For Ballyduff it was a celebrated return to the top flight following their intermediate win in 2005 and while De La Salle will be disappointed, last year’s beaten finalists cannot be written out of the title race.
The scoring was opened by a goalkeeper, with Adrian Power pointing Ballyduff into a second minute lead from a free deep inside his own half.
The winners eased into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead before De La Salle struck with a Luke Lawlor goal, and when the centre forward rifled over one of the points of the game six minutes later, the sides were level.
Not for long, however. Brendan Hannon stepped up to a 20 metre free and lashed the ball to the De La Salle net in the 21st minute as they lead 1-6 to 1-4 at the interval. A top class first half was followed by an even better second with four goals scored within three sensational minutes of the restart.
Three went to De La Salle transforming their two point interval deficit into a four point lead. But there was still more drama to come with Patrick Kearney scoring a brilliant Ballyduff goal — his second — in the 39th minute to leave the minimum between the sides.
A great Lawlor point in the 40th minute was to be De La Salle’s last score for all of 18 minutes as Ballyduff took over. The switch of Tom Feeney from midfield to centre-back was a decisive one with Tom and Pat Molumphy and teenager Seamas Hannon also brilliantly shoring up their defence.
John Twomey was rampant at midfield while Patrick Kearney, Brendan Hannon, and Michael Molumphy threatened more and more in attack.
In contrast De La Salle began to struggle, despite the best efforts of Brian Phelan, Ian Flynn, Derek McGrath and Luke Lawlor.
However, James Quirke’s 58th minute pointed free gave them a glimmer of hope before Patrick Kearney’s delightfully struck point a minute into added time sealed Ballyduff’s win.
: Ballyduff: P. Kearney (2-2); B. Hannon (1-5); J. Twomey (0-2); M. Molumphy (0-2); A. Power, J. Kearney (0-1) each. De La Salle: L. Lawlor (2-3); J. Quirke (1-2); C. Moloney (1-0); K. Moran (0-1).
: A. Power; P. Molumphy, M. Drislane, T. Molumphy; S. Cunningham, G. Feeney, A. Feeney; J. Twomey, T. Feeney; L. McNamara, M. Molumphy, J. Kearney; B. Hannon, S. Kearney, P. Kearney.
: S. Hannon for McNamara.
: S. Brenner; A. Kelly. I. Flynn. M. Doherty; D. Russell. B. Phelan. C. Watt; K. Moran. D. McGrath; T. Kearney. L. Lawlor. D. Dooley; C. Moloney. J. Quirke. M. Barden.
: D. Twomey for Barden; P. Nevin for Watt; M. Sheehan for Dooley.
: P Casey, (Cappoquin).