County Hurling Final Previews

In order to comply with the new COVID-19 regulations, we decided to do a written preview this week and invited contributions from those who have appeared on our preview panels this season. We asked all of our contributors to predict their winners and to give a comment on the Senior hurling final. In addition, Ed Rowsome provides an overview of the Junior, Intermediate A and Intermediate finals.

Junior Hurling Final:

Ed’s Verdict:

St Martins v Horeswood promises to be a high scoring game when one considers the scoring capabilities of both sets of attackers with St Martins boasting 5 former county minor forwards and Horeswood with 3 along with midfielders Jamie Meyler and Declan Murphy who are no strangers to raising flags themselves.  I believe the Wexford Park pitch will suit the young Martins outfit, coupled with the senior experience of Mark Maloney, Eoin O’Leary, Philip Dempsey and Darren Codd will swing in St Martins favour. Michael O’Hanlon is putting up huge tallies for the Horeswood men but I’m going for St Martins by 3 pts.

Darren Stamp: Horeswood

Eamonn Furlong: Horeswood

MJ Furlong: Horeswood

Peter Mernagh: St Martin’s

Paul Laffan: Horeswood

Des Mythen: St Martin’s

Richie Flynn: Both teams overcame Rathnure in this years championship. Horeswood with a little more ease. On that basis I would give them the edge slightly. Horeswood by 1-3points. 

Benny Jordan: St Martin’s

Intermediate ‘A’ Final:

Ed’s Verdict:

Craanford v Gusserane. I was very impressed with Craanford in the semi-final. Managed by Leighton Glynn, they started with 5 players just out of minor grade and surely Wexford park will suit them; players like Aodhan Whitty, Ollie Doran, Kevin Poole and the experienced Michael O’Loughlin will pose a constant danger to Gusserane’s defence. Gusserane will look to players like Graeme Cullen, Mark O’Neill, Sean ‘mini’ Ryan, Sam Wall and the excellent Gavin Sheehan for inspiration, not forgetting Adrian Redmond who is capable of scoring freely. This game has the potential to go to the wire and for me the clash of Niall Bierney and Sam Wall could go a long way to deciding the outcome. Gusserane by 2 points.

Darren Stamp: Gusserane

Eamonn Furlong: Craanford

MJ Furlong: Craanford

Peter Mernagh: Gusserane

Paul Laffan: Gusserane

Des Mythen: Craanford

Richie Flynn: I didn’t get to see either team in action this year but based on their results to date and how their opposition in early games have progressed I am giving Craanford the vote. Craanford by 1-3points. 

Benny Jordan: Craanford

Intermediate Final:

Buffers Alley v Crossabeg Ballymurn

Betting: Buffers Alley 8/11, Draw 8/1, Crossabeg 5/4

Ed’s Verdict:

Buffers Alley v Crossabeg Ballymurn. The latter overcame HWH Bunclody in a mouth-watering contest and in their panel they possess some of the finest hurlers in the county. Men like the Devereux brothers, the 2 Foleys, the wholehearted Shane O’ Rourke, Tony murphy and that magician Niall Murphy will not be found wanting in any company while the alley have in their armour Ollie O’Leary in goal, the inform Pat Kenny, the rejuvenated Bobby Kenny and of course Andrew Kenny. Both half-back lines are extremely strong with Ross Donohoe, John Farrell and Sean Murphy playing brilliantly for the Alley, while Conor and Paddy Devereux flank the superb Paudie Foley on the Ballymurn side. Whichever half-forward line gets on top I think will win a close contest. The match up of the day must surely be Tony Murphy on the edge of the square against that great Buffers Alley warrior Ciaran Kenny. With the current restrictions, spare a thought for men like the Mcdonald brothers and Johnny Murphy from Ballymurn and the Dorans and Butlers from buffers alley who have graced Irelands green fields with distinction but will not be in attendance. I think this one will be close but something tells me the Alley will sneak it.

Darren Stamp: Crossabeg

Eamonn Furlong: Buffers Alley

MJ Furlong: Crossabeg

Peter Mernagh: Buffers Alley

Paul Laffan: Crossabeg

Des Mythen: Crossabeg

Richie Flynn: I was lucky enough to see both teams in action twice this year and based on what I’ve seen this has the making for a cracker of a game. Very difficult to call but I’ll go for Crossabeg Ballymurn by 1-3 points.

