Faythe Harriers 3-6 St. Martin's 1-8
A second-half hat-trick from the dynamic Richie Lawlor propelled Faythe Harriers to a 3-6 to 1-8 victory over a dogged St. Martin's unit in the Black Cup final of the Martin Storey Under-15 festival of hurling at a chilly Oulart on Sunday.
The Harriers needed to find inspiration from somewhere as they had trailed by 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval, by which stage the assured accuracy of David Codd and the general quality delivery into their forward line had served the Piercestown/Murrintown natives well.
Despite St. Martin's good form, their goal lived a charmed existence in the first-half, with Faythe Harriers unlucky not to rattle the net on at least two occasions.
The Harriers' first genuine goal chance arrived on eleven minutes when captain Paul Deeny cut in from the left wing and fed Eoin Kavanagh, but his shot was blocked by a despairing hurl.
There was a collective sigh of relief from St. Martin's two minutes later too when Dan Browne walloped the underside of the crossbar.
And it looked like the verdict was heading in only one direction when St. Martin's strengthened their position with a quick 1-1 on the resumption, as Chris Berry appeared to connect to Codd's free on 28 minutes to boost the lead to 1-8 to 0-2.
Faythe Harriers responded to that setback in hugely encouraging fashion, though, and indeed reeled off 3-4 without reply to transform the contest.
Lawlor was the driving force, catching a delivery before turning and emphatically netting on 35 minutes, while he also applied enough pressure on Rory Walsh to knock home from close range in the very next attack.
His colleague, Jason Gordon, found the range from a free to restore parity at 2-4 to 1-7 after 37 minutes.
And when Lawlor gathered possession around 30 metres out six minutes later, there was only one result as he tucked home with assurance.
Midfield duo Gordon (free) and Kyle Scallan supplied the insurance scores in the final six minutes as the Wexford town lads hung on for a commendable victory borne out of a never-say-die attitude and a sensible approach up front.
An action-packed day of hurling was kick-started by the Gold Plate final where a pair of late points secured a tight 1-6 to 1-5 victory for the Fethard and Clongeen combination of Moguegeen Gaels against St. Anne's.
Faythe Harriers: Josh Walsh; Mark Hennebry, Cillian Boggan, Seán Byrne; Alex Boggan, Liam Cassin, Ben Hayes; Jason Gordon (0-4 frees), Kyle Scallan (0-1); Richie Lawlor (3-0), Paul Deeny (capt.), Dan Browne (0-1); Eoin Kavanagh, Eoin Foley, Kyle Turner. Subs. - Oliver McMahon for Turner, also Eoin Hartigan, Jack Connolly, Calum Corcoran, Jason Kelly, Billy Hillis, Emmet Gahan.
St. Martin's: Rory Walsh; Zach Breslin, John Codd, Luke Kavanagh; Rory Devereux, Jim McDermott, John Hennessy; Joe Barrett, David Codd (capt., 0-7, 6 frees); Dermot O'Leary, David O'Boyle, Jamie Berry; Chris Ryan (1-1), Francis Dempsey, Oisín Waters. Subs. - Cillian Corkery for Hennessy, Brian Codd for Waters.
Referee: Dickie Murphy (Rapparees).