Goals the dif­fer­ence as speedy Gusser­ane storm past Ferns

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - DEAN GOOD­I­SON

GUSSER­ANE FERN-ST. AI­DAN’S

WHILE the old adage of ‘ goals win games’ is a mite too sim­plis­tic, they were the dif­fer­ence as Gusser­ane ripped past Ferns and into the semi-final of the Per­ma­nent TSB Ju­nior Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship in Bree on Satur­day af­ter­noon last.

The thing about goals is that they don’t usu­ally just hap­pen. There’s a rea­son why they are scored; a mis­take, a great piece of in­di­vid­ual skill or some­times even luck. How­ever, in this in­stance speed kills and it cer­tainly fin­ished off Ferns’ ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions.

The youth­ful Gusser­ane at­tack is hard to keep quiet for sixty min­utes. Ferns did a very de­cent job of it but the New Ross Dis­trict side are al­ways go­ing to cre­ate chances at this level. How clin­i­cal they are in their semi-final, and po­ten­tial final, will dic­tate if they take this ti­tle or not.

It took Sean ‘Mini’ Ryan mere min­utes to nab the first goal. He seized on a sloppy pass in the Ferns de­fence but still had plenty to do when he got pos­ses­sion. His legs did the hard work, rac­ing away from the cover and calmly fir­ing low past Niall Byrne.

While the breeze slightly aided Gusser­ane in the first half, it flipped to pre­dom­i­nantly a cross­wind pretty early on. They didn’t have too many prob­lems with the el­e­ments as Sam Wall wafted over dead­balls and Mark Ros­siter picked off a cou­ple of nice points.

Wil­liam Cullen’s frees kept Ferns in touch at the break (1-9 to 0-5). When Tomás Hawkins sent over a boom­ing ef­fort just four min­utes af­ter the in­ter­val the lead was trimmed to five. How­ever, Mark O’Neill ghosted in to net mo­ments later and his side were able to keep their op­po­nents at arm’s length there­after.

Ryan and O’Neill added fur­ther goals early in the final quar­ter and, while they didn’t score in the last eleven min­utes, Gusser­ane were rel­a­tively com­fort­able in the clos­ing stages and will fancy their chances in the last four.

GUSSER­ANE: Michael Ryan; Reggie Browne, Paul Wall (capt.), Jack O’Con­nor; Gavin Shee­han, Shane Cullen, Liam Dil­lon; Gra­ham Cullen, Adrian Red­mond; Gary O’Grady, Mark Ros­siter (0-2), Mark O’Neill (2-1); Sam Wall (0-8, 7 frees), Padraig Con­way, Sean Ryan (2-1). Subs: Ken Cahill for Browne (44), Fin­tan Ryan for O’Grady (44), Cathal Somers for Con­way (50), Jack Bur­ford for S. Wall (53), Donal Kiely for S. Cullen (55).

FERNS: Niall Byrne; Brian O’Neill, Colm Whe­lan, Peter Nolan (capt.); Jack O’Ha­gan, Tomás Hawkins (01), Padraig Walsh; Derek Thorpe, P.J. O’Neill; Paddy O’Leary (0-1), Ed­die Cullen (0-8 frees), Ben Cow­man; Conor Jor­dan (0-1), An­thony Dwyer, Ciaran Do­ran. Subs. - Aaron Cahill for O’Ha­gan (38), Keith Breen for Cow­man (38), Conor Do­ran for B. O’Neill (52), Pa­trick Tonks for Walsh (55).

REF­EREE: Gearoid McGrath (St James’).

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