Yesterday afternoon’s 19-point hammering of Ballybrown was the most one-sided Limerick senior hurling final since the Patrickswell class of 1970 held Kilmallock to just two points.
The manner of this latest victory, or indeed the final scoreline, was of little significance to the ‘Well’s current crop as they celebrated at the final whistle.
Solely concerning them was that the club’s 13-year wait for senior glory had been ended.
The win moves Patrickswell to the top of the local roll of honour with Ahane - both clubs boast 19 titles – while also extending their dominance over Ballybrown on county final afternoon. Yesterday’s contest marked the fourth occasion the two clubs, who are pulled from the one parish, had locked horns on the concluding afternoon of the Limerick championship. And just as was the case in 1983, ’87 and ’95, the ‘Well had too much for the team next door.
For 39-year old midfielder Barry Foley, there was a seventh county medal to celebrate. He pocketed his first in the autumn of 1993.
Perfectly capturing his longevity in the blue and gold jersey is that many of his current team-mates, including top-scorers Cian Lynch, Aaron Gillane and centre-back Diarmuid Byrnes, were not even born on that successful afternoon 23-years ago.
Indeed, it was Foley’s first point of the afternoon on 44 minutes which completed the scoring contribution of the front eight.
Moreover, it was the seventh in a string of unanswered points which saw Gary Kirby’s charges outscore their opponents by 0-9 to 0-1 upon the resumption.
With the scoreboard reading 1-19 to 0-7, it was game over. In truth, this contest had long since been decided.
Returning back down the tunnel to the right of the Mackey Stand for the interval break, Patrickswell had moved a good deal closer to bridging their 13-year wait. 1-10 to 0-5 they led.
Their advantage was largely born out of Ballybrown’s dreadful inefficiency in front of goal – Evan Loftus’ charges finished the opening period with 12 wides.
Crucial too in the establishment of daylight between the sides was the ‘Well’s unanswered 1-4 between the seventh and 14th minute. With Stephen Foster and Alan O’Connor having cancelled out early scores from Lynch and Gillane, Gary Kirby’s side returned to the front with points from Diarmuid Byrnes (0-2, 0-1 ’65), Thomas O’Brien and Lynch.
On 14 minutes, the favourites sped further clear. Thomas O’Brien gathered Mark Carmody’s delivery into the right corner, offloaded to Lar Considine who pulled the sliotar across the square where the unmarked Kevin O’Brien was left with the simplest of finishes.
Kyle Loftus and Alan O’Connor split the posts in the ensuing passages to pare the margin back to five.
But that was the beginning and end of the Ballybrown comeback. If you could even call that.
Jack Kelleher, Gillane (free), Thomas O’Brien and the lively Lynch swelled their tally before the break and it was more of the same in the second period.
For Ballybrown, their first-half shooting and collective failure to reappear for the second period will hurt most during the quiet winter months. Loftus’ troops managed a meagre 1-2 in the closing 35 minutes of action, with Stephen Foster shooting a 50th minute consolation goal.
A Gillane (0-7, 0-5 frees); D Byrnes (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); C Lynch (0-3); K O’Brien (1-0); S O’Brien, J Kelleher, B Foley, T O’Brien (0-2 each); M Carmody, L Considine (0-1 each).
S Foster (1-1); A O’Connor (0-4, 0-3 frees); L Doolan, K Loftus (0-1 each).
B Murray; N Carmody, J Mann, T Nolan; M Carmody, D Byrnes, N Foley; B Foley, J Kelleher; A Gillane, S O’Brien, C Lynch; T O’Brien, K O’Brien, L Considine.
J Flynn for Nolan (56 mins); P Harty for S O’Brien (56); A Carroll for Considine (56); D Woulfe for K O’Brien (58); K Dundon for N Carmody (58).
C Hedderman; L Doran, M Kiely, S O’Reilly; J Adams, R Kenny, D Kenny; S Kenny, S Foster; R Griffin, L Doolan, B Griffin; D Hall, K Loftus, A O’Connor.
M Sheehan for Hall (41 mins); A Cliffe for Doolan (41 mins); J Hall for Griffin (48); D Hartnett for Adams (55).
J Mullins (St Kieran’s).