Ac­cu­rate Mur­phy twins had Ferns see­ing dou­ble

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - ALAN AHERNE

RAP­PA­REES FERNS ST. AI­DAN’S

THE MUR­PHY twins led the scor­ing stakes in Bree on Fri­day as Rap­pa­rees un­der­lined their stand­ing as the top team in Group A of the Per­ma­nent TSB Ju­nior hurl­ing championship with a com­mand­ing win over Ferns St. Ai­dan’s.

Tal­ented teenagers John and An­thony both played at Un­der-17 level with Wex­ford in last year’s Celtic Chal­lenge, and they ac­counted for 1-9 from play be­tween them as the town side eased their way to­wards a quar­ter-fi­nal clash with an­other neigh­bour­ing club, Monageer-Boolavogue.

Ferns knew be­fore­hand that a de­feat would take qual­i­fi­ca­tion out of their own hands, but they were re­lieved af­ter­wards as Horeswood did them a huge favour by beat­ing the other con­tenders for fourth place, Faythe Har­ri­ers.

As a re­sult, the Gorey District side will also take their place in the quar­ter-fi­nals, al­beit as big un­der­dogs against Group B ta­ble-top­pers St. Martin’s.

Rap­pa­rees quickly es­tab­lished su­pe­ri­or­ity as they raced clear by 0-6 to nil af­ter 18 min­utes, with the top-scor­ing Mur­phys grab­bing a brace apiece while vet­eran cap­tain De­clan Ruth and Diar­muid Cullen also con­trib­uted from placed balls.

While the open­ing Ferns point from Seán Walsh was fol­lowed quickly by a sec­ond from Peter O’Toole, it proved a false dawn as the Rapps ended the half with a 0-10 to 0-2 lead af­ter Cullen (free), An­thony Mur­phy and John Mur­phy (two) added to their tally.

To make mat­ters even worse for Ferns, they had cor­ner-back Wil­lie Bolger dis­missed on a sec­ond yel­low card in the 28th minute, mak­ing an al­ready dif­fi­cult task next to im­pos­si­ble.

It led to a pedes­trian sec­ond-half, espe­cially as the lead­ers goaled af­ter just 34 sec­onds when Garry Mur­phy fin­ished a fine move fea­tur­ing Diar­muid Cullen and the Mur­phy twins.

Just one of the four Ferns points af­ter the break, from Brian O’Neill in the 49th minute, came from play, with free-taker Lee Quigley slot­ting over the re­main­der.

Although it wasn’t an ill-tem­pered game by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, the teams fin­ished with 14 and 13 play­ers re­spec­tively af­ter De­clan Ruth and Paddy O’