STRONG willed Rower-Inistioge dragged themselves back from one time second half arrears of seven points to score a confidence boosting extra-time win over Danesfort in this hard fought intermediate hurling league final at Nowlan Park on Saturday.
With 38 minutes showing on the clock a point from Robbie Walsh, after taking a clever space creating pass from David Forristal, put the losers 1-9 to 0-5 clear and into a strong position. In fact, they might have been even better off because minutes earlier Cillian Treacy went to ground when tackled, and a penalty might easily have been the call.
The Rower had no grand plan afterwards. They simply kept their cool, hurled away smartly but with normal time up they were still behind.
With nearly 62 minutes showing on the clock the industrious and hugely effective James Cashin lashed a venomous 20-metre drive from the left to the back of the Danesfort net at the county end. There was barely enough time for the puck-out.
Cashin’s super effort levelled the game at 2-8 (RI) to 1-11 and forced the contest into extra-time. The Rower drover on with utter determination, and an extra-time take of 0-8 was enough to give them their second league crowd to go with the one they won in 2009 by beating the same opposition.
“That was a good win,” admitted Rower captain, Kieran Joyce. “We have trained hard during the past four or five months and that work paid off because we were able to pull out the effort in the end.
“We reckoned going into extra-time that the extra training would be a help. This was a great win, especially against Danesfort, who will be there or thereabouts in the championship. They are a serious team with three senior county players.
“The win was nice, but the real business of the season begins now in the championship. We are looking forward to it. We have expectations. We reckon we have as strong a squad as any of the contenders, but it is a matter of getting things right on any given day from now on.”
Early on Sean Grace and Richie Hogan, in that order, swopped points and then wind assisted Danesfort drove on into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with Hogan, Robbie Walsh and Paddy Hogan adding scores.
The Rower, who had been tentative earlier, hit a good spell between the 12th and 19th minutes when scores from the ever dangerous Paul Sheehan (2) and Michael Grace brought them back level at 0-4 each.
The losers won back the led in impressive fashion when a lovely move involving David Forristal and Robbie Walsh ended with Cillian Treacy shooting a lovely score from 45 metres on the left. Within 90 seconds the ball was in the Rower net.
This time Paddy Hogan launched a cross field sideline cut from the shadows of the old stand. The sliotar eventually came to Stephen Duncan from a knot of players’ and from no more than eight metres in front of the posts he found the target (1-5 to 0-4).
That carried the winners into an interval lead of 1-6 to 0-5 – after shooting eight wides – although on balance it was a fair reflection of the play. The Rower ’keeper, Liam Tierney brought off a great save from a dipping Richie Hogan shot in the 16th minute, and almost on half-time Michael Grace saw a well struck effort clip the bottom of the left upright at the other end.
Danesfort enjoyed the better of things early in the new half. Minor scores from the flying Richie Hogan (2) and Robbie Walsh took them into their biggest advantage of the half, 1-9 to 0-5 by the 39th minute.
The Rower halted the slide abruptly. Within a minute Paul Sheehan buried a ball delivered in by Ruairi Galavan to the net. Sean Grace flashed over a point to keep the momentum going and within seconds James Cashin, who was ever growing in effectiveness, forced a top class save from Danesfort goalie, Frank Manogue.
Four points were evenly divided after that, the last one being shot by a flying James Cashin. Then into injury-time Cashin bagged the equalising goal, his fierce shot going to the net off the goalie’s hurley to level it at the end of normal time (1-11 to 2-8).
The Rower edged things in the first period of injury-time when scores from Sheehan and James Cashin (2) – against replies from Richie Hogan (2), a pair of brilliant 20 metre sideline cuts – earned them a lead of 2-11 to 1-13 at the rest.
The winners drove on strongly from there to the finish. They started the closing 10 minute period of play with quick points from Michael Grace and Paul Sheehan.
Further off pace
Danesfort slipped further and further off the pace and their only score during this period was a Richie Hogan point with a little over 90 seconds remaining.
The winners had many heroes. When they needed big players to stand up and make their presence felt during the closing quarter and beyond none did better than Kieran Joyce, James Cashin and Paul Sheehan, while Sean Cummins, Michael Grace and Joe Lyng also played well.
Good for the losers were Richie Hogan on sometimes limited possession, Paul Murphy, Robbie Walsh and Paddy Hogan, until he struggled late in the game.
Rower-Inistioge – Liam Tierney, Eoin Doyle, Mark Moore, James Doyle, Tadgh Leahy, Sean Cummins, David Lyng, Joe Lyng, Kieran Joyce, Sean Grace, James Cashin, Ruairi Galavan, Michael Grace, Conor Joyce, Paul Sheehan. Subs – P.J. Wilmott, Padraig Grace, Neil Lyng, Conor Joyce.
Danesfort – Frank Manogue, Philip Walsh, Ciaran Treacy, Mick Cunningham, Tony Woodcock, Paddy Hogan, Paul Murphy, Stephen Duncan, Martin McMahon, David Forristal, Robbie Walsh, Oisin Daly, Cillian Treacy, Richie Hogan (capt), Darren Booth. Subs - Gavin O’Keeffe, John Doheny, Padraig Forristal, Darren Booth, Cillian Treacy.
Referee – Paddy Neary (James Stephens).