Fr Murphys 1-14 (17)
Brothers Pearse 2-10 (16)
London Intermediate Hurling Final
A FANTASTIC late score from Sean Howlin completed a commendable comeback to secure Fr Murphys the W Reilly Ltd Intermediate Hurling Championship title in Greenford on Sunday.
Leading by a point at the break, Murphys were hit for six at the beginning of the re-start, as the Pearses came out and tucked away two goals to take charge of proceedings.
However, a spirited fightback – largely led by the sensational striking of midfielder Stephen Bardon – saw Murphys claw their way back into the lead just in time to hear the whistle.
Pearses started the game with more urgency, but their lack of composure saw them hit three wides in the opening seven minutes. Meanwhile, Ken Watchorn got Murphys off the mark before Tony Clarke evened things up.
Pearses took the lead for the first time moments later through a Stephen Page snapshot, but Bardon then registered the first of his nine points, eight of which came from dead ball situations.
The sides continued to trade points, with Clarke the talisman for the Pearses amid three first-half points, but shooting was quite wayward with Murphys hitting five wides to their opponents’ eight in the opening period.
Murphys regained the lead through Shaun Brennan’s lovely take and strike on the turn, before Bardon added his third free of the game to open up a two-point gap for the first time in the game.
Pearses pulled one back through Clarke to go in 6-5 down, but they looked like a different team by the beginning of the second-half.
Eoin Shiels picked up the sliotar and drove towards goal in the first attack of the second period, and the centre-forward smashed an unstoppable effort past Murphys keeper Tom Moore to put Pearses back into the lead.
Clarke added his fourth point of the game before Pearses really stated their intent with a second goal – Paul Uniacke diverting a Phil Hogan strike into the net from close range.
At 2-7 to 0-7 down, Murphys needed a figure to stand up and be counted, and Bardon obliged with four beautifully struck frees to add to a Ryan Meyler point as the men in purple hit five without reply.
The belief was back among the Murphys players and they regained the lead with less than 10 minutes to play as Meyler pulled on a loose ball, thumping the sliotar through a sea of bodies and into the net.
Back came Brothers Pearse though, as substitute Conor Hallissey levelled to make it 1-13 to 2-10 with just seconds remaining.
There was still time for a hero though, with Howlin picking up possession wide on the left and sailing an outrageous effort over with the Intermediate title at stake.
Pearses had one last chance to salvage the game, but Mike Garvey’s rushed effort whizzed wide in the final play of the match as referee Mick O’Dea’s whistle prompted wild celebrations.
Brothers Pearse: S Kelly; J Birmingham, C Lorden, D Bruen; D Sexton, S Frawley, P Muldoon; P Uniacke (c), B Conroy; D Duffy, E Shiels, S Page; T Clarke, P Hogan, J Joyce. Subs: P Egan, W McDonagh, R Coughlin, D Connolly, D Doyle, S Curran, M Garvey, J Graney, M Gleese, C Kennedy, B Mullane-Smith.
Fr Murphys: T Moore; D McGuigan, D Howlin, T Higgins; P O’Donovan, C Kerr, A Griffin; S Bardon, K Watchorn; R Meyler, S Howlan, H Ward; S Cullen, M Gordon, C Weller. Subs: R O’Brien, S O’Donoghue, D Nolan, C Hallissey, S Brennan, M Harrell, M Crowe, C Howlin, F Curley, P Walsh, J Kennedy.