15th April 2005  1st Round
Stradbally goals prove decisive
Stradbally . . . 2-5; Rathgormack . . . 1-6
The is an old saying that `wilfull waste makes woeful want' and that is exactly what Rathgormack folk must have believed as they travelled home from Leamybrien on Friday evening last.
The men from the Comeragh had enjoyed a huge amount of possession in this first round Senior Football Championship decider but still they came out on the wrong end of a 2-5 to 1-6 scoreline against holders Stradbally.
The pity was that a hugely entertaining game was witness to only a couple of hundred fans. The pitch was in excellent condition and the lovely mild spring evening made conditions right for a terrific game of football and we were not disappointed.
Stradbally are a team who have gone the course for the last four years and it showed in their ability to poach the scores at the right time. A goal early in the game allied to a goal in the final ten minutes had a huge bearing on the result and in the end it was this ability of the Stradbally forwards to create scores even with a limited amount of ball that earned them the day.
Terrific start
Rathgormack elected to play with whatever breeze there was and within thirty seconds had the Stradbally defence breached as Richie Power and Frannie Halpin opened the way for Paddy Crotty but his effort was wide. This was the first of at least six opportunities from scoreable positions that Rathgormack wasted.
A foul on hurling star Michael "Brick" Walsh and Niall Curran pointed from 20 metres. Within a minute Frannie Halpin's effort was short and cleared by Stradbally custodian Eoin Cunningham. Stradbally moved quickly upfield and the afforementioned "Brick" put Niall Curran through on goal. Despite a magnificent save by Declan Power, the ball was bundled over the line by centre forward Ger Power.
A free to Rathgormack out wide on the right and fifty metres from goal was sent over by Edmond Hogan. Two minutes later and "man of the match" Michael Crotty was just wide after a terrific run and similarly Paddy Crotty was wide with an effort a minute later. Rathgormack midfielder Paul Power was booked for persistent fouling but from the resultant clearance Richie power and Ed Hogan combined for Stephen Kavanagh but his effort was wide.
The wide count was mounting for Rathgormack and somehow one felt that they would rue these missed chances. Another wide folowed in the 12th minute as again Michael Crotty raced through the Stradbally defence.
Terrific effort
This was a terrific effort from Rathgormack as they harried and chased down their illustrious opponents for every ball. A point from an Ed Hogan free in the 15th minute closed the gap to just two points 1-1 to 0-2. Ger Walsh was ticked for a foul after the whistle had gone and Michael Crotty received likewise from the referee a minute later.
In the 22nd minute Edmond Hogan gave another display of outstanding free taking as he pointed from 45 metres to reduce the lead to a point. Superb tackling by Noel Murray denied Niall Curran before a magnificent solo run from "Brick" Walsh put Niall Curran in for a point.
The final action of the half however saw Richie Power win possession and release Edmond Hogan. The Stradbally man had no choice but to foul the Rathgormack full forward and he duly pointed the free to leave the minimum between the sides as John Michael Kelly blew for halftime.
Constant Rathgormack pressure
It is certain the Rathgormack mentors were absolutely delighted with the way their charges had carried the fight to the champions in the opening thirty minutes. They had played better that they had done over the last number of years and must have seen this as the ideal chance to put one over their arch rivals.
The opening minute of the second half saw Paul Power penalised for overcarrying but Trevor Costello was just outside the upright with the free. Richie Power then saw a shot deflected wide by the Stradbally defence but again John Kirwan was wide with the 45 metre free.
The score of the game came in the third minute of the half as John Hearne and "Brick" Walsh combined in a magnificent passing movement before the latter pointed. Within a minute however, another Michael Crotty run ended with Richie Power pointing from play. Again only the minimum seperated the sides 1-3 to 0-5.
In the 35 th minute an ever alert Trevor Costello spotted Stephen Cunningham with a quick free and the Stradbally forward pointed beautifully with the outside of the right boot. A foul on the ever influential but Ed Hogan was wide with the thirty metre free. Both Ger Power and Dan Crotty were booked before Ed Hogan pointed a free from 35 metres after Crotty was again fouled.
Martin Whelan replaced John Kirwan in the Rathgormack attack. Richie Power was booked for a late tackle. However a minute later he combined with Ed Hogan to put Martin Kirwan through but the effort was again wide. Stradbally brought Trevor Curran into the fray to replace Shane Lannon. Rathgormack were getting the chances to later rue as the game turned on its head in the 50th minute.
A long delivery by Niall Curran appeared to be safely defended by the Rathgormack backs but somehow or other George Walsh got a touch to the ball and it ended in the back of Declan Power's goal. Four points now between the sides 2-4 to 0-6 with just ten minutes on the clock.
Laid siege
It was time for Rathgormack to stand up and be counted and this they certainly did as they laid siege on the Stradbally goal. They came thundering forward. A neat one two between Martin Whelan and Edmond Hogan and Stephen Kavanagh goaled. The spring was back in the Rathgormack step. A foul on Denis Hassett but Ed Hogan was wide from thirty metres. A foul on Frannie Halpin in the 55th minute but Ed Hogan was again wide with a free from 20 metres. The chances were there for Rathgormack but they were not taking them.
In the dying minutes Stradbally did get upfield and a free from Niall Curran from 40 metres split the posts. Now leading 2-5 to 1-6 Stradbally knew that time was on their side. Vinny Murray replaced Paddy Crotty in the Rathgormack attack. The opportunity was not there for Rathgormack as Stradbally held on after one titanic struggle.
Manager Sean Aherne will be relieved to get this one out of the way but he will be only too aware that a huge improvement will be required if the Reds are to claim that magnificent five in a row titles.
Stradbally will of course improve and nobody knows that better than themselves. For their part rathgormack will play an awful lot worse and win games. This was a huge outing for them and mark my words they are still a very formidable outfit who might just be there at the death.
Stradbally; Eoin Cunningham, Emmett Cunningham, John Halpin, Tomas Walsh, Oliver Costello, Trevor Costello, Denis Doyle, John Hearne, George Walsh, Stephen Cunningham, Ger Power, John Coffey, Niall Curran, Michael, Walsh, Shane Lannon. SubsTrevor Curran for Shane Lannon.
Rathgormack; Declan Power, Dan Crotty, Ger Power, Noel Murray, Michael Crotty, Denis Hssett, Mark Mears, Richie Power, Paul Power, John Kirwan, Stephen Kavanagh, Joe Murray, Paddy Crotty, Edmond Hogan, Frannie Halpin. Subs; Marin Whelan for John Kirwan, Vinny Murray for Paddy Crotty.

