Stradbally 0-12; Kilrossanty 0-6
Stradbally had their expected win over neighbours Kilrossanty in the first of last Sunday’s two senior football semi-finals at Fraher Field on Sunday last, but they weren’t by any means overly impressive.
The Kilrossanty club have come along way in the last year and if they can continue in that vein then it wont be long until we see the side in green and gold shirts back contesting county finals. However, this mid-Waterford derby showed that they are some way off Conway Cup-winning standard just yet.
In the opening half Stradbally were the better team and were good value for their three-point lead at the break, but it has to be said that Kilrossanty had chances in the opening 30 minutes, but their final pass let them down against a Stradbally side that showed all the experience they gained over the years.
Niall Curran opened the scoring when he punched a point inside the opening 20 seconds. Stephen Cunningham stretched their lead when he pointed on five minutes. On eight minutes Matty Kiely pointed for Kilrossanty to give the Comeragh men some hope, but a point from Stephen Cunningham following a series of good inter-changes with Thomas Connors, as well as others from Niall Curran and John Coffey, gave Stradbally a five points to one lead with 20 minutes gone.
Kilrossanty did try and fight back and a point from Kieran Ryan three minutes from the break left them trailing by just three points at the break.
They began the second half in the best possible way. Half-time substitute Ciaran Keating and veteran Matty Kiely both pointed within ninety minutes of the restart to leave just a single score between the sides.
Niall Curran pointed for Stradbally with three minutes of the second half played and when it appeared that Paul Whyte had cut the Stradbally lead to one, it looked as if it was game on, but the Republic of Ireland youth soccer international’s effort, which from the stand looked as if it has dissected the posts, was indicated as a 45 by the officials. The resulting kick from almost in front of the posts failed to reach the required height and distance to trouble the Stradbally defence.
From here on in it was all Stradbally. Robert Ahearne pointed in the eighth minute and four minutes later Thomas Connors struck again for Stradbally. Shane Ahearne pointed twice either side of the midway mark of the second half to kill off any chances Kilrossanty had of winning.
Kilrossanty’s cause was not helped when referee Tim O’Byrne ordered off Michael Kirwan 17 minutes into the second half, rather harshly in the eyes of many in the stand when he collected two yellow cards in a short space of time.
Thomas Connors pointed with six minutes to play to give Stradbally a seven-point lead, after which Kilrossanty put some respectability on the scoreboard with two pointed frees from their scorer in chief all year, Paul Whyte.
The final score of the game was recorded a minute into stoppage time when Eddie Rockett broke forward from defence to score a point.
Stradbally are now back in the final for the first time since 2006 where they were beaten 1-5 to 0-3 against The Nire. While they will go into the final as underdogs, that will not faze them. Kilrossanty too are on the way back, having almost their senior status in 2008. They are definitely going in the right direction.