Saturday 24 February 2018

Briggs secures glory for Ballinacourty

Ballinacourty 0-6 Stradbally 0-5

Ballinacourty turned the tables on Stradbally at rain-lashed Fraher Field yesterday afternoon as they avenged last year's final defeat to chalk up their fifth Waterford title and a first since 2007.

The Villagers also denied their opponents the opportunity to complete a three-in-a-row.

Shane Briggs received the Man of the Match award after delivering a powerhouse display at midfield and working relentlessly for the 60 minutes.

Inter-county forward Gary Hurney led the way for the victors in attack as he chipped in with four valuable first-half points on a day when scores proved scarce commodities.

Both teams found it difficult to adjust to the elements as persistent downpours, driving wind and atrocious underfoot conditions defined the contest.

Ballinacourty made first use of the strong breeze in the opening half and built up a 0-6 to 0-0 advantage at the break.

Hurney opened the scoring after three minutes from a free and followed it up with one from play a minute later.

Stradbally placed wing-forward Shane Lannon in front of the opposition full-forward line to attempt to negate the influence of Hurney. John Gorman kicked 'Courty three points ahead after 17 minutes and Hurney converted two more frees to stretch the lead to five. Briggs then burst forward from midfield to complete the first-half scoring.

Pat Weldon finally landed Stradbally's first white flag after a 36-minute wait as the holders struggled to make inroads against a packed defence.

Ballinacourty were also well equipped to remain patient and hold onto possession playing into the stiff breeze.

Two Niall Curran frees and one from Shane Ahearne in a six-minute spell reduced the deficit to two points with five minutes remaining as conditions worsened further and darkness descended on the Dungarvan venue.

Stephen Cunningham curled over a point on 59 minutes to set up an exciting finish but Lannon and Ahearne then spurned chances to force a replay. Despite the fact that 'Courty failed to register a score in the second half, their endeavours in the opening period proved sufficient.

SCORERS -- Ballinacourty: G Hurney 0-4 (3f), J Gorman, S Briggs 0-1 each. Stradbally: N Curran 0-2 (2f), S Cunningham, P Weldon, S Ahearne (f) 0-1 each.

Ballinacourty -- S Enright; M Lavan, J Phelan, G Breen; J Hurney, P Lynch, R Foley; S O'Hare, S Briggs; J Gorman, P Hurney, M Fives; J O'Brien, G Hurney, M Ferncombe. Subs: J O'Mahoney for O'Brien (46), C Moloney for Gorman (53), L Hurney for Fives (59).

Stradbally -- O Costelloe; P Doyle, K Coffey, T Costelloe; T Grey, E Rockett, A Doyle; M Walsh, J Coffey; P Weldon, S Ahearne, S Lannon; N Curran, R Ahearne, T Connors. Subs: S Cunningham for Connors (h-t), T Curran for Weldon (56).

Ref -- T O'Sullivan (Affane/Cappoquin)

Irish Independent

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