Aghabullogue 1-10 Ballyhea 0-9
AGHABULLOGUE were crowned junior B county hurling champions on Sunday afternoon, after they saw off Ballyhea in added time to win their first adult county title in 28 years.
Led on the pitch by Patrick Finnegan, Daniel Dineen, and captain David Moynihan (centre-back), the boys in green looked good for long periods, leading this one for 56 of the allotted 60 minutes.
They would require a late goal from Billy Casey to seal the deal, however.
Ballyhea had All-Ireland winner Neil Ronan at centre-forward, with Dean Copps and Jack Barrett holding court in the middle. Indeed, Ronan was key to their challenge, scoring all of their nine points on the day.
From the off, this one was a tough, uncompromising affair, with no quarter asked for nor given by either side.
Aghabullogue were first to trouble the scoreboard with a point from Finnegan, his first of three minors in the opening 30 minutes.
Ronan responded with a free for the Avondhu side, but his effort was cancelled out by Finnegan’s second, this one after great work from Daniel Dineen in the middle third.
Another point from Finnegan followed as Ballyhea struggled to get any kind of decent possession and when Dineen banged over the point of the half on 24 minutes, things started to get a little serious for the boys in black-and-white.
Former Cork player Ronan dragged his side back to within a point with two tasty frees but another nice score from Dineen and a good point from Aghabullogue full-forward Eamonn Murphy saw his side lead by three at the interval, 0-6 to 0-3.
Ballyhea needed a response if they were to get back into this one, and they got it straight off the bat with a good over from Ronan. Again, Finnegan responded with a close-range free for the boys in green as the tie settled back into your typical championship final dogfight.
Ronan again cut the gap with a placed ball, but Aghabullogue looked to be taking control around the middle of the park with a point from corner-forward Casey putting the gap back to three.
A late tit-for-tat battle ensued, with Ballyhea just edging the scoreboard to bring the sides level on the 60th minute. But Casey’s late major was enough to seal the deal and spark wild celebrations.
Scorers for Aghabullogue: P Finnegan 0-5 (0-3 f), B Casey 1-1, D Dineen 0-3, E Murphy 0-1.
Ballyhea: N Ronan 0-9 (0-7 f).
AGHABULLOGUE: D Twomey; A Hogan, D Twomey, K Barry-Murphy; B Buckley, D Moynihan, J Corkery; D Dineen, D Desmond; P Finnegan, M Twomey, G Murphy; J Murphy, E Murphy, B Casey.
Subs: T Long for D Desmond (bs, 4), T O’Leary for G Murphy (47), P O’Rourke for J Murphy (54), D Dineen for M Twomey (63).
BALLYHEA: G O’Shea; C Hanley, S Dennehy, M Crowley; O O’Brien, N Crowley, J O’Leary; J Barrett, D Copps; S O’Kelly, N Ronan, M Mortell; R Hanley, D O’Shaughnessy, L Crowley.
Subs: E O’Sullivan for M Mortell (h-t), W Sheehan for D O’Shaughnessy (63).
Referee: C Walsh (Nemo Rangers).