By Mark Jones
Sixmilebridge (Clare) 2-17
Mount Sion (Waterford) 3-8
The Munster club hurling title stays in County Clare for a sixth successive season. In the end, Sixmilebridge were full value for their victory at Semple Stadium last Sunday, but they will know only too well that the expected fierce challenge from Mount Sion never fully materialized.
Despite being just a point behind 10 minutes from time, the Waterford champions had been off the pace and, predictably, they were finished off by a late scoring burst as Brian Colbert and Niall Gilligan each hit goals.
For Gilligan, the game turned out to be a celebration in more ways than one. Unsure whether he would even start because of a knee injury, he contributed a superb 1-8 to Sixmilebridge’s cause.
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"All the talk about Niall’s injury wasn’t a smokescreen," said manager Paddy Meehan. "We didn’t pass him fit until after the warmup."
How Mount Sion must have wished that Gilligan had to sit the final out. He was in superb form right from the start as the Clare side swept into a 5-point lead after just 7 minutes. Ken McGrath kept Mount Sion afloat with two goals, both from frees, but if Sixmilebridge hadn’t hit a total of 18 wides, the contest would have been over long before the final whistle.
It was 0-11 to 1-4 at the interval, but Mount Sion were given a shot in the arm in the 42nd minute when Eoin Kelly hammered ina goal and then the same player followed up with a point. However, that was the nearest the losers came as ‘Bridge responded quickly to the challenge.
Univ. College-Dublin 1-8
The Kilkenny champions, Graigue-Ballycallan, had to battle hard to lift the Leinster club hurling title at Nowlan Park, where five unanswered points in the final quarter killed off a tremendous University College-Dublin challenge. The students, who had won a first Dublin championship in 32 years, took the lead midway through the second half with a Brendan Murphy goal, but they had no response to Graigue’s strong finish.
However, UCD’s manager, Dave Billings, was sharply critical of the performance of referee Pat Aherne. "Both teams played excellent hurling, it was a credit to them, but it was a pity that the referee’s performance did not attain the same level," he said.
Early on, UCD were in control at midfield through Rory Moore, and there were good defensive performances from both Stephen Lucey and David Hegarty, so it wasn’t a great surprise when Murphy pounced for a goal and the students surged two points clear thanks to a fifth point from Jim Byrne.
But the losers somehow failed to raise a flag in the last 15 minutes as Adrian Ronan, Michael Hoyne, James Young, Eddie Brennan and Tomas Comerford made the game safe for Graigue.
Dr. Crokes 1-4, An Gaeltacht 0-6
Outsiders Dr. Crokes pulled off a shock victory in the Kerry football final when they edged out a powerful An Gaeltacht side in Tralee last Sunday. An Eoin Brosnan goal put Dr. Crokes 1-3 to 0-1 in front at the break, but even with the breeze at their backs, Gaeltacht squandered too many chances during the second half.