Fethard 5-3 Ballyhogue 1-8
Goal-hungry Fethard battled past Ballyhogue to claim a hard-earned victory in the Féile Peil na nÓg Under-14 Division 2 title decider in the Ferns Centre of Excellence.
Not only did they find the net on a regular basis, the seasiders backed up their goal blitz with fantastic defending at the other end to shut out a potent and potentially devastating Ballyhogue attack.
However, it was the Bree-based side that hit the ground running. One half of their deadly midfield duo, David Hennebry, opened the scoring with a pair of points and then created Shane Roche's well-taken goal in the fifth minute.
When Liam Doyle made it 1-3 to nil after seven minutes, the eventual champions looked in serious trouble. Yet one super team move summed up their quality and got them right back into the match.
Kyle Baker, who was magnificent for Fethard, angled the final pass and the deadly Jake Molloy finished it to get their side going.
Suddenly the confidence started to ooze from the New Ross District side. Molloy kicked a classy point before Eoin Whelan claimed a kick-out and picked out Morgan Ellis, with the Fethard forward burying his finish past Martin Doyle.
Intensity ratcheted up, Fethard won a penalty when Cian Swan was hauled down close to goal and Cian Byrne stepped up to calmly stroke it past Doyle to make it 3-1 to 1-3. Conor Dawson and Molloy exchanged points before the break, leaving the eventual champions four ahead.
That advantage shrunk quickly down to one point following scores from Liam Doyle (two) and Hennebry after the re-start (1-7 to 3-2). It took them seven more minutes to find an equaliser but when Hennebry notched his fourth minor Ballyhogue had all the momentum.
However, they failed to score again and Fethard re-doubled their efforts. Molloy rocketed home his second major from another Baker assist and raced away four minutes later to notch a third.
When Seán Nunan popped over a lovely point with two minutes to go to put seven between the sides, the game was up for Ballyhogue.
Fethard will now represent their county in Division 7 of the national competition. They will be hosted by Monaghan club Seán McDermotts and will also feature in Group D with Patrick Emmetts (Monaghan) and Carlow's 'B' winners.
Fethard: Aaron Doyle; Richard Liu, Conor McLoughlin, Shane Finn-Butler; Bill Nunan, Cian Byrne (capt., 1-0 pen.), Kean Molloy; Eoin Whelan, Jake Molloy (3-2, 0-1 free); Kyle Baker, Adam O'Grady, Cian Swan; Morgan Ellis (1-0), Seán Nunan (0-1), Robbie Molloy. Subs. - Conor Folan for Molloy (27), Jamie Waters for Swan (35), als Finn Pilkington, Darren Roche, Cillian Byrne, Shane O'Leary, Rory Whelan, Ciarán Dunne.
Ballyhogue: Martin Doyle; Keith Roche, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Conor O'Brien; Conor Rodgers, Ben Harrington, Nicholas Dempsey; Liam Doyle (0-3), David Hennebry (0-4, 3 frees); James Reville, Tobias Redmond, Conor Dawson (0-1); Conor Kelly, Seán Furlong, Shane Roche (1-0). Subs. - Ben Asple for K. Roche (21), Darragh Bates for Furlong (25), also Odin Doyle, Conor Collier, Cormac Byrne, Mark Asple, Cian McCormack.
Referee: Mick Lanigan (Shelmaliers).