Nire finish with a flourish to seal final spot

THE winning margin may have flattered them a trifle, but Nire were still richly deserving winners of the first of the Waterford SFC semi-finals at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, yesterday.

While they found themselves under the cosh for much of the second-half Nire finished with a flourish to seal a place in their fourth final in five years.

With man of the match Shane Walsh taking early control of midfield, the opening half was dominated by Nire. Walsh was supreme as he laid on a liberal supply of possession for an attack in which Connie Power, Martin Walsh, and Liam Lawlor were a constant threat.

Ardmore were slow to start and inside four minutes found themselves two points in arrears after Power and the excellent Martin Walsh had landed great points. Their opening point on six minutes was the first of five super scores kicked by their best player, Alan North. But the writing was on the wall when they went in at the interval trailing by seven points, 1-7 to 0-3.

The goal a minute into added time was the killer blow. Power brilliantly batted out a high ball to the in-rushing Lawlor and he gave goalkeeper Conor Hurley no chance.

That score left Ardmore with a mountain to climb in the second-half. But they made the bravest of bids to do just that. North pointed in the 33rd minute point, and when Billy Harty tacked on two more, one from a free, the deficit was down to four.

Looking suspect for the first time, Nire were thankful for Lawlor’s relieving point on 42 minutes, but Ardmore continued to surge forward.

They were rewarded by a magnificent brace by the now irrepressible North and when he set up the tireless Wayne Hennessy for another in the 47th minute just two separated the sides.

Lawlor and North exchanged further points as the game built up towards a frenetic finale, but just when it seemed Ardmore might complete an heroic comebacks, Nire showed their resolve to plunder the matchwinning scores.

Fittingly, it was the marvellous Shane Walsh who finally broke them with the best point of the game in the 56th minute, and when his brother Martin tacked on another the Ardmore fight back was finally over.

There was still one final salvo to come from the winners however, in the shape of Martin Walsh’s injury-time goal.

Scorers: Nire; M. Walsh 1-3, L. Lawlor 1-2, C. Power 0-3 (0-1 free), S. Walsh 0-3. Ardmore; A. North 0-5, B. Harty 0-2 (0-1 free), J. O’Donnell (free), Clinton Hennessy, W. Hennessy 0-1 each.

NIRE: T. Flynn; J. Walsh, T. O’Gorman, M. O’Gorman; J. Moore, D. Ryan, B. Wall; A. O’Gorman, S. Walsh; A. Ryan, P. Walsh, M. Walsh; C. Power, L. Lawlor, M. Moore.

Subs: D. Wall for M. Moore (52 mins); P. Prendergast for D. Ryan (54); A. Lawlor for M. Walsh (61).

ARDMORE: C. Hurley; N. Hennessy, D. Prendergast, A. Ahearn; A. O’Dwyer, S. Prendergast, R. Hennessy; W. Hennessy, J. Hennessy; J. O’Donnell, A. North, Cathal Hennessy; N. O’Brien, B. Harty, Clinton Hennessy.

Subs: D. Hennessy for N. O’Brien (inj, 35 mins); A. Flavin for Ahearn (51).

Referee: Tim O’Byrne, Erin’s Own.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Execution Time: 0.201 s