Ahearne's strike at death earns glory for Stradbally
Stradbally dug deep to clinch a 16th county title at Fraher Field yesterday when they beat neighbours Ballinacourty by a single score.
The victors needed a point in added time from their top scorer Shane Ahearne to finally see off the challenge of Ballinacourty and move within three titles of the current record held by Dungarvan.
Stradbally -- despite scoring first in this game courtesy of a Niall Curran point inside the opening minute -- were playing catch-up for much of the game, only drawing level with four minutes to go, again courtesy of a Curran point.
A brace of Mark Ferncombe points cancelled out Stradbally's early score and the same player had 'Courty four points up when he kicked the only goal of the game after 10 minutes, clinically latching on to Richie Foley's long delivery to finish to the net soccer-style.
Leading 1-4 to 0-4 at the break, Ballinacourty kicked just one score in the second half, which came 12 minutes after the restart from Gary Hurney.
The victors played out their usual game in the second half, a style which they have perfected over the last decade.
They were rewarded for their industry as Shane Ahearne hit a hat-trick of frees, with John Coffey and Curran also getting their name on the scoresheet in the second 30 minutes to grind out a sweet triumph.
Scorers -- Stradbally: S Ahearne 0-3 (3f), J Coffey, N Curran (0-2f) 0-2 each, R Ahearne, M Walsh 0-1 each. Ballinacourty: M Ferncombe 1-2, G Hurney 0-3 (0-1f).
Stradbally -- O Costelloe; E Cummins, E Rockett, T Costelloe; T Grey, J Hearne, A Doyle; M Walsh, J Coffey; S Cunningham, S Ahearne, T Connors; N Curran, R Ahearne, T Curran. Subs: P Doyle for E Cummins. P Weldon for T Curran, C Casey for S Cunningham.
Ballinacourty -- S Enright; M Lavan, J Phelan, G Breen; J Hurney, S Briggs, F Foley; J O'Mahony, P Lynch; M Gorman, M Fives, S O'Hare; M Fives, G Hurney, M Ferncombe. Subs: P Hurney for J Mahony, C Maloney for L Hurney, R Sheehan for M Gorman, C Keane for P Lynch.
Ref -- M Condon (Clashmore).