Dogged Dunnamaggin crowned All-Ireland Champions after furious late flurry
NOEL Hickey crowned an incredible club and inter-county career as he left Croke Park this evening with a tenth All-Ireland medal.
But the last, and possible sweetest, accolade of his medal haul came virtue of an incredible team effort by his club Dunnamaggin who battled from three points down against Monaghan’s Castleblayney to claim the All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling title.
The South Kilkenny side dug deep when it mattered most with seven unanswered scores in today’s gripping finale at GAA Headquarters.
Dunnamaggin wing forward Thomas Maher showed supreme composure landing four of the seven momentous points down the stretch. Captain William Phelan was also inspirational in the second period.
Suggestions from some quarters that it would be a one-sided final was quickly brushed aside by the determined Ulster Champions, who were clearly not overawed by the occasion.
Let by corner forward Fergal Rafter and an excellent full back line, at one stage it looked as if a shock was on the cards before their challenge wilted at the death.
It was point-for-point stuff at both ends during the opening stages, and the Monaghan Champions really put it up to their Kilkenny opponents when wing forward Hugh Byrne fed a beautiful hand-pass inside to the unmarked Brian McGuigan who smashed the ball into the net.
Thomas Maher then notched a badly needed point to make it 1-8 to 1-6.
Blayney began the second half in a flurry, firing over three points in a row to push their lead out to four.
But dogged Dunnamaggin refused to be deterred and shook off the pressure of the favourites’ tag as they powered over seven of the game’s remaining points in succession to take another All-Ireland crown back to Kilkenny.
Dunnamaggin: Seaghan O’Neill; Mark Heffernan, Noel Hickey, Victor Costello; Michael Cody, William Phelan, Andrew Fitzpatrick; Darren Fitzpatrick ( 0-01), Eoghan Kearney (0-01, 0-01f); Thomas Maher (0-07, 0-04f, 0-0165), John Fitzpatrick (1-03), Darragh O’Keefe (0-01);
Ronan Coffey (0-02), Ray Cody (0-02), Adam Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Jack Brett for M Heffernan (36), Ian Walsh for A Fitzpatrick (46),
Castleblayney: Paddy Collins; Eoin Leonard, Jim McHugh, Colin Merrick; Aaron Kenny, Peter Treanor, Cormac McNally (0-01); Brian Flanagan, Paddy Finnegan; Brian McGuigan (1-01), Mark Treanor, Hugh Byrne (0-02); Fergal Rafter (0-09, 0-06f, 0-0165), Craig Callan, Pauric Malone.
Subs: Fintan Finnegan for P Malone (55)
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)