brace of quick points from Dennehy and Johnathon Scanlon before Upperchurch/Drombane got off the mark with their first score from TJ Butler.

Against the wind the Cork and Munster champions looked comfortable early on and dominated in both the scoring and possession stakes as the Tipperary champions struggled to get to the pace of the game.

The Tipp side had to rely on placed balls from Michael Ryan and Butler for most of their scores in the first period with only one score coming from play. For the newly crowned All Ireland Champions the stats looked much more encouraging with 1-2 from play along with four frees from Dennehy in the right corner.

Upperchurch / Drombane could have been much closer at the turn however some poor shooting in the last 10 minutes of the opening half saw them rack up five quick wides. 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.

The start of the second half saw a revitalised Upperchurch side rattle off two brilliant points in two minutes to cut the gap to two however Whitechurch, and in particular Sean Keane responded like champions to restore the half-time lead.

Just before the three quarter mark Dennehy struck again, this time he finished to the net on his left side to all but end this one as a contest. Whitechurch will celebrate this win for a long time however the small matter of a season at Junior A will take precedent in the coming months.

WHITECHURCH: P O'Connell; B Humphreys, B O'Sullivan, T Buckley; C O'Gorman, K Ryan, K Linehan; TJ Hegarty, D Burke 0-1; H Woulfe 0-1, S Keane 0-3, P Blake 0-1; D Keane, J Scanlon 0-4 (0-2f, 1. 65), P Dennehy 2-6 (0-6f) Subs: J Kelleher for K Linehan (45), R Burke for P Dennehy (58), M Hyde for D Keane (58)

UPPERCHURCH/DROMBANE: D Carey; G Fogarty, L Purcell, D Carew; J Lordan 0-1(sl), A Kinane, J Quinn; LJ Ryan 0-1, D Grant; N Grant 0-2, S Armstrong, R Murphy 0-1; TJ Butler 0-3f, J Ryan, M Ryan 0-3f. Subs: T Clancy for D Grant (50), R Gleeson for S Armstrong (50), PJ Burke for D Carew (55), E Fogarty for N Grant (58)

Referee: M Sexton (Limerick)