Athenry surge

 

Athenry came from behind to win their fourth Galway senior hurling title at Ballinasloe yesterday.

About 8,000 watched the rematch, which was a better game than last week's draw. Both sides improved but Athenry were more settled.

Abbey-Duniry full forward Matty Kenny kicked over a point inside 30 seconds but Athenry fought back and led 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time.

Kenny and Joe Rabbitte exchanged points after the break before Abbey-Duniry scored four successive points and Kenny flicked the ball into the net for a questionable goal from a goal-mouth melee.

Athenry's Donal Moran was then brought down and Eugene Cloonan lashed the ball into the net from the 21-yard line. It proved to be the turning point of the game.

Abbey-Duniry's chance of victory escaped when Michael Crimmins deflected the shot of Kevin Broderick over the bar in spectacular fashion.

The dismissal of Declan Donnelly five minutes from time was a blow to Abbey-Duniry but it was an isolated incident in an otherwise sporting game.

The experience of Athenry was vital and they had great defenders in Gerry Keane, Brian Feeney, and man-of-the-match Paul Hardiman.

Brian Hanley was always on top at midfield, Eugene Cloonan was their top scorer, Donal Moran was most effective until injured and Joe Rabbitte caused a lot of damage in the second half.

For Abbey-Duniry, Liam Hodgins was a tower of stength, Noel Finnerty, Niall Shiel and Thomas Kavanagh were consistent, and the veteran Matty Kenny again emerged as their top scorer.

Athenry: M Crimmins; E Keogh, G Keane, J Feeney; B Higgins, B Feeney, P Hardiman; B Keogh (0-1), B Hanley (0-2); J Rabbitte (0-1), P Higgins, E Brady; C Moran (0-1), E Cloonan (1-6), D Moran (0-3). Subs: A Poniard (0-1) for D Moran; P Healy for Brady.

Abbey-Duniry: K Devine; K Finnerty, L Hodgins, V Kavanagh; N Finnerty, J Shiel, D Donnelly; G Lynch (0-1), N Shiel; PJ Kenny, T Kavanagh (0-2), D Power(0-1); K Broderick (0-3), M Kenny (1-5), PJ Madden. Subs: F Clarke for Lynch; M Shiel for Power.

Referee: J Cooney (Sarsfields).