By Therese O’Callaghan
Cloughduv put recent county final disappointments behind them – 2009, 2010 and 2015 – to be crowned Cork JAH champions after a close battle with Russell Rovers at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
The mid Cork club moved down the grades over the years, with this victory they bridge a 48-year gap since claiming their last junior title.
Cloughduv got off to a dream start with Joe Ryan finding the net after just 25 seconds. They held that lead with Brian Verling getting the first of his six opening half points (10 overall). However, they failed to score for the next 20 minutes as Russell Rovers reeled off seven answered white flags from five different scorers - including two Josh Beausang frees (0-8 to 1-1).
Cloughduv recovered brilliantly and in a devastating two-minute spell they hit 1-3, the goal finished by Andrew Cronin from close range after he was put through by Verling. Beausang pulled a point back for the Imokilly side but in injury time Cloughduv pointed three placed balls courtesy of Verling.
Cloughduv led by 2-7 to 0-9 at half-time. At the three-quarter stage, the gap remained at four points, 2-10 to 0-12. Fintan Murray reduced the deficit to three with 10 minutes remaining, but the Muskerry men managed to keep their noses in front, they outscored the east Cork side two points to one.
Cloughduv's newest resident!!! pic.twitter.com/BEdvLyI2U7— Cloughduv Hurling (@CloughduvHurlin) October 27, 2018
Scorers for Cloughduv: B Verling (0-10, 0-7 frees, 0-1 65), J Ryan and A Cronin (1-0) each, B Ahern and J Moynihan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Russell Rovers: J Beausang (0-7 frees), L Duggan Murray and D Moynihan (0-2 each), F Murray, B Hartnett and K Moynihan (0-1 each).
Cloughduv: J Buckley; P Buckley, E Clifford, A Twomey; G Ahern, D O’Leary, B Ahern, M Verling (Capt), A Murphy; M Walsh, A Cronin, D Corkery; B Verling, J Ryan, J Moynihan.
Subs: K Barry Murphy for D Corkery (45), D Sullivan for A Cronin (46), S Curzon for J Moynihan (59), L Long for D O’Leary (63).
Russell Rovers: I Smiddy; E O’Sullivan, C Ruddy, K O’Brien; J P Ivers, J Kennifick, P Lane; K Walsh, L Duggan Murray; E McGrath, J McGrath, D Moynihan (Capt); K Moynihan, B Hartnett, J Beausang.
Subs: D O’Brien for K O’Brien (half-time), F Murray for J McGrath (half-time), B Whelehan for E McGrath (38).
Referee: Ian McCarthy (Bandon).