AIB All-Ireland Club SHC Final
Portumna (Galway) 2-24
De La Salle (Waterford) 1-7
Two-goal ace Damien Hayes was among the many heroes for Portumna, as the Galway outfit captured their third AIB All-Ireland Club SHC title in four years at Croke Park on St. Patrick's Day.
Johnny Kelly's charges were in outstanding form as they romped to a comfortable 16-point victory over first time finalists De La Salle, in a game played in ideal conditions at GAA Headquarters.
Waterford ace John Mullane was held to just a single point in second half injury-time, as the De La Salle captain was well marshalled throughout.
Portumna signalled early intent as De La Salle's nerves began to show in the opening stages with Portumna full-back Eugene McEntee providing the unlikely source for the games opening score, with Joe Canning adding the Galway outfit's second point inside five minutes.
De La Salle midfielder Bryan Phelan managed to cut the deficit to a point soon after, but the first time Waterford and Munster champions weren't able to get any closer for the remainder of the contest, such was Portumna's skill and firepower.
A brace of Damien Hayes goals soon followed for the three-time title seekers, and this knocked the heart out of De La Salle who were firmly on the backfoot at the interval, as Portumna entered the dressing rooms at the interval with their heads held high holding on to a comfortable 2-11 to 0-3 advantage.
A second Bryan Phelan free and a score from half-back Darren Russell bringing the De La Salle tally to three points at that stage.
But like the spirited team they are De La Salle fought back tremendously in the second half, but with a mountain to climb having succumbed to an 11-point interval deficit it was always going to be tough for the men from the South East.
Portumna's defence was reasonably rock solid throughout apart from an uncharacteristic mistake by their goalkeeper Ivan Canning between the posts in the 40th minute, when half-forward Páidí Nevin pounced for De La Salle's lone goal.
Although Nevin's three-pointer gave De La Salle great confidence, Portumna were back at the races once more and although freetaker Joe Canning failed to score in the final 12 minutes, his magnificent nine-point haul (six frees) was enough to see Portumna over the finish line.
Afterwards Portumna captain Ollie Canning spoke of his delight with the victory.
"It's great to win a third All-Ireland title," Canning said. "We have had years of heartbreak before we won our first, but for players like Martin Dolphin today to win their first title it's a special day and one to remember for years to come."
PORTUMNA: I Canning; M Dolphin, E McEntee (0-1), O Canning; G Heagney, M Ryan (0-1), A O'Donnell; E Lynch (0-1), L Smith (0-1); N Hayes (0-5), K Hayes (0-1), A Smith (0-2); D Hayes (2-2), J Canning (0-9, 6f), C Ryan. Subs used: D Canning (0-1).
DE LA SALLE: S Brenner (0-1, 1pen); A Kelly, I Flynn, M Doherty; D Russell (0-1), K Moran, S Daniels; B Phelan (0-2, 2f), C Watt; P Nevin (1-0), J Mullane (0-1), L Hayes; D Twomey, D McGrath, D Greene. Subs used: T Kearney (0-2), J Quirke (0-1, 1f).
REFEREE: James McGrath (Westmeath)