7th August 2005 2nd Round 4 months later
Champions prevail after first half scare
Stradbally . . . 0-10; Clashmore . . . 1-4
Undisputed Lawlors Hotel County Senior Football Champions for the past four seasons, Stradbally had to call on all their undoubted skill and experience to extricate themselves from this tricky second round confrontation with Clashmore at sun scorched Fraher Field, Dungarvan on Sunday afternoon last, the Taysiders coming with a late second half surge after playing second fiddle for most of the opening half and most fortunate to be only two points adrift at the half way stage to a most enthusiast Clashmore who compared to last season, have come on in leaps and bounds.
The challengers made a terrific start to their quest to upset the form book and were a goal to the good inside two minutes, and they might even have got a second major shortly afterwards. Indeed the exciting play of Clashmore certainly made it worth the entrance money alone - they moved the ball quite freely and intelligently and had their first quarter possession been turned into more adequate scores, Stradbally would surely have found it exceedingly more difficult to come back in the manner in which they did.
By the end of the first quarter, the challengers had gained a thoroughly deserved six points lead (1-3 to no score), and had shot five inexplicably bad wides during the same period. What was even more difficult to fathom Stradbally never once seriously threatened during the same period and their first wide of the afternoon didn't arrive until the game's 18th minute ,
Gradually however, Clashmore started to take their foot off the pedal, particularly after the champions moved Ger Power to the troublesome midfield area and the challengers well dried up entirely during the last thirteen minutes of the first half, when they failed utterly to add to their earlier scoring tally of a goal and three points. The Taysiders realising the danger quickly changed their tactics - more direct supply of the ball commenced to reap dividends and three unanswered points in the last eight minutes per Niall Curran (two) and the afore mentioned Ger Power, and under all the circumstances a half time deficit situation of 1-3 to 0-4, looked far from intimidating for the champions as the teams went into recess.
Another obstacle
It took Stradbally less than three minutes to force equality on the restart - an immediate break and free from the throw in, enabled Niall Curran to land his third match point and he repeated the process two minutes later to bring about equality for the first time. Stephen Barron wasn't having the same degree of luck at the opposite end and he was also wide from open play as well. Eventually in the game's 38th minute, the Taysiders took the lead for the first time and while it was John Coffey who created the opening, Michael Walsh got the final touch for his team's seventh white flag. To their credit, Clashmore came again with a flourish and this time Stephen Barron from a placed position found the range with an excellent 40th minute levelling point.The challengers next forced the first "45" of the match - it was a fruitless effort after Declan Barron's delivery had been blocked, he failed badly from the rebound to put his side in front.
Saw red
The game had just entered its fourth and final quarter, when a fisted effort from the industrious John Coffey put Stradbally back in front for the last time, but eight minutes later and at a time when they should have completely wrapped it to their complete satisfaction, they found themselves reduced to fourteen players following the dismissal of John Hearne (red card), following a hard tackle on an opponent. A minute later the winners Stephen Cunningham who had their opening first half point in the 20th minute, came up with the point of the match to really put the outcome beyond any lingering doubt and for good measure Ger Power came up with another Stradbally point to make their eventual three points victory necessary. Clashmore tried all they knew to save their cause, and they did succeed in mounting a number of attacks in the closing minutes, but their earlier exuberance had by now long since waned and the champions held on for a deserved win.
Final score again - Stradbally 0-10; Clashmore 1-4 .
Sufficient to requirements
So Stradbally remain firmly on course for a possible fifth senior championship title winning feat - they never appeared unduly ruffled when Clashmore pressure was at it's greatest during the opening quarter - they stayed resolutely with their task - started to pick off their scores late in the first half and really under lined their superiority in the second half. Their rearranged defence seldom put a foot wrong after the challengers early goal and it was a promising senior debut for minor Shane Lannon at full back. Emmett Cummins, Trevor Costelloe and Tony Grey also played well in the defensive department, but the real stars - most notably Ger Power, John Coffey, Stephen Cunningham, Michael Walsh and Niall Curran were to be found elsewhere.
This was a splendid and encouraging performance from the Clashmore outfit and they will surely make matters exceedingly difficult for any side they now encounter in the losers section - they are not by any manner of means out of the championship reckoning yet, and in the knowledge that titles have been won from the consolation groupings in the past, their season is far from over. One was impressed in particular by the quality football of Kieran and Padraig Connery, Killian O'Keeffe, Mark Power, Sean Fleming, Jason Seaward and Stephen Barron, but an injury sustained by anchor man Karl O'Keeffe made him a virtual passenger for all of the second half.
Stradbally:- Niall Curran 0-4, Stephen Cunningham, Ger Power 0-2 each, John Coffey and Michael Walsh 0-1 each.
Clashmore:- Brian O'Neill 1-0, K.O'Keeffe, Sean Fleming, Padraig O'Rourke and Stephen Barron 0-1.
Stradbally:- Eoin Cunningham, Emmett Cummins, Thomas Walsh, Tony Grey, Trevor Costelloe, Denis Doyle, John Hearne, Michael Walsh, Stephen Cunningham, Ger Power, John Coffey, Niall Curran, George Walsh, Trevor Curran. Sub - S. Lawlor for T. Curran.
Clashmore:- Declan Hickey, Padraig Connery, Jason Seward, Eddie Beresford, Philip Dee, Kieran Connery, Barry Dunne, Stephen Barron, Karl O'Keeffe, Padraig O'Rourke, Mark Power, Declan Allen, Sean Fleming, Killian O'Keeffe, Brian O'Neill. Subs - Kevin Dunne for P. Dee; Michael Fenton for D. Allen; Brian Dunne for P. O'Rourke.
Ref - Tadgh O Broin (Rogha Eireann).

