Portumna claim hurling title

 

Portumna 2-8 Newtownshandrum 1-6: Portumna have beaten Newtownshandrum 2-8 to 1-6 in a scrappy exchange to claim the All-Ireland hurling club final at Croke Park.

Despite their semi-final routing of defending champions James Stephens in the semi-final, Portumna were not favoured by the bookies, who installed the men from Cork as firm favourites.

The Galway side weren’t listening, however, and opened proceedings with one of the most explosive starts seen in an All-Ireland final for many a year.

Great white hope, Joe Canning, lived up to the hype, opening the scoring against the run of play on three minutes with a confidently taken goal.

The 17-year-old’s strike seemed to inspire his side, as they began a period of sustained pressure on the Newtownshandrum goal. This persistence was paid off in the 7th minute by none other than Canning himself, adding another goal to what’s looking set to be quite the career haul.

Things then started to get a little scrappy as the Cork side tried to repel the Canning-inspired assault.

Portumna added another point within minutes before Newtownshandrum finally got on the scoreboard at the quarter hour.

Both sides then added another couple of points with Ben O’Connor attempting to emulate Canning, claiming all three of the Cork men’s scores.

Newtownshandrum rattled Portumna for the first time a few minutes later after a wonderful solo run from Gerry O’Connor ended in him finding the back of the Galway net with a sweet strike under pressure to take his team within a goal of the leaders.

The Cork side seemed more together in the second half, effectively disrupting what was clearly a very well planned Galway strategy.

The teams matched each other attack for attack and point for point for much of the period and, although the Cork side put it up to Jimmy Heverin’s men, they never looked like a side who thought they had it in them.

The writing was on the wall for Newtown when wing-back Pat Mulcahy was sent off for his second bookable offence on 57 minutes after lashing out at a grounded Niall Hayes in an off-the-ball incident. By that stage, Portumna were enjoying a 2-7 to 1-5 lead.

Portumna converted two points more than Newtownshandrum in the half and, despite the Cork side having a screaming shot blocked off the line at the death, it was the Galway men’s day as they became the fifth side from the city of the tribes to claim the title.

Scorers:

Portumna
: J Canning 1-06 (6f), N Hayes 1-00, D Hayes, L Smith 0-01 each.

Newtownshandrum: B O'Connor 0-04 (2f), J O'Connor 1-00, C Naughton 0-02.