FIRST-HALF goals from Conor Halligan and Stephen Kennedy proved vital for Faythe Harriers as they overcame a dogged Shelmaliers side to claim the Under-14 hurling Division 2 championship title in Wexford Park on Monday last.
In what was a keenly-contested, tight match from the off, the Wexford town side's ability to take their chances when they arrived proved vital against opponents who, with more luck, could have emerged as champions.
The two sides felt each other out in the early stages as tight defences proved the winner over talented forwards.
In the 15 minutes that passed without an opening score, the Over The Water side produced the best chance when Jody Donohoe and Liam Rockett combined to bring the best out of stopper Shane McGrath.
It was the Harriers who grabbed the opening score when Stephen Kennedy clipped over a free, but it got better mere seconds later when Conor Halligan pulled to the next in a goalmouth scramble after Paul McClean had initially saved from Kennedy.
Donohoe replied for the Shels but, playing with a light breeze at their backs, the Harriers kept on the front foot with further points through Ciarán Kirwan and Fiach Crowley (1-3 to 0-1).
Kennedy forced home the second goal in the 24th minute after the Shelmaliers defence failed to clear a superb Paul Murphy line ball, but Dan Campbell's point kept the tie in reach at the interval.
Following a second Donohoe point at the start of the second-half, substitute Kyle Roche smashed home a vital goal to bring his side into contention (2-3 to 1-3), but despite pressure Faythe Harriers were next to score.
It was Ciarán Kirwan who grabbed the settler for his side although it didn't dent Shelmaliers spirit as Conor Hearne hit back almost immediately.
Yet that would be their last score - an injury to Jody Donohoe proving too much to overcome - as points from Kennedy and Paul Murphy made the game safe for the victors.