4th Sept 2005  Quarter Final
Champions come through hectic local derby encounter
Stradbally 0-7; Ballinacourty 0-4
County champions Stradbally took another important step towards an historic five-in-a-row when they came through a fiercely contested local derby encounter with Ballinacourty at Dungarvan's Fraher Field on Sunday evening last with three points to spare.
The first half exchanges were hectic as both teams fought like tigers for every single kick of the ball in a low scoring opening half. The champions were without the services of the sterling midfield dynamo John Hearne while Ballinacourty were short three players who lined out against Nire when they lost by 1-11 to 1-05 due to injuries to Gavin Breen, Shane Briggs and Peter Phelan.
John Gorman pointed frees in the 1st and 3rd minutes with Niall Curren on target from a free in the 9th minute. Ger Power got in to fist the ball over the bar for the equaliser in the 14th minute to make it 0-02 all at the interval.
On the turnover, Stradbally, playing into the road goal, dominated the exchanges yet they kicked four wides before Tony Grey put them in front in the 36th minute. Niall Curran was on target from a 38th minute free and Michael Walsh pointed another free in the 40th minute while Trevor Curran fisted their sixth point in the 45th minute (0-06 to 0-02).
In the 47th minute came the most crucial moment of this hard fought contest, when Gary Hurney's shot was blocked and the incoming Mark Gorman's volley on the rebounding ball saw it rocketing towards the corner of the champions net when a Stradbally hand diverted the ball outside the upright for a '45 which John Gorman duly pointed (0-06 to 0-03).
Michael Walsh scored a magnificent point from play to give the champions some breathing space 0-07 to 0-03 in the 50th minute. John Gorman pointed a 58th minute free to narrow the gap to three points again 0-07 to 0-04.
In the final minutes the champions' defence held firm to duly advance to a place in the semi-final stages of this year's championship.
Stradbally will unquestionably benefit from coming through such a hard fought contest. In the final analysis the steadiness under pressure of such players as Kevin Coffey, Trevor Costello, John Coffey, Michael Walsh, Stephen Cunningham, Ger Power and Niall Curran saw them safely through here.
All seven members of Ballinacourty's defence were rock solid. John Hurney, veteran Ian Kiely and Gary Hurney all caught the eye with young John Gorman converting four efforts from placed balls out of five.
Stradbally: E.Cunningham, E.Cummins, K.Coffey, T.Walsh, O.Costello, T.Costello, S.Lannon, J.Coffey, M.Walsh(0-2), S.Cunningham, G.Power(0-1), T.Grey(0-1), N.Curran(0-2), G.Walsh, P.Weldon. Sub: T.Curran (0-1) for P.Weldon.
Ballinacourty: A.Landers, P.Lynch, J.Phelan, M.Lavan, J.Kindregan, L.Hurney, M.Fives, L.Kiely, J.Hurney, D.Cliffe, G.Hurney, J.Foley, M.Gorman, P.Hurney, J.Gorman (0-4) Subs: P.Phelan for J.Foley, M.Ferncombe for D.Cliffe.
Referee: Tommy O'Sullivan (Affane/Cappoquin)

