Wexford Under-20 lights it up as Ferns win their first ever county title 1 month ago

Wexford Under-20 lights it up as Ferns win their first ever county title

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Johnny Dwyer is the man. And he should never have to lift a finger in the parish again. In their long history, Ferns St Aidan's had never won a county title before but that all changed today.

Advertisement

As it turned out, Dwyer - a 36-year-old who has been playing senior for the club for the best part of two decades - was the hero of the hour because, after one hell of a battle, and with the pressure at its highest, it was his injury-time line-ball that won the game. St Martin's did have time to respond, and Joe Coleman pointed a last minute free to reduce the arrears to one but there was time for no more. And it was party time for Ferns.

Young Corey Byrne Dunbar was their star on the day, the Wexford under-20 scoring three from play and setting up a host of others in a brilliant display but this was far from a one-man effort.

Eoin Murphy was always a commanding presence at centre back for the eventual winners while, despite having his hands full with the electric Kyle Firman, their full back Niall Murphy was a figure of authority from start to finish. Diarmuid Doyle also looked threatening, at times, while Benny Jordan had the desired impact off the bench. Ian Byrne too, was influential for the 37 minutes his groin lasted.

Advertisement
14 August 2022; Ian Byrne of Ferns St Aidan's celebrates after the Wexford County Senior Hurling Championship Final match between St Martin's and Ferns St Aidan's at Chadwicks Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

St Martin's will be sickened but they'll have to be proud. They would hardly have believed you if, at the beginning of the year, you told them they'd start a county final without Jack, Joe and Rory O'Connor but due to injuries and an an emigration, that was exactly what they did.

But if they learned anything today it's that they've young lads they can build a future on. As mentioned above, Kyle Firman was on fire as he followed up his six from play in the semi-final with five from play today. He has the pace and the class to make an impact on the county scene. Ferns' Paul Morris, who scored two from play, was named the TG4 man-of-the-match but that was certainly a debatable one because in Joe Barrett, he had a marker who didn't give him an inch all day.

Barrett is only an under-20 but he lacks nothing in courage.

Advertisement

But this was Ferns' St Aidan's day. In his post-match interview, Paul Morris paid tribute to their two fallen soldiers who couldn't play on final day.

"Gavin Bailey out with a cruciate injury. Conor Scallan couldn't play after being suspended from the semi-final. It's for them lads as much as anyone."

Advertisement

Up in the stands, winning captain Declan Byrne was all sorts of fired up. And why wouldn't he be.