After being outscored by 3-3 to 0-0 in the opening exchanges of this final in Fenagh last Thursday, Mountrath mounted a superb comeback that almost produced an incredible win.
Midway through the second-half, they had gotten back to within one thanks to a brilliantly converted penalty from Niall Dunne but that was as good as it got for the Laois school as Wexford managed to hit back with a goal that knocked the wind out of Mountrath’s sails.
The Wexford side managed to close out the game in the closing minutes but Mountrath can be proud of how they battled to the bitter end despite finding themselves 12 points down early in the game.
With the wind at their backs, Wexford sprinted out of the blocks with goals from Luke Dowdall, Cian Foley and Justin Butler and three further points giving them a start they could only have dreamed of.
Mountrath had early chances to get themselves on the scoresheet but goalbound efforts from Aaron Gaughan and Sean O’Flynn were both blocked.
Despite being hit by the early scoring blitz, Mountrath showed great composure and began to claw their way back with points from Shane Conroy and Joe Phelan getting them off the mark before Conroy dispatched an inch perfect shot low into the bottom corner of the net.
That goal had them back within seven at the break and they closed the gap to four straight after the interval when Sean O’Flynn drilled the ball to the back of the net.
Mountrath’s Niall Dunne and Wexford’s Jack O’Leary exchanged points before Dunne scored his side’s third goal from the penalty spot midway through the half.
That left the score at 3-4 to 3-3 in Wexford CBS’ favour and the momentum seemed to be with Mountrath however the exhertions of getting back into the game took their toll and despite battling to the finish, they couldn’t add to their total.
After absorbing all that Mountrath had to offer, Wexford managed to score their fourth goal that steadied their nerves and they added a late point to seal the win.
Scorers: Wexford CBS: Cian Foley 2-1; Jutin Butler 1-0; Luke Dowdall 1-1; Jordan Hayes 0-2 (0-1f); Cathal Kirwan 0-1. Mountrath CS: Shane Conroy 1-1 (0-1f); Sean O’Flynn 1-0; Niall Dunne 1-1 (1-0pen, 0-1f); Joe Phelan 0-1
WEXFORD CBS: Adam Dempsey; Gary Hall Roche, Ben McMahon, Eoghan Reck; Jamie Thomas, Phil Rawson, Kalum Broaders; Cathal Kirwan, Leon Nolan; TJ Cousins, Luke Dowdall, Jack O’Leary; Justin Butler, Jordan Hayes, Cian Foley . Subs: Ben Creane for Dowdall (50mins).
MOUNTRATH CS: Darragh Hiney (Shanahoe); John Maher (Rosenallis), Cathal Moore (Castletown), Eoin Dowling (Camross); Sean Nolan (Castletown), Sean Baker (Mountmellick), Tadgh Cuddy (Castletown); Ciaran Conroy (Castletown), Shane Conroy (Portlaoise); Aaron Gaughan (Castletown), Joe Phelan (Castletown), Jack Priestly (Ballyfin); Dylan Russell (Mountrath), Niall Dunne (Castletown), Sean O’Flynn (St Paul’s). Subs: Cathal Duggan (Portlaoise) for Nolan (22m) Michael Doran (Camross) for Priestley (43m), Ned Ryan (St Paul’s) for Duggan (59m).
Referee: Pat Moran (Laois)