Dungarvan 1-13; Abbeyside 3-6
Dungarvan went into last Saturday’s Western Under-21 ‘A’ decider against neighbours and rivals Abbeyside as hot favourites, but were made to fight all the way before emerging as one point winners.
Dungarvan started with 10 of the team that started against Douglas in the Munster Intermediate Championship semi-final just seven days previously.
They also had Paudie Kiely, Eoin Healy and Luke Egan who were introduced in the game against the Cork champions, in the starting line-up as well.
Abbeyside got off to cracking start after just 15 seconds when Stephen Slater pulled the ball into the Town End net.
On a very heavy field which cut up very fast, scores in the first half were few and far between, the next two scores coming courtesy of bothers Colm and Cormac Curran.
Abbeyside stretched their lead via a Stephen Enright 65 while points from Liam Ryan and Gavin Crotty within seconds of each other in the 16th minute had the Old Boro on level terms.
But within just two minutes Abbeyside were back in front courtesy of a Sean O’Hare effort.
The remainder of the opening half was a rather drab affair as both sides found the conditions tough going.
However it was Dungarvan that finished the stronger of the two sides, as Cormac Curran pointed twice inside a minute of each other just as the opening half drew to a close, giving the favourites a one-point lead going into the break.
The second half proved a much better affair. Liam Ryan opened the scoring a minute after the restart and just seconds later Colm O’Hare made a superb double save from close range to keep Dungarvan at bay and Abbeyside in the game.
However, two minutes later, O’Hare was powerless to stop Luke Egan scoring a goal for Dungarvan, as he belted a shot to the net using just his right hand on the hurley to put the favourites five points up.
Dungarvan were now in cruise control and in the next few minutes added further scores from Karl Duggan, Cormac Duggan and a brace of Luke Egan points, giving the Old Boro a 1-11 to 1-2 lead with 46 minutes played.
But Abbeyside had other ideas and mounted a magnificent comeback. With 12 minutes to play, John Gorman landed a point from a free. Sixty seconds later, Stephen Slater scored his second goal of the game to leave five points between the sides.
Cormac Curran extended Dungarvan’s lead with 10 minutes to play and again it looked as if they were going to pull away, but again Abbeyside refused to lie down without a fight.
John Gorman, now playing around the middle of the field, pointed a free with nine minutes to go. With just six minutes of the 60 to play, the same player was on hand to hammer the ball into the net for a third Abbeyside goal and it was now game on. It was a remarkable turnaround.
Gorman was now on a high and was lording it around all that he surveyed. With four minutes to play, he hit a point from play and two minutes later he rifled over another score. Amazingly, the sides were level and a grand stand finale was now guaranteed.
The title was there now for which ever side wanted it most. Abbeyside looked the more physical side and it looked as if they were going to win, but it was not to be.
Both sides had chances to register the all-important score but neither took the chances that came their way.
However, deep into added time, Dungarvan centre back Wayne Flynn found himself in possession of the ball and, with the second last puck of the game, put the ball between the uprights to give Dungarvan a deserved one point lead.
A place in the county final against Ballygunner at Walsh Park was theirs – but only just.
Dungarvan: D Moore; K O’Keeffe, D Barry, P Kiely; S Kearney, W Flynn, E Healy; K Duggan, K Moore; G Crotty, Cormac Curran, Colm Curran; L Egan, L Ryan, T Crotty. Sub: N Fitzgerald for K O’Keeffe, D Crotty for T Crotty.
Scorers: Cormac Curran (0-5; 0-2f, 0-1 65’), L Egan (1-2), L Ryan (0-2), Colm Curran, G Crotty, K Duggan and W Flynn (0-1 each).
Abbeyside: C O’Hare; B Walsh, D Henley, C Enright; J Power, J Mahony, E Brackett; S O’Hare, S Crotty; S Enright, J Gorman, S Lanigan; S Slater, T Hanrahan, S O’Donovan. Sub: R Sheehan for Lanigan.
Scorers: J Gorman (1-4; 0-2f), S Slater (2-0), S O’Hare (0-1), S Enright (0-1 65’).
Referee: J Condon (An Rinn).