Kilrush 3-9 Bannow-Ballymitty 3-6
Kilrush put in a remarkable second-half performance to claim the Gorey Guardian Juvenile football Roinn 2 shield against a gallant Bannow-Ballymitty in St. Patrick's Park.
After playing with the breeze in the opening period, the Gorey District side held just a two-point lead (2-5 to 2-3) and looked to have a massive uphill task on their plate to stop Bannow-Ballymitty completing the double.
However, they were magnificent after the break, and were so well drilled playing against the elements.
The superb half-back line swept up Bannow-Ballymitty advances, while Jack Nolan was a colossus in midfield, in tandem with the hard-working Páuric Hayden.
On top of that, their forward play was intelligent beyond their years. They morphed from the quick-spring attacks of the first-half into a side that was happy to move it methodically into scoring positions, and they did it with great confidence.
For Bannow-Ballymitty, was there an element of tiredness after their exploits in the hurling shield final just three days earlier? Maybe, but they gave it absolutely everything they had until the last whistle, five minutes into added-time.
Kilrush got off to the perfect start. Jack Nolan had two goals on the board in the opening quarter, the first a classy finish from David Power's feed, the second a deflected effort that wrong-footed Seán McCormack.
With points from Josh McMullen, Tom Kinsella and Tomás Kirwan thrown in, they led by 2-4 to nil after 15 minutes. Not that they had it all their own way, as Paul Doran had made two early saves from Josh White to keep his side ahead.
Yet Bannow-Ballymitty continued to pick holes and netted when John Crosbie somehow crept a shot in off the ground from way out on the right.
Lorcan Breen hit the net in the 23rd minute after a fine Tom Kinsella pass to help cut the gap to two at the interval.
What the New Ross District side couldn't do was get ahead. After points from McMullen, Power (two) and Nolan, they still trailed by four entering the final quarter. Bannow-Ballymitty were given renewed hope when Breen's low free was deflected to the net.
Kilrush didn't panic, as they put together a great team move that ended with Hayden releasing Harry Fitzgibbon into the clear. Referee Mick Lanigan played a super advantage and the forward netted.
Bannow-Ballymitty put on lots of late pressure but the Kilrush defence was unbreakable and they took the crown.
Kilrush: Paul Doran; Liam Ascott, Owen Doran, Seán O'Rourke; Jake Moorehead, Ronan Dillon, James Doran; Jack Nolan (capt., 2-1), Páuric Hayden; Josh McMullen (0-3), Tom Kinsella (0-1), David Power (0-2); Harry Fitzgibbon (1-0), Martin Byrne, Tomás Kirwan (0-2). Subs. - Stephen Kenny for Ascott (31), also Aaron O'Hara, Seán Kehoe, Adam Quinn.
Bannow-Ballymitty: Seán McCormack; Oisín Cullen, Robert Rossiter, Michael Harpur; Jack Donohoe, Ryan Morris (capt.), Michael Gaynor; James Sinnott, John Harpur (0-1); Josh White, Cathal Cummins (0-1), Eoin O'Connor; John Crosbie (1-0), Dean O'Neill (0-1), Lorcan Breen (2-3, 1-3 frees). Subs. - Adam Scott for Crosbie (24), Michael Harney for White (38), Dan Wickham for Donohoe, temp. (48-54), Wickham for Cullen (58), also Dylan Scott, Evan Sinnott-Colfer, Chris Keating, Darren Cadogan.
Referee: Mick Lanigan (Shelmaliers).