BALLYLANDERS are the Limerick club football champions for 2014 after a 2-8 to 1-7 win over St Patricks.
It is a first Limerick SFC success for the south Limerick men since 2007 and their fourth crown in total.
This novel final pairing was the first time since 1999 that no west Limerick club had reached the final and what a final these two clubs served up.
Watched by 2,565 in splendid October sunshine in Newcastle West the football was end-to-end and remarkably all 18 scores came from play.
Ultimately a goal in either half ensured the Fr Casey Cup returned to Ballylanders and not to Limerick city.
St Patricks weren’t helped by the loss of key forwards John Mullane and Niall Phelan before the start.
But the Rhebogue club will have no complaints with Ballylanders bringing a perfect gameplan to the final and were deserving winners on the day.
The bookies had listed both sides at evens and they were very much right with little to separate the teams for long periods.
Both would have wanted a positive start and it turned out to be very much neck-and-neck for the opening quarter.
How it could have been different for St Patricks with Gearoid Hegarty goalbound shot crashing back into play off the upright in just the third minute.
At the end of the opening quarter it was the eventual winners that were 0-3 to 0-2 ahead with captain Jimmy Barry Murphy kicking two early points.
St Patricks positioned inter-county man Eoin Hanrahan in the full forward line and he had their first point.
Pa Mullins surged forward from centre back to kick their second but soon the Ballylanders sweeper system was working and deny space to the Saints attackers.
Balllanders were 0-4 to 0-3 ahead when they scored the first goal. It came in the 22nd minute when James Kirby found space up the right wing and he held his nerve to blast past Gary Neville.
Hanrahan did reply instantly with a fine point but it was to be the last score of the half for St Patricks.
Ballylanders went to the interval dressing room in high spirits with Danny Frewen’s point ensuring a 1-6 to 0-4 half time lead.
On a day when there was no advantage in the gentle wind, St Patricks needed to start the second half on top.
They introduced John Mullane at the break and his arrival in their attack appeared to create a buzz.
Hegarty got on top in the middle of the field and for the first 10-minutes of the second half it was all St Patricks.
But Ballylanders stood firm and were unnerved by falling into defensive mode.
St Patricks had points from Hegarty and Mullane but James Kirby’s Ballylanders point left it 1-7 to 0-6 as the game entered the final quarter.
But Ballylanders will know that all could have been different with goalkeeper Ricky Slattery saving from Shane Halpin and Mark Phelan. On top of this St Patricks kicked a number of wides when they were on top.
But Ballylanders didn’t panic and hit on the counter attack for their second goal in the 43rd minute of the game.
This time it was Danny Frewen who found the net.
Ballylanders were in defensive mode but when possession came his way he showed great skill to kick back across the goal to the net for a 2-7 to 0-6 lead with 17-minutes to play.
While the contest was entertaining, remarkably there was just to be another three scores.
St Patricks needed a goal but when it came it was too late.
Gearoid Phelan hit back after the goal but Murphy cancelled that out for Ballylanders. The St Patricks consolation goal came in injury time when Hanrahan blasted to the net after Hegarty, who was now full forward, passed his way.
SCORERS - Ballylanders: James Kirby 1-2, Danny Frewen 1-1, Jimmy Barry Murphy 0-3, Eoin Walsh, Brian O’Connell 0-1 each.
St Patricks: Eoin Hanrahan 1-2, Pa Mullins, Shane Halpin, Gearoid Hegarty, John Mullane, Gearoid Phelan 0-1 each.
BALLYLANDERS: Ricky Slattery; Maurice Kelly, Shane Fox, Ger Casey; Brian O’Connell, Donal Kelly, Stephen Walsh; Johnny Murphy, Tom Lee; Kieran O’Callaghan, Jimmy Barry Murphy, James Kirby; Steven Fox, Eoin Walsh, Danny Frewen. Subs: Mark O’Connell for Kieran O’Callaghan (26mins), Tom O’Dwyer for Danny Frewen (54mins).
ST PATRICKS: Gary Neville; Ryan Meagher, Wayne Cronin, Mark Phelan; Keelin Stephenson, Pa Mullins, Jamie Cross; Eoin Hanrahan, Gearoid Hegarty; Jeffrey McNamara, Liam Quinn, Mike Geary; Shane Halpin, Gearoid Phelan, Jason Mullins. Subs: John Mullane for Liam Quinn (h-t), Kieran Ryan for Ryan Meagher (54mins).
REFEREE: Denis Richardson (Murroe-Boher).