Stradbally back in contention as Brendan’s lose way

AFTER the disappointment of losing to arch rivals Nire a week earlier, Stradbally reinstated themselves as one of the favourites to lift the Waterford senior football championship title with a decisive 12-point victory over St Brendan’s at Leamybrien last night.

The group side — with players drawn from Newtown, Kill and Bonmahon — were expected to mount a major challenge in a game they had to win to keep their title hopes alive.

But they were outfought and outplayed just as comprehensively as Stradbally’s victory margin suggests, with the outcome a foregone conclusion long before the final whistle.

Playing against the wind, Stradbally delivered a near-fatal blow to St Brendan’s inside 60 seconds when George Walsh crashed the ball to the net after a fine move involving Stephen Cunningham and Tony Grey.

It could have got worse for the losers in the ninth minute but Waterford hurling captain Michael Brick Walsh blazed a penalty wide after Tommy Connors had been hauled down.

Walsh, injury-risk conscious with the All-Ireland qualifier against Antrim just six days off, was content to amble his way through the hour with colleagues all round him doing the donkey work and laying the foundations for victory.

Their 1-6 to 0-3 half-time lead left the winners firmly in the driving seat, and if St Brendan’s were still clinging to slender hopes of hauling themselves back into contention, they completely vanished within six minutes of the restart, when Niall Curran’s point and superb goal gave Stradbally an unassailable 2-7 to 0-3 lead.

Despite the best efforts of Mick Ahearne in the middle of the field, the St Brendan’s cause was now a lost one, and without ever having to move into top gear Stradbally comfortably eased to a win that virtually assures them of a place in the knock -out quarter-final stage.

There was a moment of magic still to come, when the winners scored their third goal in the 42nd minute.

Impressive wing forward Connors left three defenders in his wake and beautifully lobbed advancing goalkeeper Tom Wall for the goal of the championship so far.

Scorers for Stradbally: N Curran (1-6); T Connors (1-1); G Walsh (1-0); S Cunningham (0-2); T Grey, J Coffey (0-1) each.

Scorers for St Brendan’s: R Hennessey (0-2); R Walsh, M Ahearne, M Hennessey, N Hennessey, P Casey, M Scurry (0-1) each.

STRADBALLY: E Cunningham; P Doyle, K Coffey, T Walsh; T Grey, S Lannon, T Costelloe; J Hearne, M Walsh; J Coffey, S Ahearne, T Connors; N Curran, S Cunningham, G Walsh.

Subs: R Ahearne for G Walsh; T Curran for Cunningham; O Costelloe for S Ahearne; E Cummins for Grey.

ST BRENDAN’S: T Wall; B Mooney, G Hayes, F Whelan; N Hennessey, P Casey, G Dunphy; M Ahearne, M Hennessey; T Power, R Hennessey, D Casey; R Kirwan, A Kiely, R Walsh.

Subs: C Hennessey for Kirwan; M Scurry for C Hennessey; J Fitzgerald for Mooney.

Referee: J Condon (Ring).


Lifestyle

Orlagh Kelly owns The Reading Room bookshop on Main Street in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim.We sell books: The Reading Room - ‘Small bookshops, curated by people who care, make a difference’

As Stockton’s Wing release a retrospective album, Mike Hanrahan tells Donal O’Keeffe about getting back on the road, and his love of cookingStill a beautiful affair: Mike Hanrahan talks about getting back on the road with Stockton's Wing

An ongoing cull is resulting in a major reduction in the deer population in one of the country’s most visited natural attractions.Donal Hickey: Deer birth patterns evolving

A Courtmacsherry neighbour, Kathy Gannon tells me that when the tide is out, the vast acres of clean, grey mud of the bay reflect the sun in splendour in the clear, sharp air.Damien Enright: ‘How enchanting for humanity that we have birds’

More From The Irish Examiner