Lismore 2-14 -
Lismore’s Maurice Shanahan celebrates after scoring his side’s second and clinching goal. Photo: Sean Byrne//Deise Sport.
Munster Club IHC Final
Maurice Shanahan was noticeably excited at the idea of transporting home a third trophy to the Cathedral town in the space of five wonderful weeks. Lismore relinquished their status among Waterford’s elite fourteen months ago but Shanahan restored them to their rightful spot.
“This time last year we were in a dark place with our club being relegated from senior hurling. It wasn’t a nice place to be because we’re a big hurling club in Waterford. The goal at the start of the year was to get out of Waterford but we had this at the back of our heads too. To get there and to win it is absolutely brilliant for our club.
Shanahan punched the air midway through the second half after he lofted one through the uprights from the stand side. With eight in the difference, he knew the game was done. The Lismore scoring machine completed 2016 on eleven goals and 101 points. He broke double figures on nine occasions and averaged twelve points per match.
A rejuvenated outfit ticked off their main objective at the end of October against Dunhill but they wanted to extend the season a little longer as Shanahan recalls. “We won it on the Friday night and a few of the lads had three or four beers but that was it. On the following morning, we were below in Clonea and back at it. We went up to Cloughduv to play Bandon and that was the big game for us I think, 24 hours later just to get over the line again. We left Cloughduv that day saying that there’s definitely a Munster title in this team. When you go down through our team, we have the Barrys, the Shanahans, the Bennetts, the Prendergasts and the Hennessys. This year we’ve pulled together and we’re driving on now.”
The recruitment of the Browne brothers to assist the local trio of Dave Barry, Seamus Prendergast and Michael O’Leary raised the bar. “Tony and Babs brought a new level of professionalism. We’re getting tea and sandwiches after training every night! There’s no man better than Tony Browne to come into your club because he’s done it and everyone respects Tony and Babsy.”
Kilmoyley didn’t allow Lismore out of their sights for the opening thirty minutes. The black and amber held a two-point lead on four occasions but no more. By the break, vibrant centre forward Daniel Collins levelled the contest and the Kerry champions left to a standing ovation. Tony Browne laid it out plainly to his charges. “I think he questioned us at half time, the dressing room wasn’t a nice place to be. We didn’t panic; we said that this was the worst we played all year and we were still in the game at seven all. To be fair, there wasn’t a strong wind out there. Tony said ‘lads I know ye can do it but there’s knowing it and doing it’. We did it in the second half.”
The 26 year old neatly lobbed the sliotar over Aidan McCabe for Lismore’s second goal after 40 minutes. He scored 1-5 during the second half as the favourites quickened. “I just saw him coming and said that I would dink it over him. It could have hit off his helmet just as easily but it went into the back of the net. We got two goals today but we could have had five. We’ll enjoy the next few days because trophies don’t come back over the bridge too often and then we’ll worry about the Galway champions after Christmas.”