Stradbally’s title march takes gigantic leap

Stradbally 1-11 Nire 0-6

The expectation was that this game would present the champions with a searching test, but that never worked out as Stradbally were in control throughout.

They dominated in every area of the field.

However, outstanding corner forward Niall Curran led the Nire defence and ended the game with a magnificent personal tally of nine points.

The Nire trailed early through two superbly pointed frees by Curran, and when John Coffey set up Ger Power for a well-taken goal on the quarter hour Stradbally were already well on their way.

The Nire could only muster a brace of points and they had to wait all of 39 minutes for their first score from play by Pat Walsh. They trailed 1-4 to 0-2 at the interval and would have been even further in arrears had the winners’ forwards converted a better percentage of their chances.

Walsh’s well-taken 39th minute point narrowed the deficit to a still manageable four, but that was as near as they were to get to the winners.

Curran kicked three magnificent points from play between the 40th and 46th minutes and a further one from a 55th minute free put them all but out of sight.

The sides shared the remaining four points, not nearly enough to rescue the Nire, and with a degree of comfort no one would have visualised in advance that Stradbally would march on to that county final date with Tramore on Sunday week.

On paper at least that decider has all the appearances of a David versus Goliath clash, with the titleholders now the raging favourites to claim that coveted “three in a row”.

Scorers for Stradbally: N. Curran (0-9, 0-5 frees); G. Power (1-); J. Coffey, M. Walsh (0-1) each.

Nire: C. Power (0-2 frees); P. Walsh (0-2, 0-1 free); S. Walsh, D. Phelan (0-1) each.,

STRADBALLY: K. Cunningham; E. Cummins. K. Coffey. T. Walsh; L. Walsh. T. Costelloe. O. Costelloe; G. Walsh. J. Hearne; S. Cunningham. G. Power. J. Coffey; N. Curran. M. Walsh. T. Curran.

NIRE: M. Doocey; I. Walsh. D. Ryan. M. Byrne; J. Walsh. M. Walsh. J. Moore; A. Ryan. D. Phelan; G. Walsh. C. Power. B. Wall; P. Walsh. S. Walsh. T. Flynn; Subs; L. Lawlor for J. Walsh; D. Wall for Flynn; A. O’Gorman for Power.

Referee; Stan Flynn, Fenor.

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