After the heavy rains from the week previous, O’Moore Park had to undergo a few makeovers before Saturday morning’s action, as the playing field itself had to be narrowed as a strip in front of the stand had some standing water.
The games went ahead, and first of the day’s offerings Abbeyleix-Ballypickas met St Joseph’s, and the Kellyville club were first off the mark when Lir McDonald pointed the opening free. The opening moments of the game were very even and open, and despite the narrowing of the field there seemed to be a lot of open spaces across the park.
McDonald doubled the lead when he pointed his second free after six minutes. Abbeyleix registered their first score soon after when Rory McEvoy pointed from play, and Cillian McEvoy levelled matters with his huge free.
Joseph’s went back out in front again thanks to another pointed free from Dylan Doyle. The game turned for Abbeyleix just before the break as, after a well worked point from corner back Edmund Walton, Bryan Thompson goaled to give his side a three point lead at the break.
Abbeyleix came out in the second half and quickly built on their lead when Rory McEvoy pointed from distance. St Joseph’s seemed to be lacking in attack, as they continuously managed to work the ball out of defence before the attack would break down at the Abbeyleix half back line.
But with five minutes to go they did pull back a goal to let the game simmer nicely coming towards the end. Joseph’s continued to pile on the pressure but Abbeyleix would not give in and landed two more points, one each from Daniel Ward and Donagh Egan.
St Joseph’s needed a goal if they were going to come out on top in this encounter, but it never came as all they could manage at the death was a point, no consolation for a defeat in the final, but they can be proud of their performance in the final and throughout the championship.
Abbeyleix/ Ballypickas: Cillian McEvoy 1-0, Rory McEvoy 0-2, Daniel Ward 0-2, Bryan Thompson 1-0, Donagh Egan 0-2
St. Josephs: Cahal Dunne Lir McDonald 0-2, Dylan Doyle 0-2
ABBEYLEIX-BALLYPICKAS: Alan Kelly; Eamon Oxley, Cillian McEvoy, Edmund Walton; Liam Delaney, Jake Cranny, Diarmuid Whelan; Rory McEvoy, Ciaran Carroll; Donagh Egan, John Oxley, Liam Oxley; Callum Mullen, Daniel Ward, Bryan Thompson. Subs: Peter Bonham for B Thompson
ST JOSEPH’S: Peter Kealy; Jim Leech, Connor Kelly, Daniel Comeford; James Kelly, Kieran Ramsbottom, Kevin Higgins; Cathal Dunne, Caomhan Brennan; Dylan Doyle, Sean Territt, Kieran Comerford; Jack Higgins, Connor Kealy, Lir McDonald. Subs: David Farrell for K Higgins