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Aaron Cunningham is named at wing forward on the team to face Kilkenny

Wolfe Tones are crowned Munster champions

Wolfe Tones 1-18 Newcestown, Cork 2-13

Wolfe Tones were crowned Munster intermediate hurling champions at Mallow this Saturday afternoon where they were deserving winners over their Cork counterparts, Newcestown.

A brace of injury time goals from the Cork champions made for a nervous finish for the Clare outfit but there is no denying the merit of their victory.

They started a little nervously and found themselves 0-3 to 0-1 behind after six minutes but from here to the half time whistle they dictated matters. Seven unanswered points saw them take a four point advantage as the game went into the second quarter before Newcestown ended a twelve minute spell without a score with a point from defender Michael McSweeney.

Nine minutes from the half time whistle the Shannon club struck a vital blow. A superb break by the outstanding Aron Shanagher saw the eighteen year old pick out Gary O’Connell with his cross and the centre forward found the net. Shanagher and Rory Hayes followed with points and the winners were nine points clear, 1-10 to 0-4.

In the last five minutes of the half the Cork champions hit four points from placed balls and when the half time whistle sounded the margin was six, 1-11 to 0-8 in Wolfe Tones favour.

Weather conditions deteriorated for the second half with the teams having to contend with heavy rain. Both sides were guilty of missed opportunities in the third quarter when each managed just two points. In the early stages of the final quarter, Newcestown applied a lot of pressure but with seven minutes remaining, the winners were seven points clear.

An outstanding save by Darren Heffernan in the Newcestown goal from Wolfe Tones substitute Jack Cunningham kept the Cork champions’ hopes alive with six minutes to play.

A brace of Eoin Kelly points reduced the winners lead to five points with three minutes to play but two excellent scores from Jack Cunningham and Gary O’Connell had the Clare champions seven clear as three minutes of additional time were signalled. One of these had been played when Newcestown struck for their first goal but straight from the puckout Wolfe Tones were awarded a 70m free which Shanagher converted. There was still a minute to play and in this Newcestown struck for another goal to recude the margin to two.

Time ran out for them, however and moments later the big Wolfe Tones following in the official attendance of 1,400 were celebrating Munster success. Provincial council chairman Robert Frost from O’Callaghans Mills presented the cup to the winning captain Aaron Cunningham at the end of a game in which Dermot O’Rourke, Brian O’Connell, Ben O’Gorman, Gary O’Connell and teenager Aron Shanagher had played key roles for the Clare side

Elsewere Clare junior A football champions Coolmeen booked a place in the Munster final when they were 0-8 to 1-3 winners over Modeligo from Waterford at Cooraclare.

On the domestic front, St. Josephs Doora-Barefield were crowned under 21 B football champions, thanks to a 3-6 to 0-7 win over Corofin at Eire Og.

By Seamus Hayes

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