ON a dull Saturday afternoon in Ruislip, referee Matty Maher threw in the sliothar to start the eagerly awaited 2021 London Senior Hurling Championship Final replay between Robert Emmetts and St Gabriels.
It started tamely enough, with Emmetts off target from three frees, before Gabriels’ Jack Goulding scored from play, this was added to by Davy Nolan from a free to give them a two point advantage, Emmetts then hit another wide, with Gabriels pointing again to go three up.
Emmetts woke up with points from Cian Lordan and Donal Hannon, it was soon level at three a piece, Gabriels with Davey Nolan and Jack Goulding, very lively were so five points to three ahead, Emmetts came back through the unerring Kevin O Loughlin, who made it five points to four at the first water break.
The second quarter was very tight, with some excellent defending from both sides and a duel between Davey Nolan and Kevin O Loughlin in the scoring stakes.
As we reached half time the score was eight points a piece.
Emmetts went a point ahead at the start of the second half, but points from Nolan and Dual star Goulding soon had Gabriels 0-14 to 0-09 ahead and theY looked to be cruising at the end of the third quarter
After the water break, it looked like the championship was Gabriels’ to lose, but they conceded needless frees, which Kevin O'Loughlin punished, reaching the last minutes Gabriels were 0.16 to 0.15 ahead but with time up they conceded another free, with which O'Loughlin tied the scores 0.16 a piece.
Extra time and a very different Emmetts appeared, during normal time they had introduced Stephen Bardon and he was starting to make his presence felt tearing through the Gabriels defence, finding fellow substitute Alan O'Leary, who blasted past Paudge Collins in the Gabriels Goal, to turn the game on its head.
This was followed immediately by a goal from Cian Lordan, then came points from Ronan Crowley and Kevin O Loughlin which had the score 2-19 to O-16 at the extra time break.
Gabriels had not scored in this period and it represented a 14 point turnaround for Emmetts.
Gabriels threw everything they had at Emmetts in the last period of extra time but it proved too little too late, a Emmets regained the cup they last won in 2019 on a scoreline of 2-21 to 1-18.
A word of praise for the referee Matty Maher, who had an excellent game handling the game with unquestionable authority.
Robert Emmetts now go on to meet the winners from Connacht in the Club championship, which will hopefully be played at Ruislip in early December.