Guiney shows class
Glorious goal guides Rathnure home
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.