Canning steers Portumna to fourth All-Ireland Hurling title
Portumna 0-19 Mount Leinster Rangers 0-11
Portumna fended off the challenge of outsiders Mount Leinster Rangers to win their fourth All-Ireland Club Hurling title at Croke Park.
A combination of experience and the clinical finishing of Joe Canning carried the Galway men to triumph.
Canning claimed a ten points tally as his side crossed the finish line with eight to spare at the end of a game that they never looked like losing.
The Carlow men, appearing in their first decider, saw a fairytale season come to a disappointing end, but they did their supporters proud on a very special occasion at GAA Headquarters.
Ollie Canning rolled back the years with a brilliant display, while Damien Hayes and Kevin Hayes were other key figures in this Portumna triumph.
Conor O’Hare executed a superbly timed challenge to deny Murphy a scoring chance in the tense opening moments, and it was the Carlow men who continued to attack, opening the scoring with a Murphy free in the fifth minute
But Canning was soon finding the range from frees, whatever the distance, after failing to hit the target with his initial effort.
Nevertheless, the Leinster champions showed no fear, and were two points ahead by the ninth minute, thanks to the direct approach of Edward Byrne, who powered through the middle to score, before Murphy clipped over another free.
The Galway men responded by reeling off six points in the spin to put the first-timers under pressure.
Canning hooked over a vintage effort over his shoulder, and split the posts from a handful of frees.
Kevin Hayes, Damien Hayes and Ollie Canning also got in on the scoring act as they made it 0-7 to 0-3 after 20 minutes.
But with the help of solid and brave defending from Richard Coady and Edward Coady, MLR broke the siege for Murphy to inspire their fans with the score of the game.
John Coady also claimed a quality score, but it was Portumna who went in with a 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead.
Paul Coady narrowed the gap within 15 seconds of the restart, and the Mount Leinster defence held firm in a scramble after Canning went for goal from a 20 metre free
Ollie Canning belied his age with a tireless display, fighting for every ball, and adding another quality point to the Portumna cause as they pulled clear approaching the end of the third quarter.
And with Peter Smith and the excellent Eoin Lynch stepping up the intensity, the Connacht men had the look of champions about them, six points to the good entering the home straight.
But the Carlow men believed they could still have a say in the outcome, and scores from Paul Coady and Murphy trimmed back the deficit.
But there was to be no denying the men from the west, and they closed in on their first tiel in five years with another volley of Joe Canning scores, the last of them confirmed by Hawk-Eye’s only intervention of the day.
Portumna: J Keane, G Heagney, E McEntee, C O’Hare, P Smith, M Dolphin, E Lynch, J Canning (0-10, 8f), A Smith, K Hayes (0-2), D Hayes (0-3), O Canning (0-3), N Hayes, L Smith, R O’Meara (0-1).
Subs: O Treacy for Smith, P Dolphin for N Hayes
Mount Leinster: F Foley, M Doyle, G Doyle, G Kelly, D Byrne, R Coady, E Coady, D Byrne, P Nolan, P Coady (0-3), E Byrne (0-1), D Phelan, D Murphy (0-5, 4f), J Coady (0-1), E Doyle.
Subs: HP O’Byrne (0-1) for J Coady, J Murphy for Phelan, W Hickey for E Doyle
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)
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