HEART­BREAK FOR RAPPAREES AS THE FAIL TO MAKE IT TO COUNTY FI­NAL

Dead­lock with St. Martin’s

Enniscorthy Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL HEF­FER­NAN in Oyle­gate

ST. MARTIN’S 1-17 RAPPAREES 1-17

A LATE, late free from Neil McCrea res­cued Rapparees as they forced a re­play with St. Martin’s in this hugely en­ter­tain­ing Per­ma­nent TSB Ju­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal in Oyle­gate on Satur­day.

It was im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict a win­ner through­out this nip-and­tuck game, and both sides would prob­a­bly feel happy with the re­sult, although St. Martin’s pos­si­bly felt they had done enough when Seán Stafford’s mon­strous 80-yard free put them in front on the 60-minute mark.

But Rapparees fought fu­ri­ously to win a free in the fourth minute of added time to de­servedly earn them­selves an­other chance at mak­ing a sec­ond suc­ces­sive fi­nal.

The game was high-tempo right from the start, with the sides level at five points apiece af­ter eleven min­utes.

Joe Cullen, De­clan Ruth and John and An­thony Mur­phy were ac­cu­rate for the En­nis­cor­thy men, and Seán Stafford looked par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous for the Wex­ford Dis­trict side.

Stafford gave his side a great lift mid­way through the half when he forced the ball over the line af­ter Ben Stafford’s ini­tial ef­fort had hit the post.

The Staffords con­tin­ued to add to the tally but An­thony Mur­phy kept the Rapparees within touch­ing dis­tance with three well-taken points and, with help from Neil McCrea, there was only two be­tween them lead­ing up to half-time.

The Rapparees were then given a huge lift when a long de­liv­ery was ex­cel­lently read by Garry Mur­phy who flicked it to the net to put his side up by a point at the break.

Even though the scores didn’t come as thick and fast as they had in the first, the sec­ond pe­riod con­tin­ued to be played in the same man­ner, with both sides tear­ing into pro­ceed­ings.

Mur­phy and McCrea added to the En­nis­cor­thy men’s tally, but Stafford was peer­less for St. Martin’s, scor­ing points at will, and it seemed he would round off a man-of-the-match dis­play with a long-range ef­fort to win the game.

But, McCrea was cool as ice as he slot­ted over late in the game to set up an­other meet­ing of these sides - back in Oyle­gate on Satur­day at 2 p.m. - to de­cide who meets Rath­nure in the fi­nal.

Rapparees: Jim O’Con­nor; De­clan Court­ney, Eoin Quigley, John Bar­ron; Mark Red­mond, De­clan Ruth (0-3, 2 frees, 1 ’65), An­thony Peare; Peter O’Sul­li­van, Cathal Ryan; John Mur­phy (0-1), Joe Cullen (0-1), Diar­muid Cullen (0-1); Neil McCrea (0-4, 3 frees), Lee Treacy, An­thony Mur­phy (0-6). Subs. - Garry Mur­phy (1-0) for Court­ney (29), Bren­dan Doyle (0-1) for Treacy (36).

St. Martin’s: Dy­lan Byrne; Jack Whe­lan, Philip Dempsey, Sam Aud­s­ley; Johnny Hamil­ton, Adrian Ryan, Tony Kelly; Donal Kelly, Ryan Mur­phy (0-1); Dar­ren Jor­dan, Philip Wa­ters, Adam Cantwell; Ben Stafford (0-2), Kyle Fir­man (0-2), Seán Stafford (1-12, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65). Subs. - Richard Dev­ereux for Jor­dan (51), Alan Ke­hoe for Hamil­ton (51), Diar­muid Barry for Wa­ters (55).

Ref­eree: Dan Crosby (Kil­more).

St. Martin’s sharp­shooter Seán Stafford tak­ing on Peter O’Sul­li­van (Rapparees).

Philip Wa­ters (St. Martin’s) in a tus­sle for the ball with An­thony Peare.

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