Tag Archives: Abbeyside

And then there were four 2013

After the Lord Mayor’s Ball of  the Minors triumph – and don’t think that party is forgotten about as far as this blog is concerned – it’s the back-to-work hangover that is the county championship. For the second year running the defending champions were felled at the quarter-final stages, De La Salle’s exit giving a headache to those who blithely assumed that Michael Ryan’s uneasy abdication could be swiftly followed by the coronation by acclamation of Derek McGrath. All that is neither here nor there to me at the moment. This year has seen a renewed interest in the goings-on in Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Michael Mac Craith, and the presence of Barry Whelan suggests there might be life in Tramore hurling yet – an old friend of my brother who was at the linked Portlaw game was of the opinion that Tramore is inexorably becoming a hurling club, with more hurling teams at underage level than football teams. Until that day arrives though, my interest in the Senior county hurling title is purely academic. And by ‘academic’, I mean ‘riddled with prejudice’. In short, who should a supporter of the county team want to see win? As always, the criteria are:

  • how long have you waited? The longer the better. A string of close misses in the recent past helps
  • have you undergone a rapid rise from the Intermediate / Junior ranks?
  • a slight bias towards counties from way out West to counteract the perception that the city is too dominant
  • Mount Sion will always be last. If that ever changes, we’ll know Waterford hurling has undergone radical change

The semi-final lineup looks like this:

Ballygunner v Abbeyside
Passage v Mount Sion

With De La Salle out, the Big Two from the city loom large, winners of forty-seven titles between them and fifteen in the last twenty years.  The Monastery men may not be the force they once were but old habits die hard, not least when hearing the tale last Monday at the Minor homecoming from an Erins Own man who was my mother’s neighbour in Poleberry, of how certain members of their alone-it-once-stood Harty Cup win in 1953 were ringers (money quote – “I asked him when Clover Meats became eligible to play in the Harty Cup”). Yes, I realise it was a very long time ago and I really should grow up about such a story rather than getting a perverse delight in it. Still, I’m not in the humour to grow up just yet, and it’s not really a tie-breaking story. You’d want to be a right killjoy to be neutral and wish ill on Passage (county titles: 0). The same is true of the other semi-final. It has to be Abbeyside all the way (county hurling titles: 0). When you look at the spread of clubs represented in the Waterford team in Croke Park on Sunday week last, it would be an affirmation of the robust strength of hurling in the county should we have new names on the county cup.

Given the criteria established above, it would look like Abbeyside would be the favoured choice of the neutral. Since Lismore won the title in 1993 the trophy has only once gone out past mid-county, to Ballyduff Upper in 2007. It would be nice to see that rectified. However, there’s one caveat to that – football. Abbeyside have had plenty of success in the guise of Ballinacourty, and there’s no one telling me that they are different clubs. So let’s all hope and pray for a Passage win. And prayer is what they’ll need, for with my imprimatur they are surely doomed.

Abbeyside 2-11 (17) Dungarvan 0-16 (16) – Giveitfong’s view

(originally posted on boards.ie)

Abbeyside ground out a one-point win over luckless Dungarvan in Fraher Field last night to qualify for a quarter final against Fourmilewater with last year’s defeated county finalists now out of this year’s competition. This was a very similar game to last year’s draw between the same sides. Dungarvan were by far the more skillful team and were also well organised, playing to a clear game plan which involved working the ball out of defence with good stick passing to unmarked players.

There was little evidence to support recent reports that Abbeyside’s hurling has greatly improved this year. Their first touch was woeful, their striking and decision-making were frequently poor and their only game plan appeared to be to hit long ball to a forward line which, with the notable exception of Pudge Hurney, was absolutely toothless. Their legendary indiscipline was also very much in evidence, giving Dungarvan sharpshooter Patrick Curran plenty of opportunities to show off his skills (he converted eight frees in all). However, Curran will rue missing one straighforward free midway through the second half which possibly cost his side the game.

Ultimately Abbeyside’s victory can be put down to their superior physicality, good fighting spirit, a few excellent individual displays, and some good fortune.

The game was played in good conditions before as big a crowd as I have ever seen at a group stage championship game in Waterford. Abbeyside opened brightly enough, and led by three points to one after ten minutes. One of those points should have been a goal, with Pudge Hurney blazing over the bar from close range. Dungarvan then took over completely, with Kenny Moore marshalling the defence superbly and Jamie Nagle dominating a midfield. By the interval they were five points ahead, 0-9 to 0-4. Abbeyside did have their chances, but terrible shooting saw them racking up ten wides to Dungarvan’s four.

When Dungarvan added two quick points after half time to go seven ahead, the outlook looked bleak for Abbeyside. However, driven on by captain John Hurney and Maurice Power, they fought their way back into the game. They pulled a couple of points back and then Pudge Hurney gave them a lifeline, picking up a breaking ball and driving through the Dungarvan defence to shoot to the roof of the net. Then, with ten minutes left, they were awarded a dubious penalty when Gary Hurney grabbed a long ball in and went to ground in the Dungarvan goalmouth. Goalkeeper Stephen Enright came up to take the penalty which was poorly taken but somehow squeezed over the line off a defender’s hurley, to put the Villagers one point ahead.

