It was a battle royal that went right down to the wire, but in the end the Rower-Inistioge were left to celebrate when they won their first Leinster club intermediate hurling final in Enniscorthy today (1-9 to 0-10).
Points from sub Ciaran Ryan and wing-back, Sean Lyster in the 60th and 61st minute beat Buffers Alley (Wexford) after a gripping, energy sapping contest.
The losers were slightly the better team during the opening half. With a handsome contribution of five points from flying attacker, Andrew Kenny, they built up an interval lead of 0-8 to 0-5.
Within five minutes of the restart the roles were reversed. The Rower opened the half with a point from Cathal Bolger before David Lyng shot the only goal of the game, the chance being created by Sean Grace (1-6 to 0-8).
Although the ’Alley won back the lead subsequently, their advance was halted by a billiant Rower defence, led superbly by county star Kieran Joyce at centre-back. Five minutes from the end a foul on team captain, Michael Grace gave sub Paul Sheehan the chance to level it, which he duly did (0-10 to 1-7).
With time running out and the Rower after missing two chances, it looked like a decision might not be reached. However, the Rower snatched victory at the death in what was a humdinger of a game.
Scorers: Rower-Inistioge - David Lyng (1-0); Cathal Bolger (0-2); Sean Lyster, Conor Joyce, Joe Lyng, Ciaran Ryan (0-1 each); Kieran Joyce (0-1, free); Michael Grace (0-1, free); Paul Sheehan (0-1, free). Buffers Alley - Andrew Kenny (0-5); Keith Burke (0-2, one free); Thomas Dempsey, Shane Grannell, Tomas O’Leary (0-1 each).