Dicksboro come out on top in Kilkenny hurling final
In a SHC final thriller, the Boro netted four times to beat city rivals James Stephens
Dicksboro 4-15 James Stephens 4-10
They have delivered impressive performances all year, but Dicksboro saved their best for last as they powered their way to the Kilkenny senior hurling crown.
The boys from the Boro gave a five-star scoring display as they beat city rivals James Stephens to get their hands on the Walsh Cup for the fifth time.
The game was a lively affair throughout. After a blistering start from both sides, it was Dicksboro who raced into a lead they would not give up. It took them just three minutes to find the net, Bill Sheehan picking off a teasing Ollie Walsh cross before squeezing it in at the back post.
The Village response was swift, Mikey Drennan rattling off two impressive long-range points in quick succession, but Dicksboro built on their early momentum to drive on, Shane Stapleton converting two frees in a matter of minutes.
When Stapleton grabbed his third free it pushed Dicksboro three points clear after 12 minutes (1-4 to 0-4) but James Stephens roared back. Matthew Ruth picked off the resulting puck-out, then soloed through before picking out Luke Scanlon, who rifled the sliotar home from the tightest angle out on the left.
Rather than fold, the Boro raised their game. Oisin Gough brought a superb save from Derrick Brennan with a dangerous shot, then punished the Village when he fired home the sliotar at the second attempt after they failed to clear their lines.
They kept that charge going, stretching further in front with points from Stapleton (free), Thomas Kenny, Martin Gaffney and Sheehan. By the 19th minute they were eight points in front (2-9 to 1-4). Better was to follow, as Gough netted his second goal following good work from Stapleton and Eoin Gough, before Aidan Nolan broke from the half-back line to add his name to the scoresheet.
At that stage it looked like Dicksboro would cruise to victory, but James Stephens had other ideas. David Walton helped himself to a clever goal on 23 minutes, flicking the sliotar to the net from the edge of the square, before Tadhg Dwyer bagged another three minutes later. That blast helped cut the gap to six at half-time.
The tempo of the game dipped in the second half, but not the intensity. James Stephens gave their all as they tried to reel in their rivals, but a Dicksboro defence well marshalled by Cillian Buckley helped keep that interval cushion between the sides. They added a fourth goal for good measure, Martin Gaffney drilling an unstoppable shot past Brennan on 42 minutes, but ‘Stephens replied with a like score from Matthew Ruth to stay in the hunt.
The Village didn’t let up, picking off three late points through Walton frees, but Bill Sheehan and Paul O’Flynn landed the insurance scores that helped Dicksboro end their 24-year wait for the title. They now face a Leinster championship meeting with Dublin’s Cuala next week.
Dicksboro: D Holohan; C Doheny, E Cody, M Fagan; T Kenny (0-1), C Buckley, A Nolan (0-1); O Walsh (capt) (0-2), R Fitzpatrick (0-1); E Gough, S Stapleton (0-5), R Murphy; M Gaffney (1-1), O Gough (2-0), B Sheehan (1-3).
Subs: S Farrell for O Gough (46), K Kenny for Murphy (52), P O’Flynn (0-1) for Gaffney (58), E O’Donoghue for O Gough (60).
James Stephens: D Brennan; N Delaney, D Cody, T Keogh; D Hennessy, J Tyrrell, S Donohoe; C Browne, E Larkin; N Mullins, M Ruth (1-1), M Drennan (0-2); T Dwyer (1-1), L Scanlon (1-1), D Walton (1-5).
Subs: J McGrath for Hennessy (31); M McWey for Drennan (48).
Referee: Michael O’Sullivan (Ballyhale).