23rd October 2005 Semi Final
Champions were pushed every yard of the way
Stradbally . . . 1-10; Gaultier . . . 0-11
The gods smiled kindly for reigning champions Stradbally as they faced up to the exceedingly stiff challenge presented by Gaultier in last Sunday's eagerly awaited Lawlor's Hotel County Senior Football Championship semi final played amid heavy over head and underfoot conditions at Walsh Park. At the end of a highly entertaining and super charged hour's football, the winners bidding for five title wins in a row, most assuredly had to look to their laurels, and at the end of the day must consider themselves mighty fortunate to be still in the hunt, for not only should Gaultier who scorned at least two gilt edged goal scoring chances in the closing stages, deserved at least to salvage a second chance, their second half performance was surely the best seen in the county this year but it all goes down to a learning process, as the more experienced Taysiders rallied magnificently just when it seemed that the challengers would prevail, and as a result booked their place in the Final against Nire at Fraher Field on Sunday week next, November 13th.
Credit to both
This was a championship showdown packed with all sorts of extraordinary features, not least being the fact that despite testing conditions, this was a contest played in an exemplary manner from start to finish and both teams along with referee Stan Flynn are to be highly commended on their efforts. Right from the throw in this penultimate affair sparkled despite the inclement weather and the urgency attached to possession and indeed every flight of the ball.
The champions who have been tested in all their previous games in the championship looked up for this one right from the very start. Niall Curran's failure to convert a second minute free was amply compensated for a minute later when the industrious Stephen Cunningham set up Ger Power for a peach of a goal and the "reds" had the sort of start their mentors had wished for before hand. Niall Curran atoned for his earlier miss by landing a great point from play in the 5th minute, that could just as easily have been a second goal for his side.
Even though Stradbally appeared to be calling the shots from the beginning, Gaultier never lost their composure and it was no more than their due when one of their several early sorties paid off in the 8th minute - both Paul Fitzgerald and Gearoid O'Connor creating the situation for scorer in chief Anthony Fitzgerald to open their account from a free.
<STYLE= ? Normal; ?font-stretch:Both sides continued to be culpable when it came to harvesting scores - even the usually reliable Michael Walsh was wide of the mark from a number of placed positions and almost a quarter of an hour had gone, when Niall Curran increased the champions lead with another point - this time direct from a "45" - the first of the match. If the reds missed chances so too did Gaultier-the upright foiled the bang on form Anthony Fitzgerald of a likely score in the 20th minute and Eddie Kirwan was wide of the mark, when the rebound fell invitingly in his path. Eventually Anthony Fitzgerald succeeded from a free in the 23rd minute and he repeated the process two minutes later from a less advantageous position to cut the deficit to two points. Sixty seconds later, Niall Curran was on target again from a placed position and even though they continued to string together a number of good moves, Stradbally had to be content with a half time lead of 1-3 to 0-3, but the best had still to come.
Gaultier prove their credentials
It the first half proved satisfying for onlookers, it actually paled into oblivion compared to what transpired on the resumption. This was heady stuff, played at a cracking pace, and it soon became obvious that Gaultier last years Intermediate winners were well able to compete with the best at senior level. Within three minutes of the restart - they had narrowed the half time difference to the minimum - Anthony Fitzgerald obliging from another free and Gearoid O'Connor making his presence felt with a marvellous point. A minute later still the Stradbally citadel bore a charmed life - the two players already mentioned in the previous sentence squandered a great chance of a goal and Stradbally folk were most relieved, when in follow up sorties - Ger Power and Tony Grey sent over point to restore their interval three points lead.
<STYLE= ? Normal; ?font-stretch:But Gaultier continued to come forward in waves and they practically owned the ball in the middle of the field - points from Wayne Hutchinson and Anthony Fitzgerald both from play left the minimum separating the sides as play moved into the last quarter. The challengers while very much on top at that stage failed dismally to convert their pronounced territorial advantage into scores until in the 49th minute Anthony Fitzgerald popped up again with another levelling point (1-5 to 0-8), and they should have hit the front, before completely against the run of play the champions thanks to the combined play of Michael Walsh and John Hearne went back in front yet again in the 51st minute, but quicker than it takes to relate Wayne Hutchinson responded in like manner at the opposite, but he accepted a point with a possible goal for the taking.
Once again the champions proved equal to the challenge - Ger Power sent over the best point of the match in the 53rd minute to restore the lead and John Hearne created the opening for a further Niall Curran point a minute. Excitement really mounted as Anthony Fitzgerald from a further placed position left a solitary point between the teams with five minutes of normal remaining. The Barony side put in a storming finish - scoring chances went abegging - both Stephen Hearne and Wayne Hutchinson had wides from solid scoring positions and while good fortune favoured Stradbally as Michael Walsh free was deflected off the losers goalie for a badly needed insurance point - the best chance of all fell to Andy Moloney on the call of time, but his charge on the champions lines, was deflected for a point, when a goal would have such a huge difference. Still in the time remaining Stradbally substitute Paddy Doyle managed to get a further insurance points for the "reds" and enabled them to hold on and record a slender 1-10 to 0-11 win in the end.
Still on course
Safely through to their fifth successive final - having won the last four, Stradbally still look the side all others must beat in the Deciescounty those days. Their ability to stand up to the best Gaultier had to offer must stand to their good when they tackle old rivals Nire in the Final on Sunday week. This is a well tuned and well trained outfit and they owe a great deal to their tenacious defence powered by the likes of Trevor Costelloe, Kevin Coffey , Emmett Cummins and Kevin Coffey, while elsewhere the input of such as John Hearne, Michael Walsh, Ger Power, Stephen Cunningham and newcomer Tony Grey had a vital bearing on the eventual outcome.
This was without question Gaultier's best display since their return to senior ranks and with a little slice of luck here and there - they could well have pulled off the shock of the year, No fault however to the likes of Paul Carroll, Eddie Fitzgerald, Eddie Kirwan, Andy Moloney, Wayne Hutchinson, Gearoid O'Connor and scorer in chief Anthony Fitzgerald - their performances sparkled throughout and more than anything else made this a game to remember long after the 2005 football season will have well passed into history.
Stradbally:- Ger Power 1-2, Niall Curran 0-4, Tony Grey, John Hearne, Michael Walsh and Paddy Doyle 0-1 each.
Gaultier:- Anthony Fitzgerald 0-7, Wayne Hutchinson 0-2, Gearoid O'Connor and Andy Moloney 0-1 each.
Stradbally:- Eoin Cunningham, Emmett Cummins, Kevin Coffey, Thomas Walsh, Oliver Costelloe, Trevor Costelloe, Shane Lannon, George Walsh, John Hearne, Tony Grey, Ger Power, Stephen Cunningham, Niall Curran, Michael Walsh, Trevor Curran. Subs - Pat Weldon for S. Lannon, Paddy Doyle for Oliver Costelloe.
Gaultier:- Paul Murphy, Niall Mullane, Paul Carroll, Eddie Fitzgerald, Robin Croke, Alan Kirwan, Eddie Kirwan, Ian Hatton, Stephen Hearne, Wayne Hutchinson, Andy Moloney, Gearoid O'Connor, Thomas Dunphy, Anthony Fitzgerald, Paul Fitzgerald, Subs - Barry Mullane for I. Hatton, J.J. Hutchinson for S. Hearne, Ray Hearne for J.J. Hutchinson, .
Referee - Stan Flynn. (Fenor).

