Trip Down Memory Lane 2004   27/04/2020

Watergrasshill became the first winners of the Paddy Walsh Memorial Trophy when they won the Intermediate Hurling Championship at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The final was played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on 24th October 2004 and the day began with the Hill management team of John O’Regan Trainer, Jerome Buttimer and Frankie Halbert taking the team to the Church Road Grounds, home of Blackrock hurling Club, for a warm up.

Here is the subsequent write up of the match in the Irish Examiner 25/10/2004 by Brendan Larkin.

“They went in to this final on the back of losing to Dromina in last year’s Junior Championship by three points, and without centre-forward Noel O’Riordan, but the East Cork side produced a power-packed display and won the game far more convincingly than the scoreline suggests.
Watergrasshill lined out with a number of switches from their semi-final win. John O’Keeffe was outstanding at centre-back, team Captain Paddy O’Regan turned in a flawless display at midfield, while Paudie Cahill was superb at centre- forward with his excellent ball control and surging runs.
However, this was essentially a team performance. The Hill wanted this title far more than Dromina and their performance reflected that as they chased and harassed their opponents all over the park.
Nowhere was this more evident than in defence where the Hill’s full-back Brendan Kearney did a marvellous marking job on danger man Martin Finn, while the Dromina full-forward was his team’s top scorer with 2-3, 1-2 of that came from frees.
With Finn held, particularly in the first-half, Dromina lacked leadership in attack. Twice the usually reliable Finn failed to raise the flag from close in frees which cost his side easy scores and they were to pay a heavy price.
The sides were level on two occasions in the opening ten minutes before the Hill’s more direct play saw them take a firm grip, and the scores began to come. Eoin O’Reilly started the scoring burst when he touched home Paddy O’Regan’s long range free, and hurling with tremendous pace and skill, the Hill added six points without reply to lead 1-8 to 0-3 after twenty-three minutes.
Surprisingly, Dromina went eighteen minutes without a score as their attack failed to make any impression. For the second time Finn failed to lift the ball from a close in free before he finally managed to score from a thirty metre free, but it was only a token score.
The impressive Paddy O’Regan continued to show marvellous skill in pointing a long range free before creating the opening for his side’s second goal.
Another huge free by O’Regan dropped into the Dromina square to the unmarked Jason Foley and the Hill full-forward’s first time pull rattled the net and helped his side to what looked an unassailable half-time lead of 2-9 to 0-4.
The game and, more importantly, Dromina needed a goal if they were to have any chance and it came two minutes into the second-half when Martin Finn showed his undoubted ability with a rocket of a goal after James Hamilton set him up.
The score was a huge lift for last year’s Champions but inexplicably Finn wasted a great chance to add a point when he went for goal from a twenty metre free, which was easily saved. All credit to the Hill who refused to be ruffled by Dromina’s more aggressive play which over the entire match, earned them five yellow cards, and the East Cork side continued to pick off the points to lead 2-13 to 1-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Throwing caution to the wind, Dromina made five substitutions in the space of ten minutes, three of them together, and moved their full-back Liam Hayes to centre-forward hoping to retrieve the situation.
Hayes used his height and strength to great effect to win a penalty which Martin Finn blasted to the net, and he was inches away from another, his shot going the wrong side of the upright as Dromina swarmed all over the Watergrasshill defence.
As the tension and excitement mounted, Dromina forced three sixty-fives in a row, but their only reward was a point from the third by Raymond Crowley as the Hill held firm for a victory they thoroughly deserved.”

Team: Ger Cahill, Kieran O’Keeffe, Brendan Kearney, John Dorgan, Sean O’Leary, John O’Keeffe, Ollie Curtin, Paddy O’Regan 0-3 (0-2 frees 0-1:65), Sean O’Callaghan, Willie O’Leary 0-2, Paudie Cahill 0-2, Kieran Coakley 0-1, Eoin O’Reilly 1-0, Jason Foley 1-1, and Johnny Halbert 0-3 (0-2 frees).

Subs: Richie Cahill 0-1, Pat O’Brien.

Panel: Brian O’Leary, Richie Cahill, James Dorgan, Pat O’Brien, Paud O’Neill, Denis O’Leary, Bernard Kiernan, Michael Murphy, David Quirke, Jimmy O’Leary, Diarmuid McCarthy, Don Kearney, Don O’Riordan, Noel Cahill, Pat O’Leary, Noel O’Riordan.

Selectors: John O’Regan (trainer), Jerome Buttimer, Frankie Halbert.

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