Unbeaten Niremen secure SFC quarter-final spot

The Nire’s Tom O’Gorman gets the better of Stradbally’s Shane Ahearne during their Waterford Senior Football championship clash at Cappoquin. photo: Michael Kiely

The Nire’s Tom O’Gorman gets the better of Stradbally’s Shane Ahearne during their Waterford Senior Football championship clash at Cappoquin. photo: Michael Kiely

The Nire . . . 1-9; Stradbally . . . 0-7

The Nire’s impressive five-point win over Stradbally in Cappoquin on Sunday night marks them out as the major threat to reigning champions Ballinacourty.

Two Niall Curran points gave Stradbally an early advantage and they really ought to have added to their lead, particularly given the strength of the wind blowing in their favour.

Yet before the midway point of the half, Strad led by 0-5 to 0-1 and were good value for their lead. A response was required by the Niremen and they duly obliged.

Shane Walsh’s second point on 20 minutes gave them hope but Curran struck again as confidence visibility grew among Stradbally ranks.

Four minutes before the break, the former champions had a major let-off when Stephen Cunningham’s mazy run ended with his shot flying into the side netting.

Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh then missed two frees, which was compounded by Martin Walsh’s point for The Nire on the stroke of half-time. What could have been an eight-point lead fort Stradbally at the break was instead a mere three.

The seasiders began the second half the stronger, and a Curran free again stretched their lead to four, yet that was to prove the high-water mark of their evening. In fact, Curran’s point was their only second half score.

Two Connie Power frees kept The Nire in touch and thanks to a blistering drive from John Power, the valleymen led for the first time in the match on 41 minutes.

It was the score which marked the beginning of the end for Stradbally, who added only a solitary point to their half-time total in the entire second half.

Man of the match Liam Lawlor assumed a more positive and orthodox role, propping up all over the park as the occasion demanded.

His delightful 44th minute point saw the winners take a two-point advantage into the final quarter, a lead they would not relinquish.

They added to it through Connie Power, a brilliant virtuoso point from Maurice O’Gorman and completed the scoring via the boot of Michael O’Gorman.

While The Nire deserved their win, Stradbally will look back on those late first half misses and ponder what might have been.

Teams & scorers

The Nire: Tom Flynn, Maurice O’Gorman (0-1), Thomas O’Gorman, Paul Prendergast, Shane Lawlor, David Ryan, James McGrath, Shane Walsh (0-2), Shane McGrath, Martin Walsh (0-1), Connie Power (0-3), John Moore (1-0), Liam Lawlor (0-1), Michael O’Gorman (0-1), Michael Moore, Sub: Anthony O’Gorman for S.McGrath.

Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham, Paddy Doyle, Kevin Coffey, Tomas Walsh, Tony Grey, Shane Lannon, Trevor Costelloe (0-1), John Hearne (0-1), George Walsh, John Coffey, Michael Walsh, Tommy Connors, Niall Curran (0-4), Stephen Cunningham, Shane Ahearne (0-1).

Referee: Maurice Condon (Clashmore).

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