Whitechurch (Cork) 2-16 Upperchurch/Drombane (Tipperary) 0-11
WHITECHURCH are deservedly All-Ireland Junior B Hurling champions after brushing aside the challenge of Tipperary’s Upperchurch/Drombane in Killeedy.
In front of a large crowd on a spectacular day, the Cork side showed just why they cruised all the way to the national final with an exhibition of hurling that was far better than what one might expect from this grade.
Led in the scoring stakes by corner-forward Padraic Dennehy and on the pitch by captain Killian Ryan and centre-forward Sean Keane, Whitechurch took this game y the scruff of the neck from the off and outside of a 10-minute flurry from the Tipperary men, looked winners from a long way out.
Whitechurch opened up much the stronger with a brace of quick points from Dennehy and Jonathan Scanlon before Upperchurch/Drombane got off the mark with their first score from TJ Butler.
Against the wind the Cork and Munster champions looked comfortable early on and dominated in both the scoring and possession stakes as the Tipperary Champions struggled to get to the pace of the game.
The Tipp side had to rely on placed balls from Michael Ryan and Butler for most of their scores in the first period with only one score coming from play.
For the newly crowned All-Ireland champions the stats looked much more encouraging with 1-2 from play along with four frees from Dennehy in the right corner.
Neither side would be overly happy with their performance in the opening period however before the game Whitechurch would have surely taken a four-point lead at the turn – especially considering the wind was not their ally.
Whitechurch kept their opponents at bay for the first quarter before Dennehy finished a brilliant move involving his strike partner Scanlon and a wonderful through ball from a rampant Sean Keane at centre-forward.
Upperchurch/Drombane could have been much closer at the turn however some poor shooting in the last 10 minutes of the opening half saw them rack up five quick wides. 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.
The start of the second half saw a revitalised Upperchurch side rattle off two brilliant points in two minutes to cut the gap to two, however, Whitechurch, and in particular, Sean Keane responded like champions to restore the halftime lead.
Just before the three-quarter mark Dennehy struck again, this time he finished to the net on his left side to all but end this one as a contest.
Tempers flared for a period however when calm was restored this one was all but over as Whitechurch cruised to the Killeedy GAA Perpetual Trophy – sparking joyous scenes among their band of supporters.
Leonard Purcell’s dismissal late on added salt to the Upperchurch wounds however it didn’t have any effect on the result as Whitechurch were home and dry by then.
Whitechurch will celebrate long into this week before coming back to reality to face up to the rigours of a season at Junior A. A place they look well capable of competing.
Scorers for Whitechurch: P Dennehy 2-6 (0-6 f), J Scanlon 0-4 (0-2 f, 0-1 65), S Keane 0-3, H Woulfe, D Burke, P Blake 0-1 each.
Upperchurch/Drombane: T J Butler, M Ryan (f) 0-3 each, N Grant 0-2, J Lordan (sl), LJ Ryan, R Murphy 0-1 each.
WHITECHURCH: P O’Connell; B Humphreys, B O’Sullivan, T Buckley; C O’Gorman, K Ryan, K Linehan; TJ Hegarty, D Burke; H Woulfe, S Keane, P Blake; D Keane, J Scanlon, P Dennehy.
Subs: J Kelleher for K Linehan (45), R Burke for P Dennehy (58), M Hyde for D Keane (58).
UPPERCHURCH/DROMBANE: D Carey; G Fogarty, L Purcell, D Carew; J Lordan, A Kinane, J Quinn; LJ Ryan, D Grant; N Grant, S Armstrong, R Murphy; TJ Butler, J Ryan, M Ryan.
Subs: T Clancy for D Grant (50), R Gleeson for S Armstrong (50), PJ Burke for D Carew (55), E Fogarty for N Grant (58).
Referee: M Sexton (Limerick)