13th November 2005 Final
County Senior Football Final ends in stalemate
Stradbally 0-6; Nire 0-6
Stradbally's cherished ambition of winning five Waterford Senior Football Championship titles in a row was put on hold at well attended Fraher Field Dungarvan on Sunday afternoon last, after their arch rivals Nire held them to a level pegging situation, and the teams must do it all over again this week end at the same venue. Weather conditions had improved sufficiently to entice one of the biggest crowds seen at a football decider in years to make tracks for the famed Old Boro venue, and while the quality of play wasn't completely out of the top drawer, the closeness of the scoring, and the competitive nature of the exchanges, more than held spectators interest from beginning to end. In the finish a draw certainly emerged as a most equitable result-neither side deserved to lose and both can look back on quite an inordinate number of missing scoring opportunities, none more so than the champions who squandered at least two gilt edged chances of goals in the closing stages. Even so it would have an injustice to see either side bowing out last Sunday -each are indeed capable of better things and for that reason and perhaps a lot more besides Fraher Field should be full to the rafters for the replay.
Low scoring concluding half
This repeat of 2004 which also went to a second meeting , had so many twists and turns, that neither side could lay claim to prolonged periods of supremacy at any stage. Most of the scores came during the opening half, with only two of the nine points registered coming from play. This was due in part to the close marking , coupled with the outstanding role played by both defences ,and from a long way out, this game unquestionably gave every indication of ending in a draw. On four separate occasions in the opening thirty minutes, the great rivals were level, and as matters stood, the champions were somewhat fortunate to lead by the minimum margin at the break. Yet that score line of 0-5 to 0-4 was significant in as much that Stradbally would have the added assistance of what ever breeze existed in the second half and quite frankly nobody was prepared for what really transpired after the break.
For incredibly, some twenty seven minutes came and went following the recess, before the interval score line was altered. In between spectators were treated to all kinds of everything including misses from in front of goal, the ball coming back into play off the upright, and some poor free taking at either end . Eventually all three second half points came in less than as many minutes at the end-the champions lone score of the half came from a placed position in the 57th minute, and Nire's brace followed in the remaining two minutes. Excitement remained at feverish heights to the very end-yet there was sufficient evidence all round to suggest that both teams welcomed a further opportunity to set the record straight.
How the scores came
The game started on a very lively and indeed highly competitive note and both defences had been tested before Nire in keeping with their level of possession at the time, finally took the lead after five minutes, when John Moore created the opening for Martin Walsh who was impeded making tracks on the champions goal, and from the resultant free Alan Lawlor raised the first white flag of the day for the challengers. Shortly afterwards Shane Walsh, Alan Lawlor and Martin Walsh combined well and a goal looked for the Nire, only Eoin Cunningham in the Stradbally goal was equal to the test and brought off his first of two stupendous first half saves,
Two minutes later the sides drew level for the initial time-Niall Curran was fouled and taking the free himself made no mistake with the equalising point. It continued end to end stuff before Nire assumed the lead for the second time in the 11th minute-Pat Walsh dispossessed, but an immediate free provided Alan Lawlor with his second point of the match. Gradually the early challenges dominance commenced to wane and Stradbally went into the ascendancy after Niall Curran pointed frees in the 13th and 19th minutes respectively to alter the lead one more time. It was all square again four minutes later, Shane Walsh coming up with a terrific point from a free and when he together with brother Pat and the industrious Brian Wall brought the best out in Eoin Cunningham ,the resultant '45" by the first mentioned fell short and was cleared-still Nire could not be denied and over sixty second later they assumed the lead for the third time since the start, when Shane Walsh came up with the first point of the match for play . Again the see-saw nature of the exchanges continued a pace--- Niall Curran from right on the side line and some thirty metres out from the Nire goal sent over his fourth and levelling point in the 28th minute and just when it seemed that stalemate would prevail right up to the short whistle, up popped Stephen Cunningham who collecting a pass from his left rifled over the lead point for the champions once more
Half-Time Score--- Stradbally 0-5; Nire 0-4,
Long scoreless period
Few were prepared for a protracted second half period without scores and quite frankly it could have been all so different had just a slight degree of luck attended some fine individual efforts on both sides. Five minutes into the second half, Stephen Cunningham saw his close range drive with score written all over it, hit the upright and go wide. The kick out quickly reached the other end and a defender carried the ball over the end line, but the resultant "45' wasn't direct and it proved negative. Still Nire continued to enjoy another good spell yet failed in several attempts at the champions posts-Connie Power replaced the off form Alan Lawlor and a slight improvement was notices in the challengers play---still no scores came their way. Still there was a major let off for Nire in the game's 43rd minute, when the champions skipper John Hearne inexplicably shot wide from in front of goal, and Michael Walsh who tried his hand at free taking hadn't any luck either. A highly controversial refereeing decision in the 53rd minute provided the seasiders with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock-but again the woodwork intervened and Niall Curran's 40 metre free went wide of the mark Both sides had further chances-Ger Power could have sewn it up with his pile driver of a shot in the 56th minute, but when Niall Curran finally found the cross bar from play a minute, it certainly looked as if Stradbally's dream of five in a row would become a reality. But Nire of course had other ideas on the subject and putting in a storming finish, they first narrowed the differential to the minimum after Connie Power had set up Shane Walsh for a weltaken point and a minute and a half later, the latter's brother Martin shot over the all important point to make a further meeting this coming week end necessary.
Much more to come
This was not a game in which fancy football and telling scores took hold-it was without question a dour uncompromising struggle for supremacy throughout-neither side deserved to lose and it will be vital for both to set the record right at the first available opportunity, That will come at the same venue and it is something to look for to with relish.. Both teams paraded quite a number of outstanding performers, and on the Stradbally none performed better than Oliver and Trevor Costelloe, John Hearne, George and Michael Walsh, Emmet Cummins, Niall Curran and Kevin Coffey, while for the Nire the input of David Ryan, Liam and Anthony Lawlor, Shane and Pat Walsh, Brian Wall and John Moore proved highly commendable.
Stradbally : Niall Curran 0-5, Stephen Cunningham 0-1; Nire: Shane Walsh 0-3, Alan Lawlor 0-2, Martin Walsh 0-1.
Stradbally; Eoin Cunningham, Emmet Cummins, Kevin Coffey, Tomas Walsh, Oliver Costelloe, Trevor Costelloe, Shane Lannon , George Walsh, John Hearne, Tony Grey, Ger Power, Stephen Cunningham, Niall Curran, Michael Walsh, Trevor Curran. Subs-Pat Weldon for T.Grey, Denis Doyle for T.Curran.
Nire: Micheal Doocey, David Ryan,Thomas O'Gorman ,Micheal Byrne, Justin Walsh, Anthony O'Gorman, Liam Lawlor,Aiden Ryan, Shane Walsh, Briain Wall, Martin Walsh, Maurice O'Gorman, Alan Lawlor, Pat Walsh, John Moore.
Subs - Seamus Lawlor for J.Walsh, Connie Power for Aidan Lawlor, Ger Walsh for Seamus Lawlor.
Referee: Maurice Condon (Kinsalebeg/ Clashmore.

