Last-gasp Dungarvan back in the big time

Dungarvan's Seamus Cunningham and Shane Kearney combine against Clonea's Robert Power.    | Photos: Michael Kiely

Dungarvan's Seamus Cunningham and Shane Kearney combine against Clonea's Robert Power. | Photos: Michael Kiely

Dungarvan 1-20; Clonea 2-16

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An injury-time point from midfielder Karl Duggan sent Dungarvan into raptures in Walsh Park last Sunday afternoon as the blues captured the Intermediate hurling title with a one-point victory over Clonea in an epic county final. This match will be talked about for many a day as it was simply one of the best games of hurling seen in the county this year. If the two senior hurling finals were good, this was even better as Dungarvan came from a massive ten points behind with 22 minutes left to play to catch and overtake their eastern rivals at the death. That they managed to reign in Clonea without scoring a goal is a testimony to the point taking expertise of men like Jamie Nagle, Cormac Curran and Karl Duggan.

Dungarvan came into this game with a huge doubt hanging over the ability of their forward line. They managed to hit sixteen wides in the Western final but in the final quarter of this game, all their training paid off and they simply couldn’t miss.

The game started in whirlwind fashion and the large crowd in attendance was treated to an avalanche of scores. After ten minutes of play, there was ten points on the board as Clonea, playing with a strong breeze getting six of these. Wing-forward, Daithi Ellis was as reliant as ever from placed balls and Fergal Fogarty and the youthful Ronan Cahill were also showing well in these early stages.

For Dungarvan, Karl Duggan, Jamie Nagle and Kenny Moore were also showing flashes of brilliance in the first quarter.

In the 13th minute, Jamie Nagle mis-hit a shot as he attempted to fire over another point. Fortunately for Dungarvan, the ball reached the in-rushing corner-forward, Colm Curran. The 17 year-old attacker held off Paul Drohan and managed to get the ball past Steven Power and into the Clonea net. This goal was enough to get Dungarvan back on to level terms.

Clonea were not unduly rattled by this setback and scored the game’s next four points with Cahill, Ellis, Robbie Power and Gerdi Power all on the mark. Clonea almost stole in for a goal as well but Fogarty missed his chance and a 65 resulted.

Colm Curran followed up his earlier goal with a well-taken point and Kenny Moore notched a fine point for Dungarvan as well.

As a highly-entertaining first half inched to a close, Clonea added two more points through Robbie Power and the impressive Ronan Cahill.

Cushion

The talk at half-time was all about whether Clonea’s four point lead would be enough of a cushion as they faced into the strengthening breeze.

The four point lead soon became seven when a speculative Paul Power delivery went all the way to the Dungarvan net.

Dungarvan had a golden opportunity to strike right back but Steven Power pulled off a fantastic save to deny Liam Ryan.

Four minutes later, the game looked over as a contest when Clonea raised another green flag. Frannie Halpin made a wonderful catch from a long clearance out of the Clonea defence and laid the ball off to Daithi Ellis. Instead of taking the easy point, Ellis squared the ball to Fergal Fogarty who fired the ball past David Moore and into the back of the net.

A Paul Power point increased Clonea’s lead to ten points, but the wind was strengthening.

Two long-range frees from Cormac Curran began the Dungarvan fightback. Two superb points from Jamie Nagle added to the Blue’s momentum, substitute, Jonathan Regan fired over a huge point from inside his own half and Shane Kearney scored an absolutely fabulous point from the right touchline. It was now all one-way traffic and a Cormac Curran free closed the deficit to a goal with ten minutes left to play.

Clonea rallied briefly with Ellis and Cahill extending the gap to five with seven minutes left.

Dungarvan showed all of the fighting qualities that you wouldn’t expect to find in such a young team. Cormac Curran added on two frees and his brother, Colm set up Karl Duggan for a point. With Dungarvan very much on top all over the field, the game became a time trial as the men from the old Boro fought against Tommy Sullivan’s watch. Jamie Nagle slotted over another one followed by the long-awaited equaliser which came from a well struck free by Cormac Curran.

Down on the touchline, Jim-Joe Landers signalled two minutes of injury time. Possession became everything and Dungarvan won the ball and forced a sideline cut on the right-hand touchline. Jamie Nagle sauntered over with the intention of cutting the ball over the bar. However, he mis-hit the ball! Luckily for Dungarvan, the ball ran to the unmarked Karl Duggan who flicked the ball up and fired it straight over the bar for a spectacular winning point.

This was a wonderful game which epitomised all that is great about the ancient game. There were some spectacular performances on both sides. When leaders were needed for Dungarvan yesterday, none stood up more than Jamie Nagle. In the final twenty minutes, he scored three wonderful points and on his switch to midfield, he won ball after ball and was hugely instrumental in his side’s monumental comeback. Elsewhere, for Dungarvan, full-back Derek Barry was also very impressive over the hour while Shane Kearney did his burgeoning reputation no harm with another spectacular display at wing-back. Dungarvan used three players at midfield over the hour and improved spectacularly once Jamie Nagle came out from centre-forward. However, the move was no sleight on the performances of Karl Duggan or Kenny Moore who finished up with five points between them. In the forwards, Gavin Crotty was very lively, Cormac Curran knocked over the frees when it mattered most and young Colm Curran showed maturity way beyond his years.

Clonea too had their moments on the day. Steven Power looked very assured between the posts and could not be faulted in any way for the Dungarvan goal. Jack Nugent was brilliant at corner-back while Michael Sexton was the pick of the half-back line. Ronan Cahill was Clonea’s best player on the day while the hard-working Paul Power and Robbie Power both put in a good shift in the forwards.

One expects that this Dungarvan side will improve before they play in next year’s senior championship. While it may be too much to expect them to launch an assault on the title next year, they may not be the relegation fodder that Intermediate champions so often are.

 

Dungarvan: D Moore, T Galvin, D Barry, JP Tutty, S Kearney, S Cunningham, W Flynn, K Duggan, K Moore, G Crotty, J Nagle, Cormac Curran, L Egan, L Ryan, Colm Curran. Subs: J Regan for L Egan.

Scorers: Cormac Curran 0-8f, Colm Curran 1-1, J Nagle 0-4, K Duggan 0-3, K Moore 0-2, J Regan 0-1, S Kearney 0-1

Clonea: S Power, P Drohan, T Power, J Nugent, M Sexton, V O’Shea, M Mears, G Power, M Whelan, D Ellis, R Cahill, P Power, R Power, F Halpin, F Fogarty.

Scorers: D Ellis 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 65), F Fogarty 1-1, P Power 1-1, R Cahill 0-4, R Power 0-2, M Mears 0-1, G Power 0-1

Referee: T Sullivan (Cappoquin).

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