For the fourth successive season Ballygarvan saw a county title elude them yet they made a bright opening that suggested they were on course to claim honours.
With dangerman Mark Kennefick stationed at the edge of the square and Luke O’Sullivan alongside him, Ballygarvan had major attacking threats close to goal. Ballygarvan coped better with the foul weather and went 1-2 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the opening quarter. The decisive score came courtesy of O’Sullivan in the 15th minute when James Walsh delivered a cross from the wing and the corner-forward displayed his opportunism to flick to the net.
However, St Catherine’s made a decisive recovery before the break. They nearly conceded another goal when Dan McCarthy came close to raising a green flag for Ballygarvan but wing-forward Daniel Mangan, who has been in sparkling form for St Colman’s in the Dr Harty Cup, helped St Catherine’s tie the match at 1-2 to 0-5 at the interval.
And St Catherine’s maintained that initiative. Colm Ahern split the post again after a goalmouth scramble, before Mangan struck over a placed ball and grabbed a fine score from play. Then in the 40th minute St Catherine’s pounced for a critical score.
Colm Ahern flighted the ball forward which broke off full-forward Pa Roche and Conor Kearney bounded onto the loose ball, sprinted through and kept his composure to cleverly bat the ball to the net past Ballygarvan goalkeeper Micheál Ó Sé. With twenty minutes left, St Catherine’s had a hefty cushion on the scoreboard as they possessed a six-point advantage.
Ballygarvan faced an uphill battle given the nature of the conditions but they battled on. Kennefick, Mark O’Callaghan and James Browne attempted to ignite their revival yet St Catherine’s defended brilliantly with Conor Hegarty and Ronan Clancy anchoring their effort.
Mangan helped relieve the huge pressure St Catherine’s were under by registering a pair of points from placed ball with Kennefick and Browne hitting scores in reply for Ballygarvan. However, St Catherine’s had enough in reserve and they deprived Ballygarvan of any goalscoring opportunities to take the spoils.
Scorers for St Catherine’s: D Mangan 0-6 (3fs), C Kearney 1-1, C Ahern 0-2, B Mulcahy 0-1.
Scorers for Ballygarvan: L O’Sullivan 1-1, M Kennefick 0-3fs, J Browne 0-1.
ST CATHERINE’S: E Ahern; D Lane, C Hegarty, J Neville; W Walsh, R Clancy, S Kearney; S O’Brien, M Mulcahy; D Mangan, B Mulcahy, B Twomey; C Kearney, P Roche, C Ahern.
BALLYGARVAN: M O’Shea; P Seymour, J Browne, F Aherne; S Dunne, M O’Callaghan, L Hannigan; E Aherne, J Walsh; K Mannion, C Weir, J O’Halloran; D McCarthy, M Kennefick, L O’Sullivan.
Subs: J Naidoo for Dunne (ht), T O’Halloran for Walsh (42), K Quinlan for J O’Halloran (50).
Referee: E Sheehy (Newcestown).