Their relentless surge towards a fourth title on the trot continues, and while this win wasn’t their most impressive of the campaign to date, few will be backing against them in the final against the Nire in two weeks.
Ardmore, backed by the strong wind, enjoyed a flying start with Billy Harty pointing a free in the first minute and Seamas Prendergast pointing from play 60 seconds later when a definite goal chance presented itself.
At their best early on, the seasiders had a third point on the board from a James O’Donnell free in the 6th minute. However, that was as good as it got for Ardmore and gradually Stradbally began to impose themselves. Their defence battened down the hatches, they won more midfield possession, and Niall Curran began to threaten up front.
But they still had to wait 20 minutes to register on the scoreboard, with Curran the marksman, and though they trailed by 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval, they were firmly in the driving seat given the strength of the wind that was with them on the turnover.
The half-time withdrawal of Seamas Prendergast didn’t do Ardmore any favours, and the county hurling star proved a huge loss when the champions upped their tempo.
They could have had a goal within seconds of the restart from Shane Lannon but were level by the 38th minute when Curran pointed a ‘45’ and Ger Power found the range from distance.
There was an inevitability about the lead score, a Stephen Cunningham point in the 40th minute, and while Ardmore created chances they simply didn’t have the necessary firepower to convert them.
Power and O’Donnell exchanged points before Stradbally hit a purple patch and well-taken scores by Curran (2) and Lannon put them out of sight.
Ardmore never gave up the battle, but substitute Maurice O’Connor’s point was the classic case of too little too late. The champions held out with ease and are now odds-on favourites to complete that championship fourtimer.
: Stradbally: N Curran (0-4, 0-1 “45’); G Power(0-2); S Lannon (0-2); T Walsh, S Cunningham(0-1) each. Ardmore: J O’Donnell (0-3, frees); B Harty, S Prendergast, W Hennessy, M O’Connor (0-1) each.
: E Cunningham; E Cummins. K Coffey. T Walsh; O Costelloe. T Costelloe. D Doyle; G Walsh. J Hearne; J Coffey. G Power. S Cunningham; N Curran. M Walsh. S Lannon.
: D Lenane; A Flavin. M Supple. C O’Connor; N Hennessy, D Prendergast. R Hennessy; W Hennessy. S Dower; S Prendergast, Cathal Hennessy. N O’Brien; J O’Donnell. Clinton Hennessy. B Harty. Subs; J Hennessy for S Prendergast (inj); A Ahearne for Flavin; J Conway for Dower; M O’Connor for O’Brien.
: P Moore, Abbeyside.