It may not have been the prettiest of spectacles, but it provided the fans with a tension charged last quarter as the men from the Gaeltacht came from four points down to grab the glory in a frenetic finale.
For De La Salle there’s the heartbreak of having to endure the disappointment of defeat in the senior hurling and intermediate football finals by the minimum of margins, and they will long bemoan the way they surrendered the initiative in this game when the winning post was in sight.
All credit however to brave and battling Ring who refused to throw in the towel even when trailing 1-5 to 0-4 with less than twenty minutes left. Inspired however by the great outfield play of Liam O’Lionain and particularly wing forward Mike O’Toibin they thundered back into the fray.
They had a flying start with the accurate free-taking of Ó’Toibin yielding them a brace of points inside four minutes. Amazingly however they weren’t to score again in the half and it was De La Salle who took over and weren’t flattered by their 0-4 to 0-2 interval advantage. All four points from play were quality ones kicked by Mitchel Casey, Lee Hayes, Conan Watt, and Kevin Moran.
Ring were level within five minutes of the restart when Ó’Toibin (free) and O’Lionain pointed, but then the game looked to have turned in De La Salle’s favour when Moran’s speculative drive slipped through goalkeeper Tom O’Cadhla’s fingers for the most fortuitous of goals.
Moran’s point soon afterwards put four between them and it looked curtains for Ring. But that was reckoning without their indomitable spirit and four quality points between the 43rd and 47th minutes had them level.
A further exchange of points had many of the fans looking to a replay before Mike O’Toibin kicked the winning point in the 55th minute.
: Ring: M. Ó’Toibin (0-5, 0-4 frees), L. O’Lionain (0-2), S. MacCraith (0-2), P. Ó’Murchadha (0-1). De La Salle: K. Moran (1-2); L. Hayes, C. Watt, M. Casey, J. Ryan (0-1) each.
: T. O’Cadhla; L. O’Muiri. D. Breathnach. E. De Faoite; N. O’Murchadha. E. Breathnach. E. Ó Crotaigh; S. Ó Ceallaigh. L. O’Lionain; M. O’Toibin. G. Breathynach. C. O’Manachain; S. MacCraith. L. O’Cuirrin. P. O’Murchadha.
: S. hArtaigh for L. Ó Cuirrin (inj); S. Ó hAodha for Ó Muiri; L. Ó Cuirrin for Ó Crotaigh; M. S. Ó Murchadha for MacCraith; MacCraith for O’Toibin (inj).
: D. Dennison; A. Dunne. T. Kearney. M. Doherty; K. Whittle. D. Whittle. C. McBride; B. Freyne. J. Ryan; I.Cantwell. W. Kavanagh. C. Watt; K. Moran. L. Hayes. M. Casey.
: M. O’Sullivan for Casey; D. Kennedy for Dunne; M. Casey for O’Sullivan.
: Tim O’Byrne, Erins Own.