SEAN TREACY’S (London) 4-21 (33)
ST. FINBARR’S (Warwickshire) 1-10 (13)
All-Britain Junior Hurling Championship, Final
By Anthony McLaughlin at McGovern Park, London
For the first time since 2002, Sean Treacy’s are All-Britain Hurling Champions after a comprehensive victory in last Sunday’s final against St. Finbarr’s.
In the process, the Montore Construction London Intermediate Champions extend their campaign for at least one more game as they will host the Ulster Junior Champions in the Twinning Final on the first weekend in December. Their opponents are yet to be determined with the final in Ulster set for this coming weekend between Monaghan’s Castleblayney and St. Eunan’s of Donegal who had a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout win in their semi-final last Sunday against Derry’s Swatragh.
An overcast McGovern Park brought together the two remaining clubs in the race for the Billy Collins Cup, Treacy’s having seen off Glasgow’s Ceann Creige in the semi-final while Finbarr’s emerged as Warwickshire Champions the previous weekend after a replay with John Mitchel’s. Despite the poor weather conditions of late, the pitch at Ruislip was in fair fettle all things considering, with both sides finding their range early on. Finbarr’s took an early lead off a free before Treacy’s got into their groove with midfielder Liam Galway tapping over three frees alongside a first point of the afternoon from full-forward Eoghan McHugh.
Part of Kevin McMullan’s London panel, McHugh was the focal point for the Treacy’s attack that was starting to create goal scoring opportunities. Finbarr’s held firm through goalkeeper Seamus Quigley and a superb block by Richie Murray but the pressure eventually told when Vincent O’Donoghue found himself free to slot beyond Quigley. Finbarr’s were reliant on frees from Saul McCaughan and Ciaran McKeague throughout as they tried to contain a Treacy’s team that pressed well off turnover ball to ratchet up the pressure, the game’s pivotal moment coming just before half-time when Kevin Bergin persisted off ground ball to nudge an effort past Quigley for a second goal.
With ten points between the teams at half-time and Treacy’s in command, Finbarr’s made some early second-half switches and landed a couple of frees through McKeague before James McCarthy tip-toed his way towards goal from the left to sneak a shot past Quigley for goal number three after the Finbarr’s goalkeeper had earlier denied Treacy’s three successive times from point-blank range. To their credit, the Warwickshire Champions never relented and after McCaughan and substitute Robbie Dooley tapped over frees it was Dooley who grabbed their only goal of the game with a long range shot that was misjudged by Treacy’s keeper Alan Tobin.
Nonetheless, Treacy’s maintained their scoring edge as the game pushed into the final quarter, McHugh and Galway landing excellent points from play alongside Glenn Cullinane’s brace. Shane Stapleton popped up from half-back to fire straight between the posts before Eoin McGrath slotted over the bar from the right and with the game in added-time the corner-forward grabbed a fourth Treacy’s goal with some dogged persistence driving in from the angle. With county and provincial honours sealed, Treacy's can now prepare for another final and a free hit for a place in the All-Ireland Club Championship - exciting times ahead for the South London club.
Teams & Scorers:
Sean Treacy’s: A Tobin; S Adamson, M Barlow, G Qulligan; J Kenneally, S Stapleton (0-1), D O’Connor (0-1); L Galway (0-6, 4f), G Cullinane (0-3); V O’Donoghue (1-0), K Bergin (1-2), J McCarthy (1-0); T McGrath, E McHugh (0-5), E McGrath (1-3). Subs: P McGrath (for Cullinane 31); C O’Daly (for Adamson 41); P O’Toole (for McGrath 50); C Cusack (for McHugh 56); N Condon (for Quilligan 57).
St. Finbarr’s: S Quigley; S Clarke, T McIlroy, R Murray; D Maloney, C McKeague (0-3, 3f), C Dineen; N Lenihan, I Dwyer; O Slattery (0-1), D Ryan, D Kelly; J Keogh, D Lowry, S McCaughan (0-5, 5f). Subs: J Ogundare (for Keogh 30); R Dooley (1-1, 1f for Lenihan 35).