Fab­u­lous Ferns!

Rous­ing come­back seals suc­cess

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - ALAN AHERNE


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.

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