Benny Jordan: Buffers Alley 

Senior Final:

Naomh Eanna v Shelmaliers:

Betting: Naomh Eanna Evens, Draw 8/1, Shels Evens

Ed Rowsome: In what has been the best hurling championship in recent years this game appears to have all the ingredients for a thriller. Since the knock out stages the Shels are the form team, boosted by a very strong defence, a huge work-rate and an ability to score from distance. They had 11 different scorers last Sunday against a very well organised Glynn/Barntown outfit and the clash of Aidan Cash and Conor McDonald promises to be intriguing to say the least. Gorey have won their 4 games so far by small margins and that’s a sign of a good team. If it’s tight on Sunday they definitely will have the belief needed to win. Most commentators are siding with the Castlebridge men but if the deadly duo McDonald and Dunbar hit the form like they did in the 2018 co final we could see the title heading to Gorey for the second time. The 3 Doyles, Benny and Pedro Travers and Gary Molloy have stood out for Gorey this year, while the performances of impressive debutants Jack Cushe and Cian Molloy bodes well for the Naomh Eanna team. I count myself very lucky to have seen so many great centre back displays in Wexford club hurling over the yrs. Men like Mick Jacob, Colm Doran, Adrian Fenlon, George O’Connor, Ger Flood, Paul Gahan, Liam Dunne, James O’Connor, Mick O’Leary, Darren Stamp, Colm Whelan, Ciaran Kenny and the great Larry O’Gorman all had memorable games for their clubs in that position but I would have to put Jack Cullen’s display v Oulart last Sunday right up there with the best of them. He was majestic. I hesitantly go for the Shels to win, but beware of Gorey’s goal threat and their never say die ability.

Footnote: These 2 teams met in the 1990 intermediate final and 2 of the best displays on the day were from Declan Hearne in goal and Ger Cushe full back. Both have sons involved in this final.

Darren Stamp: I don’t think Gorey are playing well enough to trouble the Shels running game and intensity in the tackle.  I’ll go with the Shels to win by 5/6 points.

Eamonn Furlong: Gorey have ground out 3 victories from losing positions this year and if they hit form see them winning by3/4

MJ Furlong: In relation to Senior, whilst Shels have a well balanced side with plenty of experience. I feel Gorey have the desire to win back the title last held in 2018. They are a talented bunch throughout the field with match winners capable of deciding the game.

Peter Mernagh: The Shelmaliers appear to be in better form, whilst Gorey have already beaten the Shels, and displayed their ability to win tight games. Last year these teams played out a draw in Monamolin, while only a point separated them this year in Bellefield, so I could see this game going to extra time. If it does, I believe the greater strength in depth of the Shels would be enough to see them prevail by 2/3 points. 

Paul Laffan: I feel that Gorey have the players to stifle Shels running game and in Conor McDonald a player whom Shels will struggle to contain. Gorey by 2.

Des Mythen: On current form you would have to think Shels are favourites as they have been in great form especially against what looked like an impressive Glynn, their use of ball, their ability to move it through the lines and their sheer athleticism have all contributed to a final spot. Gorey on other hand have yet to find top form and could have been sent packing if Oulart had of shown a little more composure in the last five minutes. In saying that, they showed great character to pull it out of the bag. The introduction of Darragh Hughes and the unreal display by Jack Cullen were the main factors in this. Most of the game will be played in the middle third and that’s where I think Shels have the edge in the likes of Sean Keane Carroll, Conor Hearne Malone’s, Eoin Doyle are all having fantastic campaigns. For Gorey to win they need a big display from Conor McDonald and especially more from Cathal Dunbar. I’m going with the Shels

Richie Flynn: The Shels were very impressive in their last two games but Gorey have developed a habit of winning tight games by a point this year. Gorey won by a point when they met in round 3. It’s very difficult to call but I am going to give the Shels the vote to reverse the round 3 result and win by 1-3 points. 

Benny Jordan: I’d like to congratulate all teams on reaching the final and very best of luck. I think everyone would welcome Buffers Alley back to the senior ranks. The senior has the ingredients to be a cracker. I feel Gorey can edge out another close victory, led by inspirational Benny Travers.

The Cameraman: Shelmaliers to become the first team since St Anne’s, in 2000, to win the senior hurling and senior football double.

Congratulations to all sets of players, management and officials for making the county finals. We wish the best of luck to all teams and match officials. Let’s hope we have 4 really close and exciting games.

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