Senior Hurling Championship Final 2016: Robert Emmetts vs. St Gabriels

posted 22 May 2017, 07:21 by Robert Emmetts PRO
16th October 2016
Robert Emmetts: 2-13
St Gabriels: 1-12

It was a tense opening, as is to be expected for a championship final, with sticks flying in the early exchanges. The result being a pointed free each. However our forwards were showing some potential - Bill Walsh was released by Tomás Lawrence inside the 14 but his shot, from a very tight angle, fizzed wide. Then Eoin Chawke, shielding the ball cleverly, allowed it to run into space, before gathering and delivering across the face of goal towards the onrushing Richie Murphy. The pass was inches beyond his fingertips. Then, Padge Buckley landed a big free deep into the Gabriel's half. The ball broke, with Daryl Roberts quickly snapping it up. A couple of deft sidesteps later he found a yard of space and let fly from just outside the 21, rifling the ball to the roof of the net. We seemed a bit jittery then though, and let a few decent chances slip through our fingers. We also started to give away frees, and the Gabs weren't making any mistake, and started chipping away at our lead. With about ten minutes gone we suffered a blow, losing Bill Walsh to a red card. Tomás Lawrence managed a nice score from play but at this stage the Gabriel's had managed to sneak a point ahead. They didn't manage to capitalise though, and, after a decent attack by us looked like it had broken down, the Gabriel's clearance was somehow blocked. Daryl picked up the break, and in a flash had the ball over at Eoin Chawke's feet just outside the 21. He whipped on it, driving it into the bottom corner of the goal and we were 2 points up again. That gave us the lift we needed, allowing us to weather the storm until half time. We went in a point up: 2-3 to 0-8.

We were still competing well but the scores, apart from the opportunism of the goals, just weren't really coming together for us, so the question of how we'd cope with a man down for another half an hour wasn't entirely settled. Still, we now had the hill and the breeze behind us.

A good start saw Eoin put another free on the board before there was another game changer. This time a St Gabriels player saw red. Now, with 25 mins to go, it was 14 on 14 and suddenly the pendulum started swinging back our way. Another free was landed by Eoin, then Daryl from play, while Denis O'Regan stole one from centre field giving us a 5 point cushion. Padge Buckley was landing puck outs on their 21 and we had several ball-winners in there - in particular Edmond Kenny and Richie Murphy, who either won or broke most of the balls that went in and we looked dangerous. However we still weren't putting every chance away and Gabriels were still just three behind with 15 mins to go. Our backs had looked very solid throughout, with Steven Griffey at full back and Paul Horkan centre forming a strong spine. There was, however, a hairy moment when one of the Gabriels forwards got onto a loose ball and went on the charge, unimpeded. He let fly just outside the 21 but somehow the ball whizzed past our goal and wide. We kept plugging away though - Cathal Kehoe came on and struck over a nice score to put us 5 up again. Then, with minutes to go, a misunderstanding in our full back line led to a breaking ball which was whipped to the net, suddenly making it a two point game. No panic though - Fergus McMahon, who had just come on wing back, picked up possession and showed some quick wrists to drive a pass at Kieran Morrissey in midfield. Another point. Then, after a big puck out, Kieran won a free, allowing Eoin to put us 4 ahead entering injury time. It was relief all around when the full-time whistle sounded shortly thereafter, and delight when Tadhg Healy, inspirational at wing-back, lifted the Harrell Cup on behalf of the club.