The Nire 1-7 Rathgormack 0-9

The Nire survived a late onslaught from Comeragh rivals Rathgormack to take the Waterford Senior Football Championship title for the first time since 2018.

Teenager Aaron Ryan's 32nd minute goal proved vital as Michael Ryan’s men won a tenth title.

The Nire started the brighter and profited when Shane Ryan slotted over for the opening score on two minutes, but that was cancelled out when Jason Curry made all from a wayward kick out by Craig Guiry to level the scores.

The breeze began to pick up significantly and proved challenging for the forwards, but it did little to deter Shane O’Meara and Jason Curry who traded dead balls as the sides couldn’t be split in a slow burning opening quarter.

Curry punished another poor kickout by Guiry, before slotting over another free to hand Rathgormack a two-point lead on 20 minutes.

Sean Walsh and man-of-the-match Dermot Ryan did enough to bring the Nire back level for half time, but in truth, Rathgormack will wonder how they didn’t find the net after a great 1-2 between Jason and Stephen Curry before Tom Barron brilliantly blocked down James Power.

The second half got off to the perfect start for the Nire and they never looked back from that point in time.

Conor Gleeson hit a beauty of a point after catching a wayward shot from his teammate, before Aaron Ryan fired home the game’s only goal on 32 minutes after the ball broke kindly to him just five yards out.

Rathgormack’s profligacy in front of goal proved to their detriment as Jason Curry was the only one who seemed to find the radar, he clipped over another two frees but they were to little avail as Dermot Ryan did likewise for the Ballymacarbry men.

Rathgormack talisman Conor Murray was well shackled all afternoon but hopes were high after he landed his first point on 56 minutes. It was around that time that Jamie Barron was given a black card for a cynical challenge on Martin Scurry, and suddenly we had a two point game on our hands when Curry split the posts.

He added another late on as Ger Power’s side desperately sought to bring the game to extra time but that was to little avail, the Nire prevailing by the smallest of margins in an entertaining end to end battle.

The Nire: Craig Guiry; Tom O'Gorman, Jake Mulcahy; Tom Barron, James McGrath, Dermot Ryan (0-3, 2f); Dave Meehan, Sean Walsh (0-1); Dylan Guiry, Conor Gleeson (0-1), Jamie Barron; Aaron Ryan (1-0), Shane Ryan (0-1), Shane O’Meara (0-1)

Subs: Kyle Cuddy for Aaron Ryan (45); Michael Moore for Sean Boyce (54)

Rathgormack: Pádraig Hunt; Jamie Kirwan, Conor Walsh, William Hahessy; Glen Power, Jason Gleeson (0-1), Robbie Flynn; Martin Scurry (0-1), Michael Curry; Conor Murray (0-1), Jason Curry (0-6, 5f), James Power; Ronan Elliffe, Stephen Curry, Billy Power

Subs: Stephen Kirwan for Ronan Elliffe (45); Paul Drohan for Jason Gleeson (56)

Referee: Paddy Smith (Shamrocks)