Keeper’s colossal point forces replay for champions

Lismore goalscorer Dan Shanahan gets away from Ballyduff Upper’s Kenneth Geary during their Waterford senior hurling championship clash at Fraher Field.  | Photo: Michael Kiely

Lismore goalscorer Dan Shanahan gets away from Ballyduff Upper’s Kenneth Geary during their Waterford senior hurling championship clash at Fraher Field. | Photo: Michael Kiely

Ballyduff Upper; 0-21 Lismore 1-18

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How fitting that it needed one of the greatest points ever scored in championship combat at famed Fraher Field to ensure that a thrilling local derby senior hurling quarter final showdown between champions Ballyduff Upper and challengers Lismore ended in frenetic stalemate last Sunday.

Picture the scene as the clock ticked past the hour mark and into whatever added time referee Michael Wadding would allow. Champions Ballyduff were teetering on the brink, their title tottering as they trailed their arch rivals by a solitary point.

A free was awarded to them just forty metres from their own goal and all of one hundred metres from the Lismore citadel. Out came goalkeeper Adrian Power to give it one last gasp lash, and the young man who has long since become renowned for his prodigious delivery of the sliotar magnificently answered the call as he rifled the ball straight and true between the Lismore posts.

Erupted

Fraher Field erupted in salutation of Power’s unbelievable effort, and while each side in turn had a half chance of a winner it was entirely fitting that a great game ended in stalemate. It would have been a travesty had either one of them had to endure the disappointment of defeat on a day when they contributed in equal measure to a hurling epic.

It truly was an extraordinary finish to a memorable game, and already the heightening expectation for the replay will bring out the fans in the same huge numbers for instalment number two next Sunday.

It was a local derby that had everything even the most demanding fans could have asked for. The quality of the free flowing hurling was right out of the top drawer, many of the scores on both sides were of champagne vintage, and the finale was so frenetic and tense that it left players and fans alike drained at the final whistle.

That equaliser a minute into added time was the stuff of fairytale, but there was nothing fairytale about Ballyduff goalkeeper Adrian Power’s prodigious free from his own forty metre line that split the uprights and all but took the roof of the stand as fans from both teams saluted a quite incredible score.

Dan’s goal

The sparks were flying from the throw in, and while quarter was neither given nor asked for by either side there wasn’t an untoward incident to mar this superb game.

The sides traded some great points early on with Maurice Shanahan getting Lismore off the mark from a free on ninety seconds. Inside another thirty seconds Brian Kearney rifled over the Ballyduff equaliser and already the tone and tenor had been set for a game in which the momentum never subsequently flagged.

Lismore had eased two points clear through quality scores from Dan Shanahan and John Prendergast before the game’s only goal came on twenty minutes with Shanahan – who else – the lethal executioner for Lismore. The big man snapped up a Paul Prendergast delivery and in a twinkling had the ball nestling in the back of the champions net.

That opened up a five point gap, 1-7 to 0-5, for the challengers, but if anyone feared a Ballyduff collapse they would soon be given their answer.

The champions thundered back, and with Stephen Molumphy revelling in his move from full to centre forward and Brendan Hannon unerringly sniping scores from frees, there was just a goal between the sides, 1-10 to 0-10, in Lismore’s favour at the interval.

A top class first half was surpassed by an even better second as these great rivals gave it their all in what became a truly absorbing battle for supremacy. The champions upped their game several notches, and half a dozen unanswered points by Molumphy, Brendan Hannon, Brian, Pa, and Jamie Kearney(2) had Ballyduff three in front going into the final quarter.

Maurice Shanahan finally got Lismore off the mark with a pointed free, and then his brother Dan took over the show with a flurry of magnificent points that had them back in front as the game went into the final five minutes.

It was tense, nail biting, stuff but it looked as though Maurice Shanahan had finally won it for Lismore when he plucked a ball out of the air and from sixty metres virtually on the sideline rifled over the point of the game to put them two ahead with only as many minutes of normal time remaining.

Champions die hard however and no one illustrated that more bravely, more courageously, than Ballyduff as they stormed back to try and save their tottering title.

And save it they did when first Brendan Hannon pointed a free – his ninth of the game, and then came that dramatic Adrian Power equaliser from 100 metres that had everyone in the ground standing in salute. Justice truly had been done.

Heroic

Both sides paraded heroic figures with the champions greatly indebted to their goalkeeper and eventual saviour Adrian Power, Tom and Ger Feeney in defence, Seamus Hannon at midfield, and Jamie Kearney and Pa Kearney, and Brendan Hannon in attack.

James O’Connor, David O’Gorman, Eoin and Dave Bennett, Dan and Maurice Shanahan, brilliantly led the Lismore assault and they will probably be disappointed that their side was denied the glory literally at the death.

Roll on next Sunday’s replay.

Ballyduff Upper: A. Power; P. Molumphy, T. Molumphy, M. Drislane; J. Twomey. T. Feeney, G. Feeney; S. Hannon, K. Geary; J. Kearney. S. Kearney, B. Kearney; P. Kearney, S. Molumphy, B. Hannon.

Scorers: B. Hannon (0-9, 0-8 frees); J. Kearney (0-4); P. Kearney (0-2); B. Kearney (0-2); S. Molumphy (0-2); S. Hannon, A. Power (f) (0-1) each.

Lismore: B. Landers; E. Bennett, J. O’Connor, S. Bennett; P. Howard, D. O’Gorman, D. Howard; D. Bennett, P. Prendergast; D. Shganahan, S. Kearney, J. Shanahan; C. O’Gorman, M. Shanahan, J. Prendergast; Subs: S. Daly for J. Shanahan; J. Heneghan for C. O’Gorman; A. Landers for P. Prendergast.

Scorers: D. Shanahan (1-5); M. Shanahan (0-7, 0-6 frees); D. Bennett (0-2, 65s); J. Shanahan, J. Prendergast, C. O’Gorman, A. Landers(0-1) each.

Referee: Maurice Wadding, Roanmore.

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