Rousing comeback seals success
FERNS ST. AIDAN’S GLYNN-BARNTOWN 1-16 0-18
ANYONE WHO stayed at home in Ferns probably heard the roar from Bellefield at around 4.55 p.m. on Sunday as their fellow parishioners sealed a precious place in the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship quarter-final in remarkable fashion.
Glynn-Barntown led by 0-8 to nil early in the second quarter, and then played with an extra man from the 25th minute until added time after an off-the-ball incident resulted in a straight red card for Brendan Jordan.
And the Wexford District side were still in the driving seat with 13 minutes remaining when they were ahead by 0-17 to 1-8, but Ferns St. Aidan’s played out of their skins in the closing stages as eight of the last nine points powered them to a famous victory against all the odds.
The class of Ian Byrne yielded a string of vital scores, including the last four (three from frees) in a heart-stopping finish.
However, it was all about the collective effort from the victors who didn’t want to endure the worry of another relegation final after just about surviving last year at the expense of Cloughbawn.
Their reward is a quarter-final against holders St. Martin’s, while the margins were so tight afterwards that nobody was fully sure of the losers’ situation without some thorough checking of the table.
And not alone are Glynn-Barntown out, they are also set for a relegation decider versus Buffers Alley as a result of scoring twelve points less than Oulart-The Ballagh after the sides both finished on three points, and with an identical scoring difference of -7.
That’s how tight it was, and it was impossible to envisage such a scenario when the wind-aided Glynn-Barntown surged into that commanding lead, with county Under-21 Rowan White opening their account after a mere six seconds.
Free-takers Gary Moore (three) and goalkeeper Mark Fanning (two) also contributed along with Michael Doyle and Craig Doyle, but Ferns got the lift they so badly needed in the 22nd minute.
Chris Turner did well to chase a seemingly lost cause and keep the ball in play, before cutting inside an unleashing a shot. Fanning managed to keep it out, but the rebound was swept to the net by Christopher O’Connor (0-8 to 1-0).
The Ferns joy was shortlived however, as an off-the-ball incident after Michael Doyle struck a point led to the dismissal of Brendan Jordan after referee James Owens consulted with two umpires and linesman David O’Leary.
The closing minutes of the half were key because, instead of hammering home their numerical advantage, Glynn-Barntown lost their way in trying to pick up Ian Byrne whose three points from play left a mere four between them at the break (0-11 to 1-4).
Paul Morris and Byrne made it a two-point game on the re-start, but then it looked like Glynn-Barntown had fully settled as a run of four unanswered scores at one stage eventually left them six clear heading into the closing quarter.
Ferns were fantastic when it really mattered though, and it certainly wasn’t fully due to the advantage of the elements as they really thundered into the game all over the field.
Slowly but surely they whittled down the lead, bypassing free man John Leacy as often as possible and hitting a remarkable seven points in succession between the 48th and 62nd minutes thanks to Byrne, Tommy Dwyer, Gavin Bailey, substitute Eoin Murphy, and a Byrne treble including two from frees.
Glynn-Barntown levelled nearly two minutes into added time when David Clarke fed Rowan White who split the posts from the left wing, their first score in almost quarter of an hour.
They would have qualified in the event of a draw, but Ferns needed the win and really went for it.
And the red and whites struck gold deep into the seven and a half added minutes when White was red carded for a wild pull on James Tonks, and Ian Byrne landed his ninth point from 60 metres.
He hit one last placed ball from deep inside his own half wide, but there was no time for Glynn-Barntown to mount another attack as their quarter-final bid came to a gut-wrenching end on a sweet, sweet afternoon for Ferns folk.
Ferns St. Aidan’s: Michael Walsh; Brian O’Neill, John Breen, Declan Byrne; James Tonks, Conor Scallan, Niall Murphy; Tommy Dwyer (0-1), Gavin Bailey (0-3); Jonny Dwyer, Ian Byrne (0-9, 3 frees), Brendan Jordan; Christopher O’Connor (1-0), Paul Morris (capt., 0-2), Chris Turner. Sub. - Eoin Murphy (0-1) for O’Connor (46).
