Looking at this final score, it is hard to believe that, after just ten minutes, Abbeyside led by no less than nine points, 2-5 to 0-2. They got off to a brilliant start, with Mark Ferncombe and Mark Gorman getting on the end of defence-splitting passing moves to fire to the net in the first five minutes. However, playing against the wind, Lismore clawed their way back into the game, with Maurice Shanahan giving them a lifeline with a goal from a 20 metre free after 20 minutes. At the other end, Abbeyside missed some very straightforward chances, including two Richie Foley frees and a bad miss by Podsie Hurney who allowed Brendan Landers to deflect his point-blank shot from close range over the bar. Then, with virtually the last puck of the half, Maurice Shanahan flashed the ball to the net from close range after an Abbeyside defender failed to clear his lines, leaving the half-time score Abbeyside 2-10 Lismore 2-7.
Playing with the wind in the second half, Lismore quickly reduced the deficit to the minimum, but then the game went through a 15-minute spell without a score at either end before Lismore finally equalised. Abbeyside, who continued to miss easy chances, then regained the initiative before being rocked back by a blistering shot to the net from John Prendergast following an excellent crossfield ball by Stephen O’Keeffe. Lismore followed up with another well-crafted goal by John Heneghan, and whatever chance Abbeyside had of getting back into the game was lost when Mark Ferncombe missed an absolute sitter from the edge of the square. In the closing stages the Cathedral Town men put the icing on the cake when substitute Dave Bennett billowed the net having been set up by Dan Shanahan.
Following this game one was left wondering again at the shabby treatment meted out to Maurice Shanahan by Davy Fitzgerald over the last two years – treatment which may have been very costly indeed for Waterford’s hurling fortunes. In this game he was absolutely heroic, repeatedly winning the ball and carrying the game to Abbeyside. Despite receiving some heavy treatment, he ended up with a scoring tally of 2-5, and was involved in virtually every Lismore attack of note. Another key feature of the game was the superb catching and striking of young Paudie Prendergast, who lined out at centre back despite wearing No. 13.
The standard of hurling in this game was generally quite good, but Lismore’s ability to win primary possession and their greater desire, coupled with Abbeyside’s bad shooting, made them very deserving winners in the end. I think it was Dave Bennett who got the super point near the end which Mountain Lad attributed to Paul Fennessy.
Lismore: Brendan Landers; Eoin Bennett; David O’Gorman; Shane Heaphy; Shane Kearney; Paudie Prendergast; Shane Bennett (0-1); John Prendergast (1-2); Ray Barry (0-1); Stephen O’Keeffe (0-1); David Howard; Maurice Shanahan (2-5, 1-2 frees); Peter O’Keeffe (0-1); Dan Shanahan (0-1); John Heneghan (1-1). Sub used: Dave Bennett (1-1).
Abbeyside: Daryl Ryan; Gavin Breen; Shane Briggs; Maurice Power; John Phelan; John Hurney; Eoin Enright; Seán O’Hare; James O’Mahoney; Gary Hurney (0-2); Richie Foley (0-3, 2 frees); Patrick Hurney (0-1); Mark Gorman (1-2, 2 frees); Mark Fives (0-2); Mark Ferncombe (1-3). Sub used: Patrick Lynch