Wednesday 13 December 2017

Nicky Kelly the hero as Mayfield secure their first All-Ireland junior title

Mayfield 2-16 Mooncoin 1-18

Mayfield captain Shane O'Donovan lifts the cup after the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final match between Mayfield and Mooncoin at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Mayfield captain Shane O'Donovan lifts the cup after the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final match between Mayfield and Mooncoin at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Nicky Kelly inspired Mayfield to a first All-Ireland club junior hurling title with a scoring master-class at Croke Park today.

The maestro hit 11 points as the Cork side held off a furious challenge from an opponent bidding to make it a fifth title in six seasons for Kilkenny sides.

Mayfield, the home place of Roy Keane, made another claim to fame in a roller-coaster of a decider which could have gone either way.

Fittingly, it was Kelly who came up with a brilliant winner deep into stoppage time to bring the trophy to the banks of the Lee.

The Kilkenny men raced into a three points lead in the opening minutes, but Kevin Punch’s opener was a rallying call for the Munster champions, and they went in front with a 15th minute goal.

Kelly delivered long and when the defence failed to clear, Patrick Duggan nipped in to finish from close range.

The lead lasted just two minutes, for John Fitzgerald rifled a loose ball to the bottom corner of the net at the other end, but almost immediately, Mayfield grabbed a second goal, David Malone applying a sweet finish with an angled shot which flew past Eoin Purcell.

Mooncoin had scores from Kevin Crowley and Ray Wall, but an inspired Mayfield side applied a thunderous finish to the half, hitting five points without reply, three of them from the mercurial Kelly, who added a splendid effort from play. Shane Duggan and Malone also hit the target to send the Cork men in with a 2-9 to 1-6 advantage.

Skipper Ethan Ryan came off the bench to spark a Mooncoin revival, and Crowley continued to hit the target form placed balls.

Ray Wall and Eamon Hennebry added scores as they inched closer, but at the other end the artistry of Kelly was a constant, and he danced through for a delightful solo point, added to by David Malone’s effort as they kept their noses just in front.

Mooncoin kept coming, though, and Crowlwy steered over a ’65 to bring htem levekl with ten minutes to play.

That man Kelly quickly responded, but substitute Patrick Walsh had the sides level again heading into stoppage time.

However, Kelly had the last say, and the loudest, as he fired over a wonderful winner in the 63rd minute.

Scorers - Mayfield: D Malone 1-2, P Duggan 1-0, N Kelly 0-11 (6f), S Duggan, D O’Neill, K Punch 0-1 each. Mooncoin: J Fitzgerald 1-1, K Crowley 0-8 (5f, 1 ’65), E Hennebry 0-3, A Walsh, R Wall 0-2 each, M Grace, P Walsh 0-1 each.

Mayfield: R O’Keefe; K Brosnan, D Lucey, B O’Leary; G Lehane, S O’Donovan, G Looney; K Punch, D Hayes; D O’Neill, N Kelly, D Malone; S Duggan, S Kelly, P Duggan. Subs: I Looney for S Duggan (52), C O’Sullivan for Punch (56), K Walsh for S Kelly (56)

Mooncoin: E Purcell; C Brophy, N Mackey, L Henebry; C Daly, E Henebry, S Kearns; C Fleming, K Crowley; S Walsh, A Walsh, R Wall; M Grace, E Henebry, J Fitzgerald. Subs: E Ryan for  Fleming (h-t), K Kirwan for S Walsh, P Henebry for Grace (48), P Walsh for Wall (50)

Referee: C Cunning (Antrim).

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