Mel­lows se­cure sta­tus

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BRIAN CARTY


LIAM MEL­LOWS saved their best per­for­mance of the sea­son for when they needed it most as two late goals from Conor Carty helped fend off a de­ter­mined come­back from Rath­nure in Sun­day af­ter­noon’s en­joy­able Top Oil In­ter­me­di­ate A hurl­ing cham­pi­onship rel­e­ga­tion final play at Farm­leigh Park.

Frankly, had the Black­stairs Men man­aged to get some­thing out of the game, it would have been an in­jus­tice to Mel­lows, who hurled with a no­table zip and con­fi­dence through­out.

Those traits weren’t al­ways ap­par­ent ear­lier on in the cam­paign, and hav­ing se­cured a 3-15 to 0-14 vic­tory, they will take time dur­ing the win­ter to re-as­sess and come back stronger next year.

A cou­ple of bel­ters from Richard Far­rell were among the high­lights of the first half from the vic­tors’ per­spec­tive, while placed-balls here and there from Colin Kennedy and Eoin Cullen meant they were ahead at the break in rel­a­tive com­fort by 0-10 to 0-6.

That gap may have been all the more sub­stan­tial though but for the hero­ics of Rath­nure’s net­min­der Sean Nolan, who pro­duced two un­likely saves from Cullen and Joe Gar­diner in quick suc­ces­sion in the 25th minute.

But Mel­lows re­ally en­hanced their sur­vival hopes on 34 min­utes when a fine catch from Mark Halpin paved the way for Ross Cody to gather and flash be­yond the near post for a 1-10 to 0-7 ad­van­tage. Cen­tral de­fen­sive piv­ots Shane Bar­ron and Teddy O’Con­nor shared the bulk of Rath­nure’s scor­ing, but a fine ef­fort from dis­tance by Sean O’Neill had edged them to within 1-12 to 0-13 with eight min­utes re­main­ing.

How­ever, Liam Mel­lows refused to panic as Far­rell found Carty at the edge of the square, and the county foot­baller drove to the roof of the net on 55 min­utes, be­fore he con­demned Rath­nure to the drop three min­utes later with his sec­ond green-flag af­ter been sup­plied by Cullen.

Liam Mel­lows: Dar­ragh Mur­phy; Frank Roche, Conor Cleary, Ris­teard Kin­sella; Aaron Con­dren, Danny Gar­diner, Mark Halpin (0-1); Colin Kennedy (0-4, two frees, two 65’s), Andy Mer­ri­gan (capt); Stephen Moloney, Richard Far­rell (0-3), Joe Gar­diner (0-1); Conor Carty (2-0), Eoin Cullen (0-2 frees), Ross Cody (1-2). Subs: Gavin Stamp (0-2) for Mer­ri­gan, Colm Mor­ris for Kennedy, Rory Hef­fer­nan for Moloney.

Rath­nure: Sean Nolan; Mick O’Leary, Shane Bar­ron (0-5 frees), Aod­han Fo­ley; Thomas Fur­long, Teddy O’Con­nor (0-4, one free), Alan Ro­nan (capt); Shane Mur­phy (0-2), Michael Martin; Paul Mur­phy, Sean O’Neill (0-1), Fran Mur­phy (0-1); Pa­trick Flynn, Kyle Byrne (0-1), James Flynn. Subs: Eoin Byrne for K.Byrne, Ciaran Don­nel­lan for P. Mur­phy, Liam Bar­ron for P. Flynn

Ref­eree: Paddy Brady (Bal­ly­gar­rett).

Matthew O’Han­lon of St. James’ is chased by Gavin Sun­der­land of Askamore dur­ing their In­ter­me­di­ate hurl­ing cham­pi­onship match.

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