The Rower-Inistioge and Lisdowney moved to round two in this junior ‘A’ county hurling final replay in Bennettsbridge on Sunday, and the Southerners took the honours.
The teams served up a classic in the drawn game when not even extra time could separate them. Another tight game was anticipated.
The Rower opened with far more energy and intensity and led by five points at half time (0-11 to 0-6).
Despite a better showing from Lisdowney in the second half, the Rower were worthy winners of their first junior ‘A’ title since 1987.
The winners were ahead after 30 seconds when goalkeeper Paddy Lyng pointed a free from 70 metres after a foul on Conor Lyng. Brian Kavanagh fired over a great score from just inside the 65 to level it up.
The same player scored a difficult free from 45 metres on the left wing to push Lisdowney ahead, 0-1 to 0-2.
Rower-Inistioge took control when they scored four unanswered points between the 8th and 13th minutes. James Cassin sent over two points before Sean Grace raced through the centre to fire over.
The pick of the bunch came from John James Kenny, who showed great skill by controlling a difficult ball and pointing on the turn to leave the score 0-5 to 0-2 after 13 minutes.
Eoin Delahunty landed a massive score from 70 metres to stem the flow on 14 minutes.
James Cassin pointed a free in the 19th minute (0-6 to 0-3) before Niall Kenny spurned a good chance of a goal. James Cassin and Brian Kavanagh traded frees in the 21st and 26th minutes to leave the score 0-7 to 0-4.
The hugely impressive Jack Walsh caught a puck-out before passing to James Cassin, who split the posts, 0-8 to 0-4.
Lisdowney must have thought the writing was on the wall when goalkeeper Paddy Lyng landed his second point from 70 metres after 28 minutes, 0-9 to 0-4.
Paddy Bowden fired over two points for Lisdowney with a John James Kenny score sandwiched between. James Cassin landed his sixth point of the half from a close in free after a foul on Conor Lyng to send the Rower-Inistioge in at the break leading by 0-11 to 0-6.
Eddie Kenny (play) and James Cassin (free) traded points immediately after the restart.
Brian Kavanagh pointed a free after a foul on Willie Kenny before Eddie Kenny cut the Rower lead to three after 34 minutes, 0-12 to 0-9.
James Cassin sent over a free from 45 metres to extend the Rower lead. Niall Kenny latched on to a ball on the right wing and fired over on 40 minutes.
Just as they did in the first half, the Rower made the most of a five minute period of dominance. Bob Grace, John James Kenny and Kevin Murphy all pointed from play to extend their lead to 0-16 to 0-10.
Brian Kavanagh pointed a 65 in the 48th minute before Sean Grace landed one of the scores of the game after clever passing between Bob Grace and David Kelly found the scorer free (0-17 to 0-11).
Laurence O’Carroll rifled a low shot over the bar in the 50th minute to keep Lisdowney in the hunt.
The Rower had a defender dismissed for a second yellow card offence in the 51st minute, and when Brian Kavanagh pointed the resulting free the lead was down to four.
With three minutes to go the lead was down to a single score after Brian Kavanagh pointed a free following a foul on Niall Kenny (0-17 to 0-14).
David Lyng, who worked tirelessly, won possession after a great hook and fed James Cassin, who calmed Rower-Inistioge nerves when he shot a point.
James Cassin was fouled on 59 minutes and David Kelly slotted over the free, 0-19 to 0-14.
The Rower appeared to be coasting to victory when David Lyng cut through the centre before off-loading to James Cassin, who pointed to extend their lead (0-20 to 0-14).
However, there was still a twist to come. Joe Bergin rifled in a shot from 35 metres to the net through a crowd of players to cut the divide to three, 0-20 to 1-14.
When badly needed, James Cassin, the Rower captain, gathered a ball on the left side line and fired over his 11th point to ensure the cup was heading South.
The winners had good performers all over, but especially Paddy Lyng, Shane Ryan, Pauric Lyng, Sean Grace, Jack Walsh, James Cassin, David Lyng and John James Kenny.
Best for Lisdowney were Kevin O’Sullivan, Laurence O’Carroll, Eoin Delahunty, Niall Kenny, Brian Kavanagh, Paddy Bowden and Edward Kenny.
SCORERS: Rower-Inistioge - James Cassin (0-11, five frees); John James Kenny (0-3); Paddy Lyng (0-2, frees); Sean Grace (0-2); David Kelly, Bob Grace, Kevin Murphy (0-1 each). Lisdowney - Brian Kavanagh (0-7, five frees, one 65); Joe Bergin (1-0); Edward Kenny, Paddy Bowden (0-2 each); Laurence O’Carroll, Eoin Delahunty, Niall Kenny (0-1 each).
Rower-Inistioge - Paddy Lyng, Kieran Meaney, James Doyle, Shane Ryan, Pauric Lyng, Luke Tennyson, Jack Walsh, David Kelly, Sean Grace, Conor Lyng, James Cassin, David Lyng, Bob Grace, John James Kenny, Kevin Murphy.
Lisdowney - Niall Grogan, Pat Fitzpatrick, Eoin Lyons, Kevin O’Sullivan, Stephen Delaney, Peter Bergin, Peter O’Sullivan, Laurence O’Carroll, Joe Bergin, Brian Kavanagh, Eoin Delahunty, Willie Kenny, Edward Kenny, Niall Kenny, Paddy Bowden.
Referee - John Kennedy (Ballyhale).
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