Sat 19th Nov 2005

Stradbally footballers make it five-in-a-row

Stradbally 1-8; Nire 1-4

History was repeated for the Stradbally G.A.A. Club at Fraher Field Dungarvan on Saturday afternoon ,when for the second time in it's long and colourful history, county senior football championship honours for the fifth time in succession was achieved for the second time. Emulating a feat attained by another generation of footballers from the seaside village (1940-1944), represented a huge achievement and how their friends and supporters celebrated afterwards, after Nire at the second attempt and for two season's running had failed to wrestle the renowned Conway Cup from the "reds' in a thrilling County Final replay.

This 1-8 to 1-4 triumph for the champions means that they again set out on the Munster club circuit this coming week end, travelling to Cork for a provincial semi final tussle with crack Leeside combination Nemo Rangers. It's a huge assignment for the Waterford men but it is well within their compass to cause a shock, and in light of their memorable performances in the same exacting competition is anything to go by, then Stradbally could be in for another good day at the office on Sunday afternoon.

Last Saturday's most exciting replay was infinitely better on most counts than the previous Sunday's drawn affair. It did follow the same pattern for most of the initial half, with Stradbally calling the tune and building up a comfortable lead by the end of the first quarter. But Nire while conceding a number of un-necessary frees and were duly punished with a place kicker of the calibre of Niall Curran on the opposing side - he landed five points in total during the initial half ,yet the challengers never lost their over all focus and when Shane Walsh landed a goal after his 22nd minute penalty had been blocked , we certainly were treated to a completely new ball game from there to the finish. At the break, Stradbally led by two points margin, and fully realised that they would be subjected to fierce second half pressure from the challengers who could now call upon the added assistance of the breeze.

