Warwickshire claim first ever Lory Meagher Cup title

Warwickshire 2-16 Longford 0-10, Croke Park

Warwickshire claim first ever Lory Meagher Cup title

Warwickshire 2-16 Longford 0-10, Croke Park

Sean Hennessy scored six points as Warwickshire claimed their first ever Lory Meagher Cup title at Croke Park this afternoon.

Stephen Ahern's well-drileld side were impressive throughout, holding Longford scoreless in the closing 29 minutes as they emerged as 12-point winners.

Longford struggled in the opening quarter as the Exiles showed that they were keen on repeating their victory over the midlanders from the first round in the competition.

Ahern's men led by 0-5 to 0-1 after six minutes with Clare native Enda Lyons, Patrick Duggan, Laois' Michael Bermingham and Hennessy all on target.

Longford relied heavily on the free-taking accuracy of Eoin Donnellan during the opening half, with their goal-scoring efforts being kept well out by a resolute Warwickshire defence.

Warwickshire goalkeeper Tom Goulding denied Joe O'Brien in the 13th minute, blocking a powerful shot from the Longford captain.

At the opposite end Warwickshire were also hungry for goals. Full-forward Duggan sliced through at the end of the first quarter but Éanna Daly sent the ball out for a 65'.

Warwickshire held huge dominance in the midfield sector with Bermingham and Conor Robbins outstanding, and some good work in this area helped contribute to the only goal of the opening half.

The Exiles won possession in the middle from a puck-out after Longford's fifth wide of the match. Lyons cut through to leave the Longford defence in his wake and he slotted past Daly to put Warwickshire 1-8 to 0-3 in front after 22 minutes.

O'Brien and Bermingham traded long range points before Longford hit a purple patch.

Frank Browne's charges upped their game, with Eoin Donnellan impressive from dead balls. Indeed, the Wolfe Tones clubman's 30th-minute shot became the first hurling effort to be judged by the GAA's new Hawk-Eye score detection system.

The umpire had initially ruled the 65-metre free as a point, but Hawk-Eye detected a miss and so the score remained at 1-9 to 0-6 approaching half-time.

Longford had the better finish to the half, with Donnellan bringing his tally to five points by the interval, but Warwickshire led by 1-9 to 0-8 at the break.

Donnellan cut the gap to a goal on two occasions inside six minutes of the restart, but Warwickshire continued to defend strongly.

Led by captain Conal Maskey, the Exiles were solid with Chris Brough and Eamon Gleeson also standing out at the back.

Longford were held scoreless from the 41st minute until the end, as Warwickshire took firm control of this game.

Longford's woes were compounded late on when they leaked a 68th minute goal to Eamon Gleeson. The centre back's speculative long range effort found the back of the Longford net after 'keeper Daly misjudged the flight of the ball.

Warwickshire sealed victory with an injury-time point from Lyons. After the game GAA President Liam O'Neill said it was his great pleasure to present the cup to Conall Maskey, the Warwickshire captain.

Scorers - Warwickshire: S Hennessy 0-6, E Lyons 1-3, E Gleeson 1-1, P Duggan, M Bermingham 0-2 each, C Robbins, A Morrissey 0-1 each

Longford: E Donnellan 0-7, J O'Brien 0-2, E Daly 0-1

WARWICKSHIRE: T Goulding; B Bermingham, L Knocker, C Brough; C Maskey, E Glesson, D Kennedy; M Bermingham, C Robbins; S Hennessey, A O'Neill, C Behan; E Lyons, P Duggan, A Morrissey.

Subs used: R McEntee for O'Neill (49 mins), S Wallace for Kennedy (54), E McCabe for Robbins (59), D Kennedy for Bermingham (61), D Sheehy for Behan (68), D Kelly for Morrissey (69).

LONGFORD: E Daly; P McGarry, T Stakem, B Stakem; C Egan, T Roche, D Corcoran; C Finucane, R Donnellan; E Donnellan, K Conneely, D Tanner; K Murray, J Newman, J O'Brien.

Subs used: M Coyle for R Donnellan (21 mins), M Farrell for Newman (47), G Moore for McGarry (70), K Cox for Corcoran, R Breslin for Murray (both 70+1).

Referee: Liam McAuley (Antrim)

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