Warwickshire Senior Hurling Champions 2008: John Mitchel’s
Sunday 26 October 2008
Coffey the hero as Mitchel’s grab dramatic win
John Mitchel’s 2-09 v 2-06 Fullen Gaels
It’s not over until it’s over, this is certainly the case for John Mitchel’s who claimed this season’s Warwickshire Hurling Championship thanks to a dramatic last minute winner from wing forward Damian Coffey, reacting quickest at the back post to score his side’s vital second goal. It had been an incredibly tight final as Fullen Gaels came within two minutes of taking the spoils before Coffey’s intervention and a last gasp point by full forward Martin Morrissey turned the tables.
It all began so well for the Gaels, who struck the first goal of the game in the opening moments thanks to corner forward Pat O’Connor and this gap was extended a point further thanks to midfield talisman Kevin Codd’s first free of the afternoon. Mitchel’s were threatening at the other end and almost had an immediate reprieve but for a tremendous double save by the impressive John Farrell. A Mark Lyons free and a well worked point from the persevering Wayne Healy brought Mitchels into the scoring but another excellent point at the other end by centre forward Ross Connor stabilised the Gaels’ lead once more. Mitchel’s were keeping up the pressure on Farrell’s goal and could have struck gold five minutes before the interval if Sean Nash had successfully latched onto Des Kelly’s cross field pass. However, it was Fullen Gaels who finished the half stronger thanks to a couple of Codd frees, sending the visitors into the changing rooms with a two point advantage.
The close nature of the game meant that goals came at a premium and John Mitchel’s signalled their intentions with a goal in the first minute of the second half. A searching drive from midfield caused problems for the Gaels’ defence, leaving Peter Healy with the chance to field and fire a low shot past Farrell. Yet after only a matter of seconds Fullen Gaels had retaliated with their second goal of the game; in similar fashion to Mitchel’s’ strike Aidan Murphy drove in a speculative effort that was met by the oncoming Johnny Cleary and the corner forward stole in ahead of John Sheehan to score. It was a body blow for Mitchel’s, but the home side settled once more thanks to the scoring exploits of full forward Morrissey. Three points in the space of ten minutes, two from frees, brought Mitchels back to parity setting up a grandstand final ten minutes.
Both sides had their opportunities to seal victory, with Mitchel’s corner forward Sean Nash coming closest to a goal with a fierce drive that was again blocked by the steadfast Farrell. Both sides kept plugging away but were increasingly finding the door shut by a resolute and dogged defending. Despite this, it was Fullen Gaels who struck what looked like a winning point within the final five minutes through the omnipresent Codd.
Mitchel’s went all out to snatch the lead and with time almost up they were awarded a free at an acute angle twenty yards out. In came a searching drive by Morrissey that evaded all but Coffey, who turned his effort past Farrell for a dramatic goal. From the resulting clearance, Mitchel’s pinched possession and Morrissey was given the opportunity to send over a simple point to extend the lead to three. It proved enough as the final whistle was greeted with jubilation from the Mitchels’ ranks; the Birmingham side were left to celebrate victory after an enthralling and action-filled championship final.
John Mitchel’s: John Sheehan, Seamus Brough, Steve Ahern, Denis Kelly, Trevor Neville, John Healy, Chris Brough, Wayne Healy (0-1), Mark Lyons (0-1), Des Kelly, Peter Healy (1-0), Damien Coffey (1-0), Sean Nash, Martin Morrissey (0-7), Dominic Molloy (Enda Barron).
Fullen Gaels: John Farrell, Cormac McGowan, Richard Ebrahim, Denis Cleary, James Mulligan, Brendan Griffith, Chris Conlan, Patrick O’Brien, Kevin Codd (0-5), Paddy Breen, Ross Connor (0-1), Aidan Murphy, Johnny Cleary (1-0), Conor McKay, Pat O’Connor (1-0, Paddy Fahy).