As the game went into the closing quarter Ardmore were in cruise control with the advantage of what had all the trappings of an unassailable 0-12 to 0-4 lead. Clashmore, the intermediate champions of 2002, were staring the inevitability of a heavy defeat starkly in the face.
But then came an amazing championship fightback. Point by point Clashmore clawed their way back into contention, but a brave effort still seemed to have fallen short as the game went into a fourth minute of added time and a three point margin still separated the arch rivals.
Then came a moment of pure, undiluted, drama as Karl O’Keeffe’s delivery into a crowded goalmouth brought a penalty when referee Pat Moore deemed that Killian O’Keeffe had been fouled.
You could cut the tension as Stephen Barron prepared to take the spot kick, but while there was little wrong with his powerfully struck drive goalkeeper Damien Lenane played a true captain’s part as he flung himself across the goal area and tipped the ball away for what proved to be a fruitless ‘45’.
Even then Clashmore weren’t done and a beleaguered Ardmore defence had to concede another ‘45’ before the final whistle brought them unrestrained relief, and victory.
Midway through that second half Ardmore were in the comfort zone as they extended a three point interval lead to a whopping eight.
Everything, it seemed, was going according to the form book.
But credit Clashmore with that most courageous of comebacks which had the fans on their toes as a splendidly waged local derby ended in an absolute welter of excitement.
It was a game of very mixed fortunes for the luckless Stephen Barron who was unquestionably his side’s best player and the scorer of seven of their nine points. However, he will reflect on many missed chances and most crucially of all, his failure to convert that last gasp spot kick.
Over the hour however Ardmore, who led 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval, were the better side, and while they had to sweat it out in those torrid closing stages they were well worthy of their hard earned victory.
Scorers for Ardmore: J. O’Donnell(0-4); B. Harty (0-3); M. O’Connor (0-2); Clinton Hennessy(0-2); S. Prendergast (0-1).
Clashmore: S. Barron (0-7); K. Connery, J. Seward (0-1) each.
ARDMORE: D. Lenane; A. Flavin. D. Prendergast. P. Conway; N. Hennessy. S. Prendergast. R. Hennessy; W. Hennessy. J. Hennessy; M. O’Connor, P. Bree, Cathal Hennessy; J. O’Donnell, B. Harty, Clinton Hennessy.
Subs: D. O’Reilly for Bree; N. O’Brien for Flavin.
CLASHMORE: D. Hickey; P. Allen. P. Connery. P. Lombard; B. Dunne. K. Connery. P. Dee; M. Power. Karl O’Keeffe; R. Ryan. S. Barron. S. Fleming; P. O’Rourke. M. Fenton. B. O’Berill.
Subs; B. Murray for O’Neill; Killian O’Keeffe for Murray; J. Seward for Ryan.
Referee; Pat Moore, Ballinacourty.