Fr Dalton’s captain Padraig Nestor lifts the Mickey Power Cup.

McCabe wonder score seals historic victory for Fr Dalton’s

Slevin’s Coaches Senior ‘B’ Hurling Championship final: Fr Dalton’s 1-20, Delvin 3-13

A dramatic late winner from Owen McCabe ensured that Fr Dalton’s made an historic ascent to the top tier of Westmeath hurling, leaving Delvin – for the second year in a row – wondering what might have been.

In a pulsating Westmeath SHC ‘B’ decider at TEG Cusack Park yesterday afternoon, the Ballymore-based side lifted the Mickey Power Cup for the first time – the club’s greatest ever achievement.

Collectively, Ned O’Connor’s troops played the better hurling over the hour. But they found themselves on the back foot at half-time, conceding a sloppy 13th minute goal before Delvin’s Josh Coll bagged a second major to make it 2-8 to 0-8 to the Valley at the short whistle.

Fr Dalton’s needed an early break in the second half, and it came courtesy of a Brian Finerty strike moments after the restart. With the breeze on their backs, the men in green and gold kicked on from there and outscored Delvin 1-4 to 0-1 to level matters.

Darragh Clinton then netted for the Valley to break the revival, but Fr Dalton’s kept chipping away at their opponents and led by a point when Delvin’s Killian Murphy was dismissed for a second booking.

Remarkably, Delvin rallied, and a brilliant stoppage-time point from Dean Ennis looked to have, at the very least, forced a replay for the Maroons.

However, McCabe – who finished the game with 0-12 – shot the lights out with a difficult score from the right wing a minute later, and after soaking up some late pressure, Dalton’s prevailed.

The long whistle sparked huge celebrations from the Fr Dalton’s faithful, as captain Padraig Nestor received the Mickey Power Cup from Westmeath GAA chairman, Frank Mescall.

Saturday’s win was a moment to treasure not only for Fr Dalton’s – who reformed in 2007 after being defunct for many years – but also for all hurling aficionados in the county’s football-dominated south, where representation in the top tier of Westmeath hurling has been scant over the decades.

For Delvin however, it’s back to the drawing board, and while the defeat was in no way as emphatic as last year’s hammering at the hands of Cullion, it will sting all the worse. A tough 2023 faces the men in maroon, with Cullion now back in the senior ‘B’ ranks, while newcomers Ringtown will be champing at the bit.

Scorers – Fr Dalton’s: O McCabe 0-12 (9f), B Finerty 1-0, C O’Roarke and S Maxwell 0-2 each, C Finerty, K Martin, S Keena and R McLoughlin 0-1 each. Delvin: D Clinton 1-8 (0-7f), J Coll 1-2, R Kelly 1-0, E Carolan, K Murphy and D Ennis 0-1 each.

Fr Dalton’s: Eoin Moran; Donal Glynn, Kenneth Kincaid, Eoin Ryan; Colm O’Roarke, John Gilligan, Sean Keena; Padraig Nestor, Ciaran Finerty; Kieran Martin, Conor McNeill, Owen McCabe; Sam Maxwell, Brian Finerty, Jack Kearney. Subs used: Ronan McLoughlin for McNeill (47), Dylan Murtagh for C Finerty (47).

Delvin: Tadhg Kelly; Francis McGrath, Patrick Clune, Brian Herward; Fintan Cox, Adam Ennis, Dean Poynton; Paddy Farrington, Aaron Fenlon; Dean Ennis, Killian Murphy, Ronie Kelly; Eoin Carolan, Darragh Clinton, Josh Coll. Sub used: Conor Dolan for Carolan (59).

Ref: Jimmy Greville (Castlepollard).