Goals power Rathnure home
Rathnure 5-9 Shamrocks 1-10
Goals were the order of the day as Rathnure's third string powered to the EEW All-County Hurling League Division 6 title with a 5-9 to 1-10 win over Shamrocks in Sunday's final played at a sunny Farmleigh.
Neither side could gain a foothold in the early running, with Niall Thorpe opening the scoring for Shamrocks after ten minutes.
Centre-back Shane Murphy got forward to reply for Rathnure at the start of the second quarter, while Brendan Flynn converted a free one minute later to give his side their first taste of the lead.
Anthony Murphy cancelled that out with a placed ball on 17 minutes, and the same player landed a '65 as things remained tight.
John O'Connor levelled again with a '65, while some nice skill from Anthony Murphy set up John Murphy for a lead point for Shamrocks, although that was quickly cancelled out by Anthony Westnott off the left wing.
Westnott aided his midfield colleague, Nigel Higgins, for a point after 28 minutes, while the latter's snap-shot ensured a narrow 0-6 to 0-5 half-time lead for Rathnure.
Shamrocks had twice as many wides as scores in the first half-hour but resumed in perfect fashion when John Murphy cut through and swiped to the net on the second attempt.
However, Rathnure responded with a fortunate goal when substitue Paddy Flynn's delivery was dropped over the whitewash by Brendan Kearney.
Less than one minute later, Eoin Murphy was quickest to react to poke home as the gap suddenly expanded to 2-7 to 1-6.
And the victors found the net three more times in a five-minute spell in the final quarter to saunter to the finish line.
Seasoned campaigner Colm Byrne was first up when he pulled to the net after advantage was called for a foul on Higgins, and Higgins flicked to the net to make it 4-8 to 1-7 after 50 minutes.
And the win was copper-fastened one minute later when Kyle Martin's delivery floated all the way to the net as Rathnure deservedly took the spoils.
Rathnure: John Haughney; Brendan Foley, Ciarán Donnellan, Paddy O'Connor; Dermot Reddy, Shane Murphy (0-1), John O'Connor (0-1 '65); Nigel Higgins (capt., 1-3), Anthony Westnott (0-1); Brendan Flynn (0-1 free), Brendan O'Leary, Kyle Martin (1-0); Eoin Murphy (1-2), Jason Murphy, Neil Morrissey. Subs. - Paddy Flynn (1-0) for Morrissey (HT), Colm Byrne (1-0) for J. Murphy (37), also Adam Carty, Dave Guiney, Darren Kirwan, Jamie Miller, Martin O'Connor, Kevin O'Leary, Lorcan Ryan, Chris O'Connor, Brian Lawlor, Domhnall McGahan.
Shamrocks: Brendan Kearney; Ciarán Joyce, Conor Kelly (capt.), Kyle Foley; John Murphy (1-3), Ed Weafer, Rhys Dunne; Ricky Murphy, Shane Larkin (0-1); Niall Thorpe (0-1), Floyd Murphy, Jamie Dagg; Graham Denton, Philip O'Brien, Anthony Murphy (0-3, 1 free, 1 '65). Subs. - Cyril Thorpe (0-2) for Denton (HT), Ricky O'Leary for O'Brien (38), Emmet Quirke for Dunne (45), Craig O'Rourke for Kearney, inj. (48), also Paddy Levingston, Luke Moorehouse, Dean Levingston, Corey Breen, Evan Murphy, Graham Nolan, Glenn Nolan, Raymond Kenny, John O'Connor, Jeremiah O'Connor, Gerry O'Connor, Terry O'Connor.
Referee: Martin Armstrong (Rapparees).
New Ross Standard