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O’Toole grabs injury-time winner after stunning Ferns revival


Corey Byrne-Dunbar receives the shield from club colleague and Co. PRO, Colm Lambert.

Corey Byrne-Dunbar receives the shield from club colleague and Co. PRO, Colm Lambert.

Corey Byrne-Dunbar receives the shield from club colleague and Co. PRO, Colm Lambert.



A STUNNING second half comeback crowned by a dramatic injury-time winner saw Ferns St. Aidan’s claim the inaugural Panda Under-19 hurling Division 1 shield title in Bunclody on Wednesday, when beating the hosts by the bare minimum.

The home side were in a strong position at the break as they led by 2-9 to 0-7, but the young Ferns men found something extra thereafter as they picked off points from all angles en route to victory.

They also had a number of goal chances, but a combination of poor luck and some great saves by HWH-Bunclody ‘keeper Aaron Whiting kept them at bay.

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The opening quarter of the game was close enough, with the hosts leading by 0-4 to 0-3 at that stage, but they then shot three points in a row before Jimmy O’Connor had their first goal on 23 minutes. He was first to a long dropping ball, and his shot was low and hard to the corner of the net.

Paddy and Desmond O’Connor added points while Jack Brennan and Corey Byrne-Dunbar kept Ferns in touch, but then ‘The Halfway’ had their second goal bang on the stroke of half-time.

Again, it was one of their men who was quickest to a dropping ball, as this time Sam Black did the honours from close range.

Ferns shot three points in the first three minutes of the second-half (Stephen O’Toole, and two from Byrne-Dunbar), to give the first signal of a possible comeback, but when Paddy O’Connor replied for the hosts, there were still two clear goals between the sides on 40 minutes (2-10 to 0-10).

Ferns worked their way into that lead over the next 15 minutes, with Byrne-Dunbar in particular in fine form. However, they never got any closer than two points during that time, and in fact they trailed by three (2-13 to 0-16) with just two minutes of regulation time left.

There was a rousing finish from them though, as first Conor O’Toole scored two points within 30 seconds of each other, after working hard for the first and then shooting the second from long range.

The equaliser came when Corey Byrne-Dunbar pointed a free he earned himself, and the injury-time winner was a great long-range effort from Stephen O’Toole, with 32 minutes on the clock.

HWH-Bunclody did launch one last attack but some stout Ferns defending meant they didn’t manage a scoring attempt, and the final whistle blew as the ball was cleared back down the field.

Ferns St. Aidan’s: Lukas Kinsella; Seán Gahan, Charlie Murphy, Jerry Sheridan; Danny Dreelan, Conor O’Toole (0-2), Max Meegan; Liam Byrne (0-1), Brian Stafford (0-1); Jack Brennan (0-1), Corey Byrne-Dunbar (capt., 0-10, 5 frees), James Kinsella (0-1); Niall Logan (0-1), James Murray, Stephen O’Toole (0-3). Subs. - George Warren for Meegan (HT), Craig Dreelan for Brennan (44), Jack Curran for Sheridan (49), also Jack Byrne, Josh Kinsella, Oisín Cronin, William Kavanagh, Matthew Hanley, Charlie Roark, Darragh Breen.

HWH-Bunclody: Aaron Whiting (0-3 frees); Sam Lonergan, Ciarán Whiting, Faoláin Ó Ceallaigh; Matthew Tully, Thomas Cowman, Eoin McDonnell; Rory Raleigh, Conor Burke; Larry Connors, Desmond O’Connor (0-4, 2 frees), Paddy Connors (0-2); Jimmy Connors (1-2), Sam Black (1-0), Mylie Connors (0-1). Subs. - Ryan Kavanagh for M. Connors (48), Paddy Scott for Black (55), also Seán Dunbar, Derry Mahon, Pádraig Doyle, Oisín Ó Ceallaigh, Ben Martin.

Referee: Aidan Foley (Shelmaliers).