It was an absorbing second half exhibition in which Nire controlled play for most of what followed - drew level by the 40th minute and unfortunately proceeded to scorn quite a few scoring chances - chiefly from frees and the issue remained deadlocked until two minutes from the end of normal time, when the impasse was finally broken and the champions regained the lead with their first score in twenty eight minutes, and while Nire still wasted a couple of chances that could have brought the game to extra time, the icing on the cake for Stradbally came in the second minute of added on with a weltaken goal virtually against the run of play, to sign, seal and deliver a famous victory for the seaside colours.

This was an invigorating contest played in exemplary fashion - hard knocks were given and taken in the proper manner and despite an over abundance of frees, the quality of the football on offer way exceeded anything seen during the entire championship season, and it certainly augers well for Stradbally's chances as they set out on the Munster club trail next Sunday. For Nire it was yet another case of so near and so far - they mounted a brave effort, chiefly on the change of ends, but inability to score in accordance with the long enjoyed territorial advantage, told heavy against them. Had they got their noses in front at any stage after they had finally drawn level, it would surely have made a whale of difference - still the Stradbally defence remained resolute to the very end and the challengers failed to register during the final twenty minutes of a heart warming contest.

How the scores came

Nire had the tonic of an early lead when Alan Lawlor pointed a free in the opening minute. Play continued on an even keel until the 5th minute, when Niall Curran popped up with a quality point from a free, even if the upright helped the ball to drop over for the levelling point. The challenges passed up on a golden chance to gain equality, before Niall Curran created the opening for Stradbally's third point in the 8th minute. Enjoying a firm grip and seemingly content to keep the ball away from the challengers, the champions surged further ahead with a further brace of Niall Curran points from placed positions - the first from way out on the side line and 60 meters from goal and the other from a most advantageous position closer to the uprights.

Raising a prolonged siege, Nire's best move of the half brought a badly needed second point from Aidan Ryan in the 18th minute, but again it was left to Niall Curran to rifle over the champions sixth point (from another free)in the 21st minute. A little over a minute later, the game underwent a dramatic change - a somewhat disputed line ball was safely delivered by Pat Walsh into the Stradbally goal area - John Moore was impeded inside the restricted area and up stepped Shane Walsh for the resultant penalty. The midfielder's kick was blocked by goalie Eoin Cunningham, but in a follow through action, Shane Walsh finished the ball to the net ,and suddenly the deficit was down to the minimum. Stung by the turn of events, Stradbally attacked on all cylinders in the remaining minutes of the half and had to be content with a further point from a free by Niall Curran in the 31st minute and consequently led by 0-7 to 1-2 at the break.

Low scoring second-half

The change of ends saw Nire carry the game to the champions right from the start and with Shane Walsh now operating on the edge of the square was causing quite a few problems for a hard pressed champions defence Arising from this Alan Lawlor pointed his second match point from a free in the 32nd minute and it was finally all square by the 40th minute, after Shane Walsh obliged from another placed position Next ensued a total of eighteen minutes without a score, during which for the most part the challengers enjoyed a pronounced territorial advantage, but failed lamentably to add to their total. Ironically enough one of the best scoring chances of all fell to Stradbally captain John Hearne around the three quarter stage mark, but he was to make amends with interest before this game had run its full course.

Nire wastage continued unabated and it was fortunate for Stradbally on a couple of occasions that Michael Walsh was able to drop back as far as the last line of defence and deny the challengers possible scoring chances. Then as this invigorating contest wended its way towards conclusion and with the possibility of extra time looming on the horizon, the champions having been on the defensive for so long eventually struck for the clinching scores.It was Niall Curran who restored the lead from a point in the 58th minute and two extra minutes into added on time, gave Stradbally's goal and with Niall Curran and Stephen Cunningham very much involved in the build up--- fittingly it was team captain John Hearne who put the finishing touch to the net and seconds later the 2005 Senior Final had become history.

Stood Out

For the winners the heroic performances of Michael Walsh, Oliver and Trevor Costelloe, Stephen Cunningham, Ger Power, Kevin Coffey and John Hearne, together with the unerring marksmanship of Niall Curran ,playing a leading role in landing Stradbally their fifth title in a row, while for the Nire the trojan work of Shane ,Martin and Pat Walsh, David Ryan, Anthony O'Gorman, Liam Lawlor, John Moore and Brian Wall certainly didn't go un-noticed either.


Stradbally: Niall Curran 0-6, John Hearne 1-0, Denis Doyle and Stephen Cunningham 0-1. Nire-Shane Walsh 1-1, Alan Lawlor 0-2 and Aidan Ryan 0-1.


Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham, Emmet Cummins, Kevin Coffey, Tomas Walsh, Oliver Costelloe, Trevor Costelloe, Shane Lannon, George Walsh, John Hearne, Denis Doyle, Ger Power, Stephen Cunningham, Niall Curran, Michael Walsh, Pat Weldon. Subs - Trevor Curran for S.Lannon,.

Nire: Micheal Doocey, David Ryan, Thomas O'Gorman, Seamus Lawlor, Anthony O'Gorman, Liam Lawlor, Aidan Ryan, Shane Walsh, Brian Wall, Maurice O'Gorman, John Moore, Alan Lawlor, Martin Walsh, Pat Walsh. Subs - Ger Walsh for Michael Byrne, Connie Power for A.Lawlor.

Referee: Maurice Condon. (Clashmore/'Kinsalebeg.