Glynn-Barntown: Mark Fanning (0-2 frees); Jack Fenlon, Pádraig Donnelly, Frankie Hynes; David Clarke (0-1), John Leacy, Alan Cowman; Craig Doyle (0-1), Rowan White (0-3); Daire Barron, Brendan Doyle, Michael Doyle (0-3); Gary Moore (capt., 0-6, 4 frees), Michael O’Regan (0-1), Ian Moran (0-1). Sub. - Barry Doyle for Barron (43).
Referee: James Owens (Askamore). A SCORE of 3-12 would be good enough to win many a game, but Oylegate-Glenbrien found themselves 14 points light in Bellefield as they were blitzed by the eager hurlers of Naomh Eanna.
Saturday’s victory for the Gorey lads secured them top spot in Group B of the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship at the expense of opponents who wilted in the face of Conor McDonald’s one-man hurricane.
The county player rampaged on the edge of the square throughout the evening, bashing in three goals and forcing ‘ keeper John Foley into a series of fine saves.
With Podge Doran serving as a similarly imposing target man at the other end of the pitch, a sizeable crowd at the Enniscorthy venue was treated to a goal every five minutes on average during the first-half.
The pace slackened in the drizzle under the floodlights after the changeover but three more majors were added before the end of the hour.
At times the hurling was exhibition stuff as both sides were already assured their places in the quarter-finals, with frees few and far between throughout.
Oylegate-Glenbrien used the opportunity to deploy 20 players, with all the chopping and changing doing little to help them impose any pattern on proceedings.
Meanwhile, Naomh Eanna’s more ruthless approach yielded decisive dividends as they harvested a helpful wind to build up an eleven-point interval lead and then continued to run their rivals ragged after the break.
The tone was set on five minutes when McDonald claimed the ball from a Jack Cullen shot which dropped short.
A desperate defender wrapped himself around the full-forward’s neck and referee Dan Crosby awarded the penalty, dispatched low to the net behind Foley by Darragh Hughes.
McDonald notched the first goal of what proved to be a hattrick shortly afterwards with an overhead smash.
Though Podge Doran responded in kind, Oylegate-Glenbrien were clearly struggling to keep pace.
McDonald tidied up after Cathal Dunbar’s sideline cut to claim his second.
Again Doran retaliated with a blistering daisy-cutter on 25 minutes, but there was no response after Dunbar’s goal left them behind by 4-11 to 2-6 at the end of the opening half.
They must have believed that the eleven-point deficit was not insurmountable as they looked forward to having the wind at their backs.
The problem was that by the time Doran added their first point of the second-half they had already conceded a further 1-3 to turn mission unlikely into mission impossible.
Gorey’s fifth goal, by the way, was rolled in casually by David O’Brien after some hard running by Pádraig Doyle had drawn the cover.
Though Daithí O’Mahoney thumped home a defiant strike to Kinsella’s net, the losing team then went 15 minutes without adding to their tally while Conor McDonald bulldozed his way through to beat substitute ‘keeper Kevin Cosgrave and complete his hat-trick.
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Peter Travers, Lee Kinsella, Eoin Conroy (0-1); Jack Cullen, Seán Doyle, Jack Cushe; Aodhán Doyle (0-3), Gary Molloy (0-1); Charlie McGuckin, Pádraig Doyle (0-3), Darragh Hughes (1-3, 1-0 pen.); David O’Brien (1-1), Conor McDonald (3-4), Cathal Dunbar (1-1). Sub. - William Cullen for O’Brien (36).
Oylegate-Glenbrien: John Foley; Ciarán Hourihane, Fergus Heffernan, Bryan McCormack; Mike Kelly, Michael Heffernan, Peter Rowley; Mark Kavanagh, Fergal Doran; Tom White, Seamus Casey (0-9, 6 frees), Daithí O’Mahoney (1-1); Fiachra Hourihane, Podge Doran (2-2), Conor Heffernan. Subs. - Conor Doyle for C. Heffernan (30), Robbie O’Connor for Rowley (35), Niall Parker for C. Hourihane (36), Brian Doran for White (36), Kevin Cosgrave for Foley (49).
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).
Alan Cowman of Glynn-Barntown is pursued by Ferns St. Aidan’s goalscorer Christopher O’Connor.
Glynn-Barntown’s Ian Moran is marginally out in front in this race for possession.