D day was upon us once again, the Western Australian Championship Final was set to start in blustery conditions in RA Cooke Reserve. Our lads were once again razor sharp as the warm up took place. A massive effort was made by players as Paul “The Prince” Birmingham flew back from Melbourne to don the mighty Sarsfields jersey for the last time. David Lonergan left Tipps defeat to Galway behind him and rearranged his flight to hurl a scorcher at half back. Big shout out also has to go to Sheamus Hayes and Eanna Meaney who worked their swings in the mines around to be there for Championship Final Day! Spoons had an early flight in from Thailand to test out his rubbery hamstring. A panel of 21 was bolstered for selection and the boys were raring to go.
Sars started the first half with a strong breeze. Scores were hard to come by in the opening 20 mins, but the always reliable and deserved player of the year Eoin Guinan didn’t put a foot wrong from placed balls. An absolute shindig of a hurling match exploded into action. Wise words from the leaders set the tone foe the day, fellas weren’t too sure if full back Fergus “Gussy” Shortt broke his hurley when beating it off the bench pre game. The words came from every mans heart and there was no err in concentration. Sars were up by 6 points heading into the last 5mins of the 1st half. Notable scores coming from the Jerrball scoring an absolutely outrageous side line and slinging two more over the bar with only one shoulder. Class was top notch from the full forward line. Sars were dealt a blow however as Western Swans managed to hammer home a goal just before half time. I reckon this might have gave Sars the proverbial kick up the arse they needed as stern words were exchanged at half time. Enter stage left Paul Birmingham to try win ball in the wing forward line.
Sars kicked into the second half with Eoin Guinan once again producing skills from the top drawer, scoring two pints from play. Work rate in midfield from Eoin Ryan and Alan Lynam was a sight to behold on the day. Alan was key to Sarsfields success as he worked tirelessly to win every ball. A miss hit shot from Killkenny man Andy Brennan lead to a ball dropped in around the mixer. Enter stage right, Scutch Flannery who pulled on ball and all to lash the ball into the back of the net. This gave Sars great belief and really spurred on the troops. The backs were hurling a stormer. Padraig Harding once again showing his unmerciful shifting skills in front of a packed crowd of Western Swans women who owwwed and awwwed at the man in the red helmet. Tom “The Gom” Gorman turned into JJ Delaney in the last 15mins, fetching ball and driving forward with his man not getting a sniff. I apologise as no great Laois full back comes to mind in the time of writing.
Paulie “Pa Pa Power” “The Lizard” ”I loves me county” decided he’d get involved. One of the best counter attacks unfolded as wristy hurling and shift hand passes lead to “The Lizard” absolutely stitching the ball into the top corner. “well done boi” were the cries from the sideline as Paul wheeled off to the side pointing his finger at woodbe Cork supporters, kissing his crest and generally acting like a Waterford hurler. Paul Guinan was bust between the sticks pulling off numerous top notch saves to keep the Sars in the game.
The game turned slightly sour as Swans were reduced to 13 men. Ciaran Flannery having a massive game at centre forward with his 2 new twins watching on. A proud family day for Ciaran and Anna, Uncle Scutch and the Flannery’s mammy watching on.
All in all it was a fantastic performance from Sarsfields, a game plan executed by communication, leadership and most of all a great bunch of lads. There was very little doubt about the man of the match, again the Duracell bunny Alan Lynam having a stormer. Massive credit has to go to all the lads who trained tirelessly all year to get us where we are today.
Lastly I would just like to thank a few people and establishments for another successful year on behalf of all at Sarsfield and a massive thank you to the Mighty Quinn Tavern who has unerringly sponsored us these past few years. Also a massive shout out to Kerry Blackburn in the Dianella Tavern who is always so welcoming to us post game. The WA Committee and of course our own committee who is maned so well by President Fergus Shortt. At this I sign out from match reports and hope all the lads have a successful weekend on the beer, a feat well deserved and one to be remembered in years to come. Sars ABU!!
Team: Paul Guinan, Padraig Harding, Fergus Shortt, Tom Gorman, Andy Brennan, Sheamus Hayes, David Lonergan, Eoin Ryan, Alan Lynam, Stephen Flannery, Ciaran Flannery, Maurice Madden, Paul Power, Eoin Guinan, Jerry Callinan.
Subs: Paul Birmingham, Conor O’Dwyer, Michael Raher, Jamie O‘ Keeffe, Seanie Dunne, Eanna Meaney, Kieran Lyons