OLI/St. Fintan's 2-11 Gusserane 4-4
Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's emerged victorious from a see-saw battle with Gusserane to take the Gorey Guardian Juvenile football Roinn 1 shield in St. Patrick's Park.
The Wexford District combo played some fantastic football on their way to a half-time lead but they had to withstand a ferocious fightback from their spirited opponents before eventually holding on to take the crown.
The champions showed serious quality in the middle third in the first-half. Their midfield of Jason Devereux and James O'Leary were creators-in-chief for a half-forward line that pinged over points from all over the field.
For Gusserane it looked good when they came back to level early in the second-half. Dylan Ryan was on fire at that stage but the supply line dried up as their opponents redoubled their efforts and turned the tide in their own favour.
The excellent Shane Pettit had two points on the board as his Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's side moved 0-3 to nil ahead after nine minutes. Yet Gusserane showed their quality when Ben Whitty forced the ball into the goalmouth and Matthew McCillen pounced to fire home.
Into the teeming rain, they couldn't build on that goal. Instead, Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's knuckled down and drove clear. It was 0-5 to 1-0 when Liam Crowley won breaking possession from a Gusserane kick-out, drove in and fed Seán O'Reilly who rattled the net with a crisp finish.
Emmet Cullen briefly stopped the flow of scores with a classy point but Adam Mullins ended the half with an excellent point as Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's went into the interval leading by 1-8 to 1-1.
Everything changed in the third quarter. Cullen pointed before Dylan Ryan fired a loose ball in the goalmouth into the net.
Two minutes later Mark Kehoe's pass was flicked on by Conor Twomey and Ryan latched on to it to fire home and level the game (1-8 to 3-2).
A couple of Pettit points were countered by scores from Jamie Sheehan and McCillen as the sides went into the last few minutes tied (1-10 to 3-4). Pettit converted a penalty on 60 minutes after Liam Kelly was fouled to give his side the lead again.
It looked all over when Jason Devereux flashed over an injury-time point. To their credit, Gusserane battled away and Dylan Ryan completed his hat-trick with a penalty after Ben Whitty was felled, but time ran out on their hopes of forcing overtime.
Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's: Seán Donovan; Jamie Connick, Ben Popplewell, Mikey Cullen; Adam Mullins (0-1), Leigh Newport, James Newport; Jason Devereux (0-1), James O'Leary (capt.); Liam Crowley (0-2), Shane Pettit (1-5, 0-4 frees, 1-0 pen.), Jack O'Leary; Tommy Wickham (0-1), Seán O'Reilly (1-1), Aaron Busher. Subs. - Liam Kelly for Busher (48), also Conor Kehoe, Daniel Kearns, Seán Brennan.
Gusserane: Mark Flynn; Shane Power, Liam Ryan, Micheál Hennessy; Dara Egan, Jamie Sheehan (0-1), Patrick Sinnott; Emmet Cullen (0-2), Matthew McCillen (1-1); Ben Whitty, Dylan Ryan (capt., 3-0, 1 pen.), Shane O'Grady; Conor Twomey, Mark Kehoe, Evan Kiely. Subs. - Aaron Whelan for Sinnott (48), also Jack Holden, Shaun Maher, Evan Cahill, Tarique Logotuo, Aaron Ryan, Alan Sinnott.
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).