Substitute Conor Deane proved to be the match winning hero for Knockbridge as his two extra time kicked goals helped his side to see off a gallant St Fechins side in this entertaining Louth Special Hurling Championship Final at Ballybailie last Thursday evening.
The Termonfeckin outfit started the brighter of the two teams with young free taker Paddy Lynch firing over an early brace of frees, added to by a good point from the left wing by Sean
Brennan to leave their side leading by 0-3 to 0-1 after just five minutes of play.
Knockbridge got themselves right back into the game by the quarter hour as Mick Lundon netted from 13 metres with Sean Byrne also adding two pointed frees. The sides were level again on 16 minutes when after Sean Brennan’s initial shot was parried by keeper Brendan Mc Nally, Brian Stephenson pounced from close range to net the games second goal.
The sides went onto to share the next six points but a point from Stephenson, again, also from play was enough to leave the Fechins in front by 1-7 to 1-6 at the break.
Little separated the sides throughout the second half with the sides still level at 1-10 a piece after 51 minutes of play. Knockbridge substitute Conor Deane then made an immediate impact on his introduction as he scored two good points in quick succession.
A pointed free from Cathal Ryan cut the arrears to the minimum on 57 minutes and his side went on to earn themselves a 65 metre free in injury time.
To his credit Paddy Lynch struck over the free with confidence with what turned out to be the final puck of the match to send it into extra time.
Gavin Kane struck over the first point of extra time for the eventual winners only for the Fechins to reply with two pointed frees from top scorer Lynch. This game was ultimately
decided by the two goals kicked with the boot by Deane within sixty seconds of each other as the Fechins replied with a point from Donal Ryan to leave them now trailing by 3-13 to 1-15 at half time of extra time.
The Fechins failed to score in the second ten minutes period of extra time as the experience of Knockbridge got them through in the end with strong performances from the likes of Paul Dunne, Tony Teefy, Sean Byrne and David Kettle.
They wrapped up the victory with five unanswered points from the sticks of Paul Dunne (2), Sean Byrne (2) and Kettle to capture the Maurice Murphy Cup for the second time in three years following their last success in 2010.