Well heroes topple Adare to hit historic high

Patrickswell 1-13 Adare 0-14

Adare, whose ambition was to join the select few to have recorded a hat-trick of titles, were within touching distance of achieving their target after they overturned a six-point deficit to lead 0-10 to 0-9 entering the final minutes.

After an indifferent start in which they surrendered five points inside seven minutes, Mark Foley had the champions ticking over nicely and, with Conor Fitzgerald doing the business up front, the winning post was within sight.

The ‘Well, playing into the stiffish breeze, had lost some of their earlier gloss. But as so often happened in the past, the city side engineered an escape route.

It started when they forced their opponents into conceding two 65s, from which Paul O’Grady turned the game around.

Then Gary Kirby sent out another message of his intention to reach double figures in his medals haul.

Ciaran Carey posted a long delivery into his path and the 34-year-old kept his cool, opening the avenue for substitute John McDermott to flick the ball past ‘keeper Timmy Houlihan.

That goal was to prove decisive. And though Conor Fitzgerald landed his eighth point of the afternoon, ‘Well substitute Brian Geoghegan and Paul O’Grady re-opened a five-point advantage, 1-13 to 0-11.

Adare kept the fight going but late scores from Stephen Lavin and Fitzgerald (two) failed to unravel the ‘Well.

When Adare reflect on this first championship defeat in three years, they will acknowledge they blew it in the opening seven minutes.

Patrickswell were flying in that period, none more so than Kirby who lofted over two points. Tony O’Brien, Ciaran Carey and Paul O’Reilly were superb in the half-back line, and midfielders Peter O’Reilly and Paul O’Grady carried on their good work.

O’Grady (two) and Carey were all on the scoresheet before Conor Fitzgerald got the double champions off the mark, before tapping over a second from a free.

Patrickswell’s response was immediate, with O’Grady and O’Reilly (two) opening a six-point lead.

Still Adare could not find their early season form and relied heavily on Fitzgerald, who was their only first-half scorer, as they trailed by three (0-9 to 0-6) at the break.

A few second-half alterations had the desired effect, with Stephen Lavin, Fitzgerald and Con Murphy locking the sides at nine points each.

Subs Brendan Heffernan gave them advantage for the first time, and with the rain starting to fall the omens looked good.

But when it came to the crunch, the ‘Well showed the greater hunger. Paul O’Grady swung over two 65s and McDermott’ 46th minute goal was the score that mattered most of all.

In the minor hurling final, Doon ended Kilmallock’s hopes of a four-in-a-row with a deserved 2-14 to 2-8 win, to give them their first title in seven years.

Scorers: Patrickswell; P.O'Grady 0-6, J. McDermott 1-0, G. Kirby, Peter O'Reilly, 0-2 each. B. Geoghegan, D. O'Grady, C. Carey 0-1 each

Adare; C. Fitzgerald 0-10, S. Lavin 0-2, C.Murphy, B. Heffernan 0-1 each.

PATRICKSWELL: E. Murphy' M. Foley, A. Foley, P. Earls, T. O'Brien, C. Carey, Paul O'Reilly; Peter O'Reilly, P. O'Grady; E. Foley, A. Carmody, P. Carey, D. O'Grady, G. Kirby, K. Carey. Subs. B. Geoghegan for P. Carey, J. McDermott for K. Carey.

ADARE: T. Houlihan; P. Lavin, JP Healy, D. Morden, M. Clifford, J. Foley, A. O'Gorman; M. Foley, C. Cribbin; C. Fitzgerald, C. Murphy, S. Lavin, D. Sheehan, B. Foley, B. Sexton. Subs. B. Heffernan for Cribbin, A. O'Connell for Sexton.

Referee: D. Richardson (Murroe-Boher)

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