Wow. Now that was one hell of a finish. The sort of one you’d dearly love your own team to pull off when the time, when the moment, when posterity demands it. The stuff that dreams are made of, and legends are built upon.
Peter Queally’s Passage secured their first Waterford Senior Hurling Championship title in the most remarkable of circumstances when pipping neighbours and favourites Ballygunner at the death at Walsh Park on Sunday.
In an atmosphere which bordered on near disbelief, be it on the sideline, the stand, Walsh Park‘s newly concreted banks or the customary euphoric radio commentary of Kieran O’Connor, the Barony claimed their maiden title.
And to all who witnessed it, Sunday’s dying moments will never be forgotten in a year that the people of Passage shall never forget for entirely contrasting reasons.
For 20 minutes of the second half, Ballygunner had Passage on the ropes, was goals from JJ Hutchinson and captain Pauric Mahony left them in a commanding, seemingly match-winning position. But, critically, Andy Moloney’s men failed to land the killer blow of a fourth goal from which surely there would have been no coming back from.
Stressing patience on the sideline, and avoiding the temptation to launch every deep ball in around the house in the hope of a loose ball flying into the net, Passage never lost hope.
And in Owen Connors, they had an unerring free-taker, whose precision over the dead ball proved so vital in engineering one of the greatest comebacks in the history of our club game.
Right-corner back Jason Roche, as unlikely a scorer for Passage as Domhnall O’Donovan had been for Clare in the drawn All-Ireland Final, steered over a fine 55th minute point to reduce the arrears to six points. Two scores. Two goals.