PAT’S POWER TO FINAL
Wicklow side will face stiffer task in decider
ST. PATRICK'S journey in the Leinster Club Hurling League Division 3 continued when they played host to Ringtown of Westmeath in the semi-final. The game was played in excellent conditions at Dunbur Park on Saturday evening last.
The Wicklow town side came through their section undefeated after they scored victories over Clan Na Gael Fontoneys, Kill, and Saint Fechins, and this resulted in James Quirk's side qualifying for a quarter-final clash with Eire Og Greystones and after a battle, St. Patrick's emerged winners to set up a meeting with Ringtown.
The end result saw the Wicklow town side emerge victorious with an eleven point winning margin after they dominated from the start to finish against a disappointing Ringtown side who failed to put up any challenge to the winners during the entire 60 minutes.
The home side won the toss and team captain, Andy O'Brien elected to play against a strong breeze which was blowing away from the town goal.
St. Patrick's got off to a dream start which saw Jack Mountgomery force a save from goalkeeper Pat Burke in the opening minutes which resulted in a 65 and top marksman Andy O'Brien opened the scoring with a point.
The winners went on to lay siege in the visitor's half of the field but they failed to convert their dominance in to scores and they hit six wides in a row from frees and general play in a 10 minute spell without a score.
Andy O'Brien scored two points in a row the, both from frees, after Shane Doyle was fouled when he split the Ringtown defence twice.
Another attack was launched and after a movement involving John Connors and Brian Coen, John Dee O'Brien scored the opening goal while the visitors responded with their first score with a point from a free by Emmett Corrigan. The winners lead 1-03 to 0-01 at the end of the first quarter.
St. Patrick's continued to keep the pressure on and were dominant in most sectors of the field with John and Michael Connors giving polished displays on the left wing of the defence and it was only a matter of time that scores would come.
John Dee O'Brien landed a point while ace free taker, Andy O'Brien, struck two frees over the bar to give the winners a lead of 1-06 to 0-01 after 22 min- utes.
Ringtown were finding hard to get through for scores against a solid defence and after a brief attack Emmett Corrigan scored his second point from a free and, after both sides missed scoring chances, Andy O'Brien and Conor Maxwell exchanged points to leave the winners leading 1-07 to 0-03 at half time.
Emmett Corrigan reduced the deficit with his third point on the resumption following a foul on half time substitute, Antony Nea, at this stage St. Patrick's upped the tempo once more and went on to take control in every sector of the field and they started to use the open spaces of the park with some delightful hurling being played which resulted in the winners extending their lead through Andy O'Brien with two points from frees. Outstanding wing back, John Connors, added a point from play while midfielder, Conor Maxwell, replied with a point which left St. Patrick's leading on a score of 1- 10 to 0-05 with 12 minutes left to play.
The winners could have being further ahead were it not for a double super save by impressive goalkeeper, Pat Burke, from Andy O'Brien and Brian Coen.
With the home defence putting up the shutters and midfield pairing of Brain Coen and Shane Doyle showing great work rate and with the forwards working as a unit they went on to add six points through Andy O'Brien (three frees) and singles from John Dee O'Brien, Michael Connors and Mick O'Brien which gave the home side a commanding lead of 1-16 to 0-06.
At this stage a brief melee took place which resulted in referee, Justin Heffernan, taking action and St. Patrick's' Gerry Connors and Ringtown's top scorer, Emmett Corrigan, both being shown red cards.
Ringtown, with time almost up, scored a goal through half time substitute, Kevin Nea, after a mix up in the home defence while it was only fitting that Andy O'Brien should close the scoring with a point deep into injury time which saw St. Patrick's run out convincing winners and they should be happy having reached this year's final after being beaten by Ballyboden St. Enda's at the semi-final stage last year.
On the basis of this display the winners should not get carried away after this easy victory as the opposition was poor and they would be well advised to take nothing for granted in the final as a stern test lies ahead when they face Na Fianna from Dublin.
Scorers for St. Patrick's: Andy O'Brien 0-11 (7f), John Dee O'Brien 1-02, Michael Connors 0-02, John Connors 0-01, Mick O'Brien 0-01.
Ringtown: Kevin Nea 1-00, Emmett Corrigan 0-04 (all frees), Conor Maxwell 0-02,
Michael Mullane; Sean Callaghan, Tom Berry, Michael Connors; John Connors, Gerry Connors, Andrew Conway; Brian Coen, Shane Doyle; Jack Mountgormey, John Dee O'Brien, James O'Brien; Mick O'Brien, Andy O'Brien, John O'Brien. SUBS: Andy O'Brien for James O'Brien, Robin Mooney for Jack Mountgormey, Myles O'Brien for John O'Brien, Chris Kavanagh for John Dee O'Brien, Graham O'Brien for Mick O'Brien.
Pat Burke; Frankie Boyhan, John Macken, Tomas Daniels; Matthew Hurley, Paul Smith, Brian Brophy; James Boylan, Conor Maxwell; Emmet Corrigan, Keith Melia, Aiden Grady; David Hara, Damian Moran, Conor Grady. SUBS Antony Nea for David O'Hara, Kevin Nea for Damian Moran. VENUE: Dunbur Park
REFEREE: Justin Heffernan (Wexford)
Ringtown's Paul Smith tries to halt the progress of St Pat's Andy O'Brien during the Leinster hurling league semi-final. Picture: Garry O'Neill