Brick rock solid as Stradbally stay senior

THE inspiring leadership of their All Star Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, and a priceless goal strike by super sub David Grey in the closing minutes, saw Stradbally safely – if nervously – across the finish line in a tense and hard fought Waterford SHC relegation play-off at Walsh Park on Saturday.

The heartbreak defeat brings Ballyduff Lower’s ten year tenure in the top flight to an end and consigns them to plying their trade in the intermediate grade next season.

Nothing pretty about the hurling, but the intensity of the exchanges left no one in any doubt about how much the retention of their senior status meant to both clubs. Shane Ahearne and Conor Kenny traded goals in an evenly waged opening half with Ballyduff good value for their thin 1-4 to 1-3 interval advantage.

They edged further in front when the industrious Jack Kennedy pointed twice on the restart before Brick Walsh’s sweetly struck point sparked the Stradbally fight back. Three further points followed from Walsh (2) and Shane Ahearne before substitute David Grey crashed home their all important second goal with less than five minutes remaining.

Ballyduff however hit back with a lifeline goal of their own when Kennedy buried a 20 metre free to leave the minimum between the sides yet again. But the final say was Stradbally’s with Brick converting another free to give them the victory they just about deserved at the end of a hard fought battle.

Scorers for Stradbally: S. Ahearne (1-3, 0-2 frees); M. Walsh (0-5, 0-1 free, 0-1 65); D. Grey (1-0).

Scorers for Ballyduff Lower: J. Kennedy (1-5, 1-3 frees, 0-1 65); C. Kenny (1-0); D. Van Veen (0-1, free).

STRADBALLY: T. Curran; L. Casey, E. Rockett, T. Walsh; A. Doyle, J. Coffey, P. Doyle; M. Walsh, T. Costelloe; S. Ahearne, J. Hearne, R. Ahearne; S. Cunningham, C. Lawlor, T. Grey.

Sub: D. Grey for R. Ahearne.

BALLYDUFF LOWER: J.Cuddihy; M. Millea, J. O’Leary, M. De Paor; J. Lyons, P. Kennedy, D. Van Veen; P. Matthews, P. Stephenson; C. Power, C. Kenny, N. Clifford; E. Power, J. Kennedy, B. O’Leary.

Subs: G. Fitzgerald for C. Power; R. Barron for Clifford.

Referee: T. O’Sullivan (Cappoquin).

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