Little joy for Waterford team on Munster circuit

Nemo Rangers 1-14; Stradbally 0-10

Sunday last proved a most disappointing day for Waterford teams engaged on the Munster club championship scene, all four teams involved coming out on the wrong side of score line at Senior and Junior Football levels and also in the Intermediate and Junior hurling competitions. In each instance the Decies standard bearers put up gutsy and whole hearted performances with narrow losing margins obtaining in practically in all confrontations.

Senior football champions Stradbally found themselves in action at Pairc Ui Chaoimh for a provincial semi final encounter with honours laden Nemo Rangers, and while they acquitted themselves well, their best football came in the second half in which they outscored the six times champions and with a little slice of luck could have been infinitely closer at the finish

Stradbally go under without loss of honour

There is never any virtue in defeat and Stradbally who had high hopes of bringing off a major shock in the penultimate round of the Munster Senior Football Club championship at cold and sparsely attended Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon last, are no strangers to disappointment at this level, but on this occasion they will surely rue the fact that they didn't get fully into their stride in the opening half of their showdown with honours laden Nemo Rangers , and left themselves with too big a bridge to cross in the second period, during they more than held their own with the homesters, and with a little slice of luck here and there, could have been much closer than 1-14 to 0-10 at the finish.

This was however a real testing encounter for the Waterford champions, who were obliged to start without Emmett Cummins (on a break in Australia) and the injured Tomas Walsh ,and the loss of two key defenders proved too great a handicap to carry. In addition the multi talented John Coffey who also missed the recent County Final through injury, didn't start despite high expectation and the absence of this trio left Stradbally with a huge mountain to climb before they even took the field. Understandably then the rejigged side took a long time to settle and while they bravely stayed in touch during the opening quarter, the concession of a 22nd minute goal - the only one of the afternoon left them gutted and striving to catch up there-after. The indomitable spirit that is so characteristic of Stradbally teams down through the year never wavered and even though trailing by 1-9 to 0-4 at the break, they put in an infinitely better second half and with Niall Curran rifling over points from all angled and the Nemo defence under pressure, the homesters in the end stood up well to record a seven points win, and as a result go forward to take on surprise packets St.Senan's of Kilkee who shocked Kerry champions An Gaeltacht in the other semi final.

Crucial goal

The biggest flaw in the Stradbally make up during the opening half was unquestionably the manner in which they gave way possession all too readily. They had chances a plenty to improve their position where it matters most, but all too often worthwhile attacks floundered in sight of the target, and at this level this is simply not good enough. While Nemo's grip on the game was very much in evidence from an early stage - Niall Curran kept Stradbally in touch with points in the 9th, 19th, 24th and 29th minutes, but a Paul Kerrigan goal for Nemo in the 22nd minute, when he got on the end of a tremendous movement for which the Cork side is famous, to give Eoin Cunningham no chance in the Taysiders goal.It was a cruel blow to the visitors who up to that stage gave every impression of making a close game out of it, but once the Cork champions clicked, the inevitability of it all manifested itself to the full.

In addition James Masters who had been hitting the headlines all season for both club and county, started to leave his distinctive mark on the game with points of exceptional vintage and at the interval, Nemo had the cushion of eight points lead - 1-9 to 0-4, facing into the second half . Team captain John Hearne revitalised Stradbally hopes with an early weltaken second half point and Niall Curran accounted for five more - one from play, before the hour had run its course. Considering the amount of territorial possession - the Waterford men should have fared much better in the second half, but with sufficient in hand and content to enhance their scoring returns from a far limited number of opportunities, the Cork champions emphatically moved on to the next phase of the championship .In fact they might well have got a second goal were it not for the vigilance of Stradbally defender Oliver Costelloe - who getting behind his advancing goalkeeper Eoin Cunningham as he faced up to the advancing David Niblock as he bore down on goal, virtually cleared the ball off the line and the danger was finally averted. Mind you Stradbally had more than their share of chances after that were a trifle unlucky not to have registered at least one major, and while they had the satisfaction of rounding off the days scoring with a brace of late Niall Curran points, it wasn't sufficient on the day to hurt Nemo, who eventually emerged undisputed 1-14 to 0-10 winners in the end.


Nemo Rangers: P. Kerrigan 1-5 (0-1 free), J.Masters 0-4 (0-2 frees), D.Niblock 0-2, S.O'Brien, A.Cronin and M.Kearney 0-1 each.

Stradbally: Niall Curran 0-9 (0-8 frees), John Hearne 0-1.


Nemo Rangers: B. Morgan, M. Daly, G. Murphy, G. O'Shea, B. O'Regan, N. O'Sullivan, M. Cronin, M. McCarthy, D. Niblock, S. O'Brien, P.Kerrigan, W. Morgan, A. Cronin, J. Masters, Subs: M. Kearney for J. Masters, L. O'Sullivan for W. Morgan, S. Twomey for G. O'Shea, P. Brophy for B. O'Regan, D. Mehigan for M. McCarthy.

Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham, Denis Doyle, Kevin Coffey, Oliver Costelloe, Shane Lannon, Trevor Costelloe, Tony Grey, Michael Walsh, John Hearne, Trevor Curran, Ger Power, Stephen Cunningham, Niall Curran, George Walsh, Pat Weldon. Subs: S. Lawlor for T. Curran, J. Halpin for D. Doyle.

Referee: Michael Meade (Limerick).

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