FOR the third time in their history Confey are the Kildare Senior Hurling champions. Last Sunday they got the better of four-in-a-row chasing Celbridge in St Conleth’s Park and totally and utterly deserved it too, writes Ruth Chambers.
Senior Hurling Championship Final
In the end five points (1-16 to 0-14) separated the sides and Confey were full value for the victory. A goal from John O’Neill with just 42 seconds played laid the foundation for victory and Confey’s first title in four years. Indeed Confey were the last team to win the Sean Carey Cup before Sunday’s opponents Celbridge had their three year dominant period.
Dead ball specialist Paul Divilly scored half of Confey’s final points tally, while Daragh Nolan collected the man-of-the-match award after he chipped in with five points from play.
Celbridge, who have been the standard bearers in Kildare for so long now, weren’t at the proverbial races for the duration last Sunday. The Hazelhatch Road side haven’t been at their best in 2012 and indeed they started an finished their championship campaign with defeat. Ironically the only team to beat them this year was Confey, after a replay in the preliminary round and again in the decider.
Confey, managed by Cork man Ed Holland, had their homework done. Kevin Chan kept the shackles on young Gerry Keegan throughout, indeed they went man for man from the off and totally crowded Celbridge out of it in the middle of the park.
That aside Celbridge’s performance was poor, their shooting by times left a lot to be desired and the relinquished their title in limp fashion. Kudos to Confey all the same. They were hungrier, much hungrier and much better.
Confey signalled their intent immediately. With just 42 second on the clock they had the ball in the back of Niall Lanigan’s net. A pass from Paul Divilly picked out John O’Neill and he fired to the net to give his side an early three point advantage.
Four minutes later Confey’s lead was down to one after Sam White sent over a free and a 65 to leave the scoreboard reading 1-0 to 0-2.
Daragh Nolan opened his account soon after before Sam White, who finished with eight points to his name, converted a free to leave just one in it once again.
By the ten minute mark Confey led 1-3 to 0-4 but that lead was down to just one three minutes later when a free from Sam White out right split the posts.
Two on the trot for Holland’s charges, courtesy of Daragh Nolan and a Paul Divilly free, left them leading 1-5 to 0-5.
Danny Butler pulled one back for Celbridge but the remainder of the half belonged to Creighton Park outfit. A free from Paul Divilly made it 1-5 to 0-6 just a minute before John O’Neill scored a fine point from out on the left wing. Three without response from Divilly completed the first half scoring and ensured Confey led 1- 1-9 to 0-6 at the interval.
A big second half was needed from Celbridge but it never materialised. Instead Confey picked up where they left off in the first and dominated.
By the tenth minute of the half Confey lead 1-11 to 0-9. Firstly Paul Divilly converted a free from 44 metres out after Mark Fennelly was impeded and then came the score of the game. Robbie Connolly was the man to score it from out of the left wing and at that point his side led by five.
Indeed five was the closet Celbridge could get to Confey, who were almost at their leisure in the second.
In the 46th minute Confey could have added a second goal when Daragh Nolan found himself clean through. However, without his hurl his was forced to kick and got too much elevation on his effort and over Lanigan’s bar it went to leave the score at 1-13 to 0-10.
At this point the game was Confey’s to lose and Celbridge were in desperate need of a goal. Danny Butler pulled a point back in the 47th minute but they had to wait ten more minutes before they added to their tally.
During that time Confey goalkeeper Ian Baker pulled off a fine save from Billy White’s free, while down the other end points from Colm Chan and Divilly (free) gave Confey a 1-15 to 0-11 lead.
Three from Sam White, two 65s and one free, followed but it was most definitely a case of too little too late for the team in blue and white, while Daragh Nolan finished out the scoring for Confey to ensure a comfortable five point victory.
Confey, Paul Divilly 0-8 (7f, 1 ’65’), Daragh Nolan 0-5, John O’Neill 1-1, Mark Fennelly 0-1, Colm Chan 0-1.
Celbridge, Sam White 0-8 (5f, 3 ’65’), Danny Butler 0-2, Billy White 0-2 (1f), Conor Kenny 0-1, Mark Moloney 0-1.
Ian Baker; Sean Leamy, Paul Keegan, Brian Dowd; Kieran Divilly, Michael Divilly, Kevin Chan; Paraic Keegan, Paul Divilly; Colm Chan, Robbie Connolly, John O’Neill; Mark Fennelly, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Daragh Nolan. Subs: Niall Glennon replaced M Fennelly 45 mins, Conor Feeney replaced R Connolly 45 mins, Paul Feerick replaced B Dowd 63 mins.
Niall Lanigan; Tom Finnerty, Fiachra O Muineachain, Pa Curtain; Aidan McDonagh, Donal Moloney, Niall O Muineachain; Danny Butler, Billy White; Gerry Keegan, Fergal Conway, Tony Murphy; Mark Moloney, Conor Kenny, Sam White. Subs: Liam McDonagh replaced A McDonagh 49 mins, Paddy Moloney replaced F Conway 54 mins,