Scariff Community College 5-10 St. Fergal’s Rathdowney 2-12
A twenty eight year wait ended before a big crowd at a well appointed Toomevara GAA grounds this afternoon when Scariff Community College were crowned All-Ireland hurling champions.
A merited win over St Fergals from Rathdowney saw the East Clare school take home the Michael Cusack cup after they overcame the challenge of the Leinster champions in the All-Ireland C final.
Scariff last won All-Ireland hurling honours in 1990 when they were crowned B champions after they accounted for Athenry from Galway.
In bright sunshine at the North Tipperary venue this afternoon, Scariff took the lead in the tenty minute when Mark Eodgers had their opening goal and from here to the final whistle they led the way.
One of the key factors in their march to this title has been the ability of their full forward trio of Rodgers, Ciaran Keenan and Fergus Madden to score goals and this was again the case in this final. Between them they accounted for 3-7 of the team’s impressive tally and they also assisted with some of the other scores.
While this trio excelled the Scariff side had heroes throughout the field. Central defenders James Hannon and Jack Minogue again stood out as did the hard working Fionn Slattery at midfield.
Points were exchanged twice in the opening meinutes before St.Fergals edged a point in front for the third time. In the tenth minute Mark Rodgers pounced when the laois side failed to clear their lines and he blasted to the net for the opening goal. A minute later he picked out Martin Walsh with a fine pass and the wing forward found the net.
Rathdownew pulled back two points before Scariff sruck again whenCiaran Keenan rounded his marker and raced through before firing to the net. Scariff went on to lead at the break on a scoreline of 3-3 to 0-6 having had eight wides some from rather easy positions.
With the aid of the breeze in the seco nd half the Laois school side was expected to challenge strongly and they hit the first point of the half. Then a sweeping move by the new champions ended with a penalty which team captain Michael Hynes blasted to the net.
As the mid point of the half approached the scoreline led 4-6 to 0-10 and Rathdowney supporters were still holding out hope of victory. Scariff had other ideas and they really put paid to their opponents hopes with their fifth goal which would do justice to any game at any level.
Goalkeeper William Kavanagh started the move when he found Kevin Drost with the puck out. The ball was worked up the left wing to Mark Rodgers who sent a cross field pass to Fergus Madden and he drilled a superb effort into the top corner of the net. Four unanswered points followed from the East Clare side leaving them fifteen points clear with eight minutes remaining.
To their credit Rathdowney refused to throw in the towel and in the remaining time they struck for 2-2, both goals coming from 20m frees. However it was too late to prevent Scariff from taking home the honours.
Scariff Community college; William Kavanagh (Scariff); Sean Wiley (Bodyke), Jack Hannon (Broadford) Donal Burke (Whitegate); Darren McNamara (Broadford), Jack Minogue(Bodyke), Kevin Drost (Bodyke); Fionn Slattery (Bodyke), Ronan Hayes (Whitegate); Martin Walsh (Scariff) 1-0, Michael Hynes (Whitegate) 1-3 Captain, Henry McGrath (O’C. Mills) 0-1; Fergus Madden (Scariff) 1-0, Ciaran Keenan (Whitegate) 1-3, Mark Rodgers (Scariff) 1-3
Subs; Ciaran Quinn (whitegate) for Burke; Adam Sheedy (Ogonnelloe) for McGrath; Anthony Hallinan (Scarff) for Walsh’; Jamie Canny (Killanena) for Wiley;
By Seamus Hayes