This set the scene for a hectic seesaw finish. Dungarvan regained the lead, and it was point for point until Mark Gorman provided the winning point with an excellent point from out on the right sideline. There was further drama when referee Michael O’Brien rather harshly penalised Pudge Hurney for over carrying 35 yards out from the Abbeyside goal. Dungarvan had to get a goal to stay in the competition, and Abbeyside supporters no doubt were fearful of a repetition of the goal they conceded to Ballyduff in a similar situation in the county semi-final a few years ago. However, in attempting to find a way past the massed Abbeyside defenders, Jamie Nagle shot wide with the referee immediately blowing the final whistle.

Abbeyside: Stephen Enright (1-0, penalty); Shane O’Donovan; Seán O’Hare; John Power; Maurice Power; John Gorman; John Hurney; Richie Foley (0-1); David Collins; Gavin Breen; Gary Hurney; Mark Fives; Mark Ferncombe; Patrick Hurney (1-4); Mark Gorman (0-6, 5 frees). Subs: Shane Crotty for Breen; Michael O’Halloran for Crotty; Conor Hickey for Collins.

Dungarvan: Darren Duggan; Conor Sheridan; Kevin Daly; Karl Duggan; Shane Kearney; Kenny Moore; Seán Ryan; Ryan Donnelly; Jamie Nagle (0-1); Cormac Curran (0-3); Gavin Crotty (0-1); Eoin Healy; Patrick Curran (0-9, 8 frees); Colm Curran (0-1); Cathal Curran (0-1).

Oooh-ooh, halfway there!

Final score, Ballygunner v Mount Sion, October 2007

Quote of the month, if not the year, went to my dad on the train back from Dublin yesterday. Ten to eight, and already I was checking how Stan and the boys were doing against Germany at Croke Park. “Why are you bothering,” says he, “don’t you know it’ll be 0-0? Don’t you know it’ll be 0-0 in an hours time?” A comment born of his less-than-glowing attitude to soccer, but it was eerie in its presience. And what better way to ram home the point than to agree to accompany me to the replay between Mount Sion and Ballygunner, where it was most unlikely that the score was going to be 0-0 to 0-0.

Ballygunner v Mount Sion 1, October 2007

As it was, what transpired was only marginally more entertaining, as an astonishing three-goal salvo in the first ten minutes sunk the defending champions before they had even had a chance to raise the periscope to survey the danger. Each goal was more morale-sapping than the last, the first allowing the Ballygunner forward (no team sheet could be found) to waltz through the defence and score with a shot that Ian O’Regan in the Mount Sion goal really should have seen coming; the second seeing the Mount Sion defence going AWOL, the Gunners nearly screwing up as they had acres of time and space to walk the ball into the net; and the third from a free, a well-struck one but surely one Monastery man could have put a stick to it as there were enough on the line to form a scrum. When another speculative effort on goal from a free arrowed home – Ballygunner’s forward clearly spending his days well with The Master – the match was done and dusted.

Ballygunner v Mount Sion 2, October 2007

Having not been at a senior club match in all of eight years – the 1999 county final, when the Mount Sion juggernaut flattened Ballyduff Upper – this was a case of dipping my toes in the water. I can certainly see myself doing it again. The bone-juddering intensity of hurling is still there at the lower levels, even in a match as anti-climactic as this one was. So I’ll be back, in the sense of being back to Walsh Park, where it’s a case of short journey in, easy parking, no hassle getting a ticket or a seat (can’t have been more than a thousand at it) and a quick getaway at the end. Heading down to Dungarvan or even further afield for the Munster club championship, should we be in it? I don’t think so.

Ken McGrath free, Ballygunner v Mount Sion, October 2007

Speaking of Dungarvan, it is there that Ballygunner travel to play Lismore next weekend in the semi-final. As per previous comments. Lismore shall have my full support (in spirit). And should they fail, Ballyduff Upper shall have my full support, they having secured the honour of being my backup to slay the other head on the Waterford hurling Hydra that is Ballygunner by defeating Abbeyside in a nailbiter on Saturday night. Fingers crossed.

Three into one won’t go

The county championship is tortuously moving into the closing stages, and the only question worth asking is can anyone break the duopoly of Mount Sion and Ballygunner? The Big Two collide in the quarter-final today in Walsh Park, which should on the face of it improve the chances of one of the others winning out seeing as only one of them will be in the semi-final. I’m taking a glass-half-empty view of the whole thing though. I view them as being one and the same thing, and guaranteeing that one of them will be in the semi-final is, well, guaranteeing that one of them will be in the semi-final. Which is a bad thing. Better that both had had the opportunity of losing in the quarter-finals and ridding us of their tedious presence before the semi-finals.

As it is, Abbeyside and Ballyduff Upper are already in the semi-finals. Our thoughts and best wishes go with them and the winners of the Lismore and De La Salle match today. All of you, any of you would do!

Update: looks like it’s Mount Sion 2-12 Ballygunner 1-15. They’re zombies, keeping on coming back. Thankfully no Waterford team enters the Munster club championship until the 18th November but it’ll be no thanks to the Big Two and their local bun fight if we get in on time.

Update II: Lismore defeated De La Salle, 1-17 to 1-15, in the other quarter-final, two points in injury time snatching the victory for the westerners. You’ll never guess who got winning point, not in a million years . . .