Fergal Óg gain revenge
Fergal Og 2-9, Newcastle 09: Fergal Og got sweet revenge for their championship final defeat at Arklow on Sunday last when they annexed the Junior hurling league title with a six points win over keen rivals Newcastle to take the Don O’Gorman Cup.
Just two weeks earlier they had been beaten by Newcastle in the A championship in a dramatic finale to the final.
Ever since the former Senior players from St. Patrick’s divided their hurling allegiance between Newcastle and Fergal Og, there has been scarcely a puck of a sliothar between the clubs all year.
The Don Gorman Cup was to be awarded to the team that topped the league section of the championship but then it was found that a final had to be played as both teams finished level on 19 points each.
The league game between the sides ended in a draw while the championship final two weeks ago was only decided by Ta O’Brien goal for Newcastle in the closing minutes.
At Arklow on Sunday, there was again little or nothing between the teams who were level on six occasions before play entered its decisive phase in the closing ten minutes.
Newcastle had taken a threepoint advantage at that stage with three unanswered points by John Dee O’Brien (free), Paddy Kavanagh and Michael O’Brien and looked as if they were going to repeat their championship win over their northern rivals.
This time Fergal Og had time to regroup and rally in a game that saw the lead change hands several times over the previous 50 minutes.
Fergal Og’s dangerman Andy O’Brien had again moved outfield from the full-forward position as he had done in the championship final and he was revelling in this new found freedom.
Into the last ten minutes Andy was jinking and slicing his way through the Newcastle defence on a mazy solo run when he was fouled 35 to 40 metres out and to the right of the Newcastle goal.
O’Brien stepped up to the free with menacing intent and blasted the sliothar to the net through a phalanx of Newcastle defenders to put the sides level for a seventh and last time in this match of ebb and flow hurling.
The initiative was back with Fergal Og and they were determined not to let it slip a second time.
Goalie Thomas Cowan made a number of crucial saves and he was fronted by a solid full-back line in Frankie Cowan, Jim Connors and little, lion-hearted Paddy O’Brien.
Eddie Kelly was frequently catching the eye in the half line; John Connors was starring, while Robert Mason was shinning in attack along with Andy O’Brien, their brightest attacking star.
Paddy Fisher, Jim O’Brien and John Connors slotted over vital points and with five minutes left then were ahead 1-9 to 0-9.
Newcastle were to suffer another blow moments later when Ta O’Brien, the scorer of the winning goal for Castle two weeks ago, was straight-red card for an off the ball incident with his brother Andy.
Fergal Og pressed ahead and in the first minute of injury-time. Robert Mason floated a shot from the left wing which took a wicked deflection off a Newcas- tle defender and ended up in the net.
With this insurance score in injury-time, Fergal Og had reached the promised land, though Newcastle fought to the bitter end, forcing Cowan to make a vital save at the expense of a ‘65’ which yielded nothing for hapless Newcastle.
Newcastle drew first blood in this match with midfielder JP Kelly landing the opening point after five minutes and from there to half time the sides were level on five occasions (0-5 each at the break), with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions.
Minutes before the break, John O’Brien had a chance of a goal for Newcastle but he kicked the sliothar wide from the edge of the square.
JP Kelly, Gerry Connors, Ciarán Doyle, John Dee O’Brien were leading the charge for Newcastle as they opened up a three point gap in the opening twenty minutes of the secondhalf, only to be outflanked and out-manoeuvred by highly motivated Fergal Og in the closing phase.
This was the first piece of adult silverware for Fergal Og who had only taken up the hurling game in recent years and it was a success that their perseverance richly deserved.
Scorers for Fergal Og: Andy O’Brien (1-4), Robert Mason (11), John Connors (0-2), Paddy Fisher, and Jim O’Brien ( 0-1 each).
Newcastle scorers: JP Kelly (0-2), Mick O’Brien (0-2), John Dee O’Brien (0-2), Gerry Connors, Ciarán Doyle and Paddy Kavanagh (0-1 each).
Fergal Og: Thomas Cowan, Frankie Cowan, Jim Connors, Paddy O’Brien, Eddie Kelly, Michael Connors, Alan Hughes, John Connors, Karl Lacey, Paddy Fisher, Jim O’Brien, Robert Mason, George O’Brien, Andy O’Brien, Barry Cowan. Subs: Karl Brady for K. Lacey, Gary O’Neill for A. Hughes.
Newcastle: Craig Butler, Dean Franey, Denis Ta O’Brien, Stephen Byrne, David Kearns, Gerry Connors, Andy O’Brien, Ciaran Doyle, JP Kelly, Graham O’Brien, John Dee O’Brien, Paddy Kavanagh, Michael O’Brien, John O’Brien, JP O’Brien.
Og, winners of the Don O’Gorman Memorial Cup.
Fergal Og's captain Alan Hughes receives the cup from Mick Hagan.
Newcastle's Stephen Byrne and Fergal Og's Frankie Canavan compete for possession.