Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 18 November 2017

Stradbally dedicate triumph to late boss Ahearne

Stradbally 1-8
The Nire 0-10

DAVID GREY'S injury-time point at Fraher Field enabled Stradbally to claim their eighth title in 12 years after an enthralling match.

Like the drawn encounter, The Nire dominated large parts of the game but Stradbally clung on and gained the upper hand midway through the second half.

Ger Power's goal with 12 minutes remaining saw them hit the front for the first time and, even though The Nire equalised, substitute Grey settled a pulsating contest.

Michael Walsh was named Man of the Match after again dictating matters at midfield.

It was a fitting tribute to their former manager Sean Ahearne, who passed away last year. He had presided over their seven previous county titles and it was his nephew Shane who lifted the Conway Cup.

Manager Pat Curran believes that Ahearne's imprint was all over this latest triumph.

"Stradbally never give up -- that's the bottom line," he said. "That was instilled into them by Sean. He put that into them and you can't take it out of them. I'm thoroughly delighted for Shane Ahearne, the captain of the team and a nephew of Sean, and then you have Robert as well."

The Nire led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval after controlling a bruising opening half. They fired four unanswered points early on to open up a 0-5 to 0-1 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

Liam Lawlor and Brian Wall scored two points apiece in that first half with Shane Ryan, Darren Guiry and Shane Walsh chipping in with one each.

Shane Ahearne's three points and a Niall Curran free kept Stradbally within striking distance at the break.

The Nire retained that three-point cushion by the end of the third quarter, but Liam Lawlor's departure due to injury hampered their cause.

The Reds took the lead for the first time on 48 minutes when Ger Power fisted the ball home after Robert Ahearne's point attempt dropped around the square.

Shane Ahearne then stretched Stradbally's advantage to two from a '45'. The Nire drew level through points from Shane Walsh and Thomas O'Gorman only for Grey to kick a dramatic late winner in the second minute of injury-time.

Scorers -- Stradbally: S Ahearne 0-4 (1f, 1 '45'), G Power 1-0, N Curran 0-2 (2f), J Coffey, D Grey 0-1 each. The Nire: S Walsh 0-3 (2f), L Lawlor, B Wall (1f) 0-2 each, D Guiry, S Ryan, T O'Gorman 0-1 each.

STRADBALLY -- O Costelloe; T Grey, K Coffey, T Costelloe; S Lannon, E Rockett, A Doyle; M Walsh, J Hearne; J Coffey, P Kiely, G Power; N Curran, S Ahearne, R Ahearne. Subs: P Doyle for T Costelloe (5), S Cunningham for Hearne (30), D Grey for A Doyle (41), L Casey for P Doyle (59), T Curran for Power (62).

The Nire -- T Wall; J McGrath, Maurice O'Gorman, J Walsh; J Moore, M Walsh, S Lawlor; Michael O'Gorman, T O'Gorman; D Guiry, B Wall, J Barron; S Walsh, L Lawlor, S Ryan. Subs: R Fenton for L Lawlor (44), D Wall for Ryan (53).

Ref -- A Kissane (Dunhill).

Irish Independent

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