Fourmilewater 1-10; Dunhill-Fenor 0-9
An early second half goal by centre-forward JP Fitzgerald was the catalyst for Fourmilewater as they inflicted a second county final defeat in a week on the hurlers of Dunhill-Fenor.
Fitzgerald’s goal was soon followed by the sending off of Dunhill-Fenor’s county star Shane Casey and with his departure went the Eastern side’s chances of annexing the county title.
Due to the heavy rain in the days leading up to the game, the match was moved from Kill to De La Salle’s splendid new grounds in Gracedieu. Despite the cold, a large crowd turned up to see a gripping contest.
In the end, no-one could deny that the better team won the contest. Fourmilewater were the superior outfit, with the conditions probably suiting them more than they did the younger and lighter Dunhill-Fenor outfit.
Dunhill-Fenor started the game with six minors in their ranks while Fourmilewater could boast seven players who represented them in the senior championship this year.
And it was this additional experience and physicality which made the difference in the finish.
The men from the west were the first to settle in this county final and led by three points to one after 10 minutes; the pick of the early scores coming from midfielder Craig Guiry who converted a sideline cut from 45 yards.
A free from Richard Fenton extended Fourmilewater’s lead to three points before the Eastern champions enjoyed there best period of the game.
Three points in two minutes had them level with Pierce Dunne and Thomas Dunbar notching fine points from play.
After this burst of scoring, the sides matched each other stride for stride for the remainder of the half and when the half-time whistle the eastern side led by a solitary point on a scoreline of 0-7 to 0-6.
The breeze favoured Fourmilewater for the second half and they made the most of it as Richard Fenton fired over the opening score of the half from a free.
A couple of minutes later came the all-important goal, after a long delivery from Fenton dropped around the 13-metre line.
JP Fitzgerald and Thomas Casey battled for the ball and as it ran loose, Fitzgerald was the first to react and kicked the ball into the back of Colm Keane’s net.
The goal proved to be a turning point and four minutes later Dunhill-Fenor were reduced to 14 men when Shane Casey was dismissed for a wild pull on Fenton.
There was to be no way back for Dunhill-Fenor and Fourmilewater held on for a richly deserved victory.
Fourmilewater were led superbly from full-back by man of the match Shane Lawlor, who was imperious throughout the game and cleared a multitude of ball.
Outside of him, Paul Horkan was dominant across the half-back line. In midfield Craig Guiry caught the eye with his ability to win ball and scored a splendid point from a sideline cut.
In the forwards, Thomas Walsh showed a remarkable aptitude to field high balls, while Richard Fenton and JP Fitzgerald did most of the scoring.
Dunhill-Fenor will be disappointed at having lost two county finals in a week.
However, there can take a small measure of comfort in the performances of Tyrone Costello, Darragh Murray, Pierce Dunne and star man Eamonn Murphy.
Shane Casey was also doing quite well up until his dismissal and this may have been the game’s deciding factor.
Fourmilewater: David Ryan, Aidan Condon, Shane Lawlor, Paudi Cooney, Alan McGrath, Paul Horkan, James McGrath, Craig Guiry, Graham Guiry, Thomas Walsh, JP Fitzgerald, Shane Ryan, David Fitzgerald, Richard Fenton, Darren Guiry. Subs: James Ryan for D Fitzgerald, Evan Morrissey for JP Fitzgerald
Scorers: R Fenton (0-6; 0-4f), JP Fitzgerald (1-1), D Guiry and T Walsh (0-1 each) and C Guiry (0-1 sideline).
Dunhill-Fenor: Colm Keane, David Casey, Tyrone Costello, Eamonn Ryan, Kieran Halley, Thomas Casey, John Flynn, Darragh Murray, Davin Phelan, Pierce Dunne, Shane Casey, Jamie Ryan, Eamonn Murphy, Thomas Dunbar, Jason Burns. Subs: Luke Middleton for David Casey
Scorers: E Murphy (0-3; 0-1f), P Dunne (0-2), S Casey (0-2f), T Dunbar (0-1) and T Casey (0-1f).