Guiney shows class

Glo­ri­ous goal guides Rath­nure home

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG

RATH­NURE BUF­FERS AL­LEY 3-17 1-16

RATH­NURE’S ABIL­ITY to fin­ish stronger was a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in their even­tual seven-point vic­tory over old ri­vals Buf­fers Al­ley in this Pet­titt’s Se­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship Group A game in In­no­vate Wex­ford Park on Satur­day.

Buf­fers Al­ley had gone out on a limb as they bat­tled to stay in this game right up to the clos­ing min­utes, but then it was the sheer class of Jack Guiney that even­tu­ally sent them to de­feat. With Rath­nure cling­ing to a 2-14 to 1-15 lead two min­utes from the end, it was at this junc­ture that Guiney took on the re­spon­si­bil­ity sin­gle-handed.

The tall at­tacker, who had struck over some splen­did points dur­ing the course of the game, lit up the sparse at­ten­dance with a sheer mo­ment of magic. Hav­ing fielded a high clear­ance out un­der the stand on the Al­ley 65-me­tre line, he rounded his marker and made headway down the side­line be­fore cut­ting in­side to fin­ish with a stun­ning shot from the 14-me­tre line to the right of goal, across sub­sti­tute ‘keeper Dar­ren O’Brien into the op­po­site cor­ner of the net for what to date is the score of the cham­pi­onship.

It was this mo­ment of Guiney magic that se­cured Rath­nure the points and a place in the quar­ter-finals.

This was in stark con­trast to the Al­ley who found scores hard to come by, yet they re­mained in the game un­til that Guiney in­ter­ven­tion. They sorely missed the pres­ence of the ex­pe­ri­enced Ciarán Kenny in de­fence, out through in­jury, while at the op­po­site end the main at­tack­ing threat came from the im­pres­sive An­drew Kenny and Paul O’Leary.

With O’Leary and Wil­lie Do­ran point­ing, the Al­ley got the ideal start to lead by 0-2 to nil af­ter three min­utes. Rath­nure showed the threat they posed three min­utes later when Guiney broke a high ball down into the path of Ciarán O’Con­nor who fin­ished with a fine ground shot to the net.

Guiney fol­lowed with a lon­grange point, while at the op­po­site end An­drew Kenny re­stored his side’s lead (1-2 to 1-1) with a neat fin­ish from 14 me­ters to the net af­ter ten min­utes.

Both sides were strug­gling to take a hold on the game de­spite con­tin­u­ing to ex­change points, but in first-half ad­di­tional time Ciarán O’Con­nor once again popped up close to goal to shoot low to the net, giv­ing his side a 2-8 to 1-7 in­ter­val lead.

Within 30 sec­onds of the re-start Kevin Roche pointed for the Al­ley but this was matched by a Guiney ’65. Two Paul O’Leary points, one from a free, left just two points (2-9 to 1-10) sep­a­rat­ing the sides.

But with Guiney and Ciarán O’Con­nor pick­ing off points, Rath­nure con­tin­ued to hold that slight ad­van­tage de­spite points from An­drew Kenny and an O’Leary free.

It was still con­tin­u­ing to be some­what of a strug­gle for both sides and one could see the frus­tra­tion set­ting in as the re­spec­tive at­tacks were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to ei­ther cre­ate clearcut op­por­tu­ni­ties or turn half chances into scores.

Rath­nure were cling­ing to a 2-14 to 1-15 lead when Guiney in­ter­vened with that one piece of goal magic.

An­drew Kenny and Guiney went on to ex­change points, but it was Rath­nure who closed out the game through points from Ciarán O’Con­nor and Ai­dan Red­mond, a fine ef­fort off the side­line.

Rath­nure: Der­mot Flynn; De­clan Fo­ley, Denis Ma­her, Antony O’Con­nell; Brian Quigley, Paddy White­ley, Ai­dan Red­mond (0-1); Podge Doyle, Eoin Bog­gan; Shane Lawlor, James Tobin (0-1), Richie Flynn; Ciarán O’Con­nor (2-4, 0-2 frees), Jack Guiney (1-8, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65), Rory Hig­gins (0-1). Subs. - Michael Red­mond (0-2) for R. Flynn, inj., Bren­dan O’Leary for Tobin, Flynn for Doyle, Seánie Red­mond for Hig­gins.

Buf­fers Al­ley: Oliver O’Leary; Paudie Reidy, Seán Mur­phy, Ciarán Mur­phy; Bobby Kenny, Ross Dono­hoe, Robert O’Leary; John Far­rell (0-2), Kevin Roche (0-1); Seán Og Whe­lan, Wil­lie Do­ran (0-1), An­drew Kenny (1-3); Paul O’Leary (0-8, 3 frees), John Lee Meyler (0-1), Pat Kenny. Subs. - Tomás O’Leary for Meyler, Dar­ren O’Brien for O. O’Leary, inj.

Ref­eree: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).

RYAN DE­LANEY’S grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion was recog­nised even fur­ther on Fri­day when Repub­lic of Ire­land Un­der-21 head coach Noel King named him in the squad for next month’s UEFA Cham­pi­onships qual­i­fy­ing round Group 5 clash with Azer­bai­jan in Baku.

The New Ross na­tive is one of just two play­ers in the 18-man squad cur­rently lin­ing out in the League of Ire­land, the other be­ing Ro­nan Cur­tis of Derry City.

De­laney joined Bur­ton Al­bion last year in a high-pro­file move from Wex­ford Youths, but his ca­reer has re­ally blos­somed since he was loaned back to Cork City.

He has been a main­stay of the de­fence in Turner’s Cross as the Leesiders have blazed a trail to­wards cap­tur­ing the Premier Di­vi­sion ti­tle af­ter a long gap, and they are also on course to re­tain the FAI Cup af­ter Fri­day’s 7-0 demolition of Athlone Town put them into the quar­ter-fi­nal draw.

De­laney is one of six de­fend­ers se­lected on the squad, with the most no­table name be­ing De­clan Rice of West Ham United who made his Premier League de­but in re­cent weeks.

Jack Guiney of Rath­nure plant­ing the ball in the far cor­ner of the net, well out of Al­ley re­serve net­min­der Dar­ren O’Brien’s reach.

Buf­fers Al­ley de­fender Seán Mur­phy is pur­sued by Michael Red­mond of Rath­nure.

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