Ardmore 0-23 -
After five years in the Intermediate ranks Ardmore regained senior status in the most impressive fashion in Walsh Park on Saturday last with a four point win over Dunhill, a margin that, it must be said, flattered the losers. It will be Ardmore’s second spell in senior hurling as the club first gained that status in 2002 and as was the case then and is now the leadership of one Seamus Prendergast was pivotal to the success. The man who scored 3 – 9 in his teams stunning U – 21 title win over Mount Sion in 2001 continues to come good when the need is greatest for his club and after starring in the Western decider against Clashmore a week earlier he followed on with another sparkling display to power Ardmore to a most impressive win over a side that won this title just two years earlier.
I am not suggesting that this was by any means a one man show where Ardmore was concerned. On the contrary this was a great team effort inspired by the leadership of Prendergast and indeed the other Ardmore players who enjoyed Munster championship success alongside him with the county, Clinton Hennessy and Declan Prendergast. The arrival on the scene of a new group of young players has made all the difference this year and one would suggest that Ardmore’s defeat by Roanmore in the 2010 final gave time for those young players to develop and they are now better equipped to make the grade art senior level.
Dunhill will be most disappointed with this performance as, after the opening quarter they never looked like winning this game. Even up to that point, with Ardmore leading by just 0 – 5 to 0 – 4, the fact that the Western champions had shot as many as nine wides was a clear indication of their overall dominance where possession was concerned. It was clear from the opening minutes that Ardmore were the more focussed side as Wayne Hennessy and Seamus Keating were narrowly wide before Seamus Prendergast opened his account from play in the second minute before following up with a point from a free. Ardmore’s wide tally continued to mount before Briany Dunbar had Dunhill’s opening point in what was their first serious attack after seven minutes. Darragh Murray followed up with a point and it seemed as though Dunhill were going to come on strong before Cathal Hennessy and David Gartland eased Ardmore into the lead once again.
A fine point by Eamonn Murphy followed by a second Darragh Murray point had the sides level at 0 – 4 each going into the second quarter but it was a flattering score line considering that Seamus Prendergast had hit three successive wides as his side’s tally rose to eight against two for Dunhill. The third quarter belonged entirely to Ardmore as Prendergast began to find the range with Wayne Hennessy and Seamus Keating dominating around the middle of the field. Seven points from Seamus Prendergast, five of which came from play, two from Seamus Keating and one from Cathal Hennessy with a solitary reply coming from a Shane Casey free in added time left Ardmore in a very strong position, leading on a score of 0 – 13 to 0 – 5 despite having run up a similar amount of wides in the same half.
Dunhill had the aid of the breeze in the second half but Ardmore were again first onto the scoreboard with early points from Richie Hennessy and Seamus Prendergast(F). An exchange of points from frees between Shane Casey and Seamus Prendergast was followed by a Dunhill point from Tomas Dunbar but Ardmore kept pace with another Prendergast point to retain a ten point lead before Dunhill were thrown a lifeline in the 41st minute when Shane Casey showed his finishing power as he won the ball in the right corner forward position and broke through the Ardmore defence to beat Clinton Hennessy with a powerful drive to the far corner of the net.
It was a goal to lift any side but Ardmore hit back with points from Cathal Hennessy and David Gartland to show they were still in control. Dunhill enjoyed their best spell for some time as Eamonn Murphy pulled back a point in the 45th minute followed by two points from Casey frees but Ardmore continued to have all the answers to any questions asked as it became clear that Dunhill would be relying totally on Casey to put any pressure on the Ardmore defence.
The last ten minutes saw Ardmore outscore their opponents by four points to three, with Prendergast(2), Keating and David Gartland the scorers, while the Dunhill response came from three Shane Casey frees. With the game deep into added time Casey produced the second goal of the game, again in devastating fashion, to give the score line some semblance of respectability as far as his side was concerned but in the end there could be no disguising the fact that Ardmore were the far superior side on the day.
As I have said it was a great team performance by Ardmore under the leadership of Seamus Prendergast with other outstanding performances from Conor O’Shea, Kenny Murphy, Declan Prendergast, Wayne Hennessy, Cathal Hennessy, Seamus Keating and David Gartland.
Dunhill know they are much better than this performance but they remain a young side and will be the better for this experience. Players like John Ryan, Tomas Dunbar, Davin Phelan and Darragh Murray worked hard against the odds while Shane Casey showed himself, once again, to be one of the best finishers in the county with a personal tally of 2 – 7.
Scorers:- Ardmore – Seamus Prendergast 0 – 12(5Fs), David Gartland, Seamus Keating and Cathal Hennessy 0 – 3 each, Wayne Hennessy and Richie Hennessy 0 – 1 each.
Dunhill – Shane Casey 2 – 7(0-6Fs), Eoin Murphy and Darragh Murray 0 – 2 each, Briany Dunbar and Tomas Dunbar 0 – 1 each.
ARDMORE– Clinton Hennessy, Daniel Power, Conor O’Shea, Niall Hennesssy, Kenny Murphy, Declan Prendergast, Richie hennessy, Michael Cronin, Wayne Hennessy, Seamus Keating, David Gartland, Cathal Hennessy, Thomas Conway, John Gartland, Seamus Prendergast. Subs – Adrian O’Donnell for D. Gartland, Tom Power for John Gartland, Sean Barron for Conway.
DUNHILL– Colm Keane, Eoin Murphy, John Ryan, David Raher, Simon Behan, Tomas Casey, Tomas Dunbar, Bryan Cunningham, Davin Phelan, Noel Murphy, Darragh Murray, Eamonn Murphy, Cillian Bonner, Shane Casey, Briany Dunbar. Subs – Jason Burns for N. Murphy, Pierce Dunne for T. Casey, Paul Doyle for Bonner.
Referee – Pat Casey.