Abbeyside give Mt Sion rude awakening

Abbeyside 3-9 Mount Sion 2-11

Mount Sion, with 34 senior hurling championship titles on their role of honour, were the raging hot favourites going into the game.

All the odds were stacked against Abbeyside, including tradition. Never in the history of the club had they beaten Mount Sion in a senior hurling championship side ­ losing to them in the county finals of 1955, ‘57, ‘65 and ‘69.

But they thoroughly deserved their victory which was fashioned around wholehearted endeavour and a never-say-die approach that would have been typical of Mount Sion.

Mount Sion elected to go into the game without Eoin Kelly, one of their star players, but Abbeyside were without stalwart defender Gavin Breen who was injured in a recent football championship game.

And while Abbeyside set the early pace in the game, one felt that it would be only a matter of time before the champions came to grips with the situation.

Mount Sion did, in fact, take control of the game, went into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead, but they never exerted any real supremacy, due in no small measure to some excellent defending by the Abbeyside backs.

They allowed Abbeyside to claw their way back and there was just a point between them going into the final three minutes of the first half when they got the tonic they needed in the form of a well taken goal.

Patrick Hurney laid the foundations when he won possession, beat off a couple of defenders and passed ahead to his brother, Gary. The centre-forward turned to put the sliotar past Ian O’Regan in the Mount Sion goal.

It was a rude awakening for the champions and they hit back swiftly. A long ball was delivered into the Abbeyside goal area, the backs and forwards bunched, and when it was scrambled out to wing-forward Kenny Stafford, he hammered it to the net.

This goal restored the status quo but while Michael White and Eoin McGrath added points, it did not quell the Abbeyside spirit and they were rewarded when a John Foley ball was tapped down by Laurence Hurney for Mark Gorman to finish it to the net and send the sides into half-time on level terms ­ 1-7 to 2-4.

John Foley pointed for Abbeyside on the resumption but it appeared once again as if Mount Sion had the upper hand when Barry Browne took a Michael White pass and hammered the ball to the net.

It looked like the killer blow but Abbeyside hung in and were presented with a gift goal when a long ball from John Phelan was fumbled by Ian O’Regan and substitute Patrick Lynch was on hand to finish it to the Mount Sion net and suddenly they were a point in front.

From here on in it was a true test of character and, despite two minor incidents, the game was fought out in a sporting manner.

Ken McGrath cut the arrears to a single point from a long range free. When Patrick Enright in the Abbeyside goal brought off a brilliant save at the expense of a 65, it appeared as if McGrath, who had been on target all evening, would draw the game but his effort went wide.

Scorers: Abbeyside: M. Gorman 1-4 (0-2 frees);G. Hurney 1-2, P. Lynch 1-0; J. Foley 0-2; M. Fives 0-1. Mount Sion: K. Stafford 1-2; K. McGrath 0-4 (0-1 free); B. Browne 1-0; E. McGrath 0-3, M. White 0-2.

ABBEYSIDE: P. Enright; D. Cliffe, J. Kindregan, B. Scanlon; J. Phelan, S. Briggs, P. Phelan; J. Hurney, M. Fives; J. Foley, G. Hurney, P. Hurney; M. Enright, L. Hurney, M. Gorman. Subs: P. Lynch for L. Hurney.

MOUNT SION: I. O’Regan; S. Twomey, A. Kirwan, K. Flynn; J. O’Mara, T. Browne, F. O’Shea; R. McGrath, M. Frisby; M. White, K. McGrath, K. Stafford; E. McGrath, B. Flannery, B. Browne. Subs: J. Farrell for R. McGrath; J. Cleere for S. Twomey; D. Kelly for B. Flannery.

Referee: J. M. Kelly (Shamrocks).

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