Oulart-The Ballagh win after remarkable revival
OULART-BALLAGH 5-17 R-C’TOWN 1-19 (AET)
OULART-THE BALLAGH marched on to the All-County Hurling League Division 2 final after a remarkable comeback victory over hosts Rathgarogue-Cushinstown on Sunday.
It looked as though the home side would cruise to an easy win when they led by ten points midway through the second-half but in a gripping finish, Oulart-The Ballagh clawed back the deficit to bring the game to extra-time before going on to record a tenpoint win.
The visitors raced out of the traps in the first-half and led by 0-3 to nil after ten minutes with a brace from Peadar Mythen and a point from former Olympic boxer Adam Nolan.
It took a while for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown to get going, but when they did they hit five points without reply which included an excellent brace from centre-forward Bernard Furlong.
Oulart-The Ballagh began to hit a lot of wides and Rathgarogue-Cushinstown extended their lead with wing-back Jason Dunne and half-forward Tadhg Cody getting the pick of the points to leave the New Ross District side leading by 0-8 to 0-5 after a lowkey first-half.
Following the break, midfielder Bob Murphy opened the scoring for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown. Points from Bernard Furlong and Ollie Bolger before a Chris Kent goal and a Tadhg Cody point made it 1-12 to 0-5 midway through the second-half.
Oulart-The Ballagh were not done though, and a superb goal from corner-forward Gary Murphy began the comeback.
Ollie Bolger tried to steady the ship with a pointed free but points from Peadar Mythen and another goal from Murphy brought Oulart-The Ballagh back into it. Rathgarogue-Cushinstown’s Brian O’ Neill responded and left the scores 1-17 to 2-8 with five minutes to play.
However, the introduction of Darren Nolan at full-forward along with a few positional changes seemed to turn the tide in Oulart-The Ballagh’s favour.
In a frantic last five minutes, they hit two goals without reply, from Jack Roche and a last-gasp effort from Cathal Kenny to draw the sides level at 1-17 to 4-8.
Oulart-The Ballagh had all the momentum and could have won it with the last puck of the 60 minutes, but Mythen’s free tailed wide.
Extra-time was all one way traffic. Peadar Mythen missed an early penalty for Oulart-The Ballagh after a superb save from Nicky Sinnott.
However, the eventual winners hit 1-4 without reply with Cathal Kenny getting his second goal to put them in command at half-time (5-12 to 1-17).
Oulart-The Ballagh added five more scores in the second period including a fine point from Darryl Gray to leave a final score of 5-17 to 1-19 after a pulsating affair, and they will now face HWH-Bunclody.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Stephen Doyle; Seán Murphy, Dennis Morton, Ian Storey; Jack Roche (1-1), Niall Redmond, Tomás Dunne; Cormac Finn (0-1), Cathal Kenny (2-0); Peadar Mythen (0-7, 3 frees), Adam Nolan (03), James O’ Toole; Darryl Gray (0-2), Michael Jacob (0-2), Gary Murphy (20). Subs. - Darren Nolan for O’ Toole, Darragh Nimmo for G. Murphy, inj., Barry Sinnott (0-1) for Finn, inj.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Nicky Sinnott; Peadar Cody, Paudie McGrath, Ricky McGrath; Jason Dunne (0-2, 1 free), Eoin Porter, Bryan Cody; Bob Murphy (0-1), Brian O’Neill (0-2); Tadhg Cody (0-2), Bernard Furlong (0-4), Paddy Murphy; Chris Kent (1-0), Ollie Bolger (0-7, 4 frees), Daire Bolger (0-1). Subs. - Colm Murphy for Dunne, Paddy Barron for P. Murphy, Shane O’Connor for D. Bolger.
Referee: Aiden O’ Brien (Cloughbawn).