Wolfe Tones, Mostrim retained the county senior hurling title with three points to spare over Clonguish in the final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
In what was a repeat of last year’s final, two second half goals were crucial for the Edgeworthstown club in their win; Paddy Cullen with the first in the 39th minute while John Mulhern got the second nine minutes later.
In the 47th minute Wolfe Tones had stretched their lead to five points and although Clonguish had chances near the end to cut the gap they hit three wides in a row and could only tag on two more points.
Wolfe Tones were worthy winners and had good performers all over the field; their defence did well, the midfield pairing of Martin Coyle and Kealan Cox dominated that area while Jack Lynn and John Mulhern were lively in the forward line.
Longford county goalkeeper Paddy Cullen lined out at corner-forward and was a real threat throughout; scoring 1-4 and claiming the man of the match award. And it was Cullen who got the opening point of the game in the first minute from a free. The next score didn’t come until the 11th minute when Ciaran Finnucane levelled for Clonguish. Another Paddy Cullen free edged Wolfe Tones back in front but seconds later they went behind when county footballer Paul Barden got a goal, finishing Joe O’Brien’s pass to the net.
Three minutes later Wolfe Tones were level with two quick points. They also had a goal chance in the 15th minute but Pat Fizgerald hit his effort wide. Joe O’Brien then fired over a free for Clonguish before excellent points from Jack Lynn (free) and John Mulhern put Wolfe Tones back in front by the 21st minute.
In the space of five minutes the game changed twice with Clonguish going ahead in the 25th minute and Wolfe Tones fighting back to regain the lead in the 28th minute.
Paul Barden was then the provider for Joe O’Brien to score a fine point as the sides went in at the break all square, 1-5 to 0-8. Paul Barden and Ciaran Finnucane hit over early second half points to put Clonguish back in front but then Wolfe Tones took a hold of the game and got the vital scores.
Another Paddy Cullen free cut the deficit to one and then he found the back of the net in the 39th minute. Joe O’Brien replied with a free for Clonguish but Wolfe Tones then got a second goal in the 45th minute when Jack Lynn found John Mulhern and he made no mistake with a wonderful finish. Full-forward Pat Fitzgerald followed up with a point to put five between the sides by the 47th minute, 2-10 to 1-8.
Joe O’Brien was on target again from a free in the 52nd minute and despite creating the opportunities, Clonguish failed to add on points as they hit three poor wides. In stoppage time James Rosney got a point but it was too late at that stage as Wolfe Tones held on for victory.
WOLFE TONES: James Farrell; Niall Dooner, Thomas Stakem, John Gaffney; Ciaran Fahy (0-1), Brendan Stakem, Joe Dempsey; Kealan Cox, Martin Coyle (0-1); Luke Kelly, Jack Lynn (0-2, 2 frees), Michael Hussey; Paddy Cullen (1-4, 4 frees), Pat Fitzgerald (0-1), John Mulhern (1-1).
Subs:- John Cullen for M Hussey (54 mins); Andy Kelly for P Fitzgerald (59 mins).
CLONGUISH: John Minnock; Rory Breslin, Brendan Burke, Declan Lee; Gerard Moore, Paudie McGarry, Brian Gordon; Paul Barden Jnr, Ciaran Finnucane (0-2); Paddy Corcoran, Thomas Prunty, James Rosney (0-1); Joe O’Brien (0-6, 4 frees), Dermot Kiernan, Paul Barden (1-1).
Sub:- Raymond O’Brien for D Kiernan (48 mins).
Referee: Liam Baker