Kearns' late blow opens the 'gate for Faughs glory
Faughs claimed the Leinster Hurling League Division 2 Final following a battling 1-14 to 1-11 win over Wexford side Oylegate/ Glenbrien at Dr Cullen Park, Carlow last Sunday afternoon.
Their victory follows on the heels of a similar success for near-neighbours Crumlin 12 months ago and there was much to admire in the manner of their victory over an impressive Oylegate side.
The encounter was played in difficult wet and windy conditions but the quality on offer more than compensated for the elements as the tie ebbed and flowed throughout with both sides enjoying periods of dominance.
Oylegate started the better with three points inside the first five minutes from Daithí Ó Mahoney, Fergus Heffernan and Trevor Moulton, with Faughs grabbing their first score in the ninth minute through Colin Devane.
A Tom Kearns free brought the Tymon North club to within a point two minutes later and Marty McKenna's men received a huge boost when Mikey Ryan registered a goal directly from a '65' on 14 minutes to push his side two points clear.
However, the nip-and-tuck nature of the contest continued with the Wexfordmen enjoying a purple patch in which they hit five successive points from play with MJ Reck and Eoin O'Mahoney hitting a brace of scores apiece in addition to one from centre-forward Peter Nolan.
Faughs needed to dig deep to stem the tide with the redeployment of Ciarán Brennan to midfield working a treat while his telling point and two further scores from Tom Kearns helped leave Faughs 1-9 to 0-8 in front at the break.
The second half resumed in a similarly exciting manner with Kearns adding two points for Faughs to answer a point from Pádraig Doran for the Wexford men, while Oylegate then saved a penalty from Mikey Ryan with goalkeeper Michael Shiggins outstanding in his efforts to keep out the powerful shot.
Brian Dillon, Karol O'Brien and Tom Kearns added further Faughs scores to see them enter the final five minutes with a five-point lead, but any complacency was rocked with two minutes to go as Oylegate were awarded a 20-metre free directly in front of goal, which was duly dispatched by Pádraig Doran, leaving a dangerous two-point lead for the Dublin men.
Oylegate went in search of a winning goal but the Dubliners' defence, marshalled by Maurice O'Brien at full-back, stood strong, and, in injury-time, Tom Kearns fetched a high ball, turned and scored to seal a tremendous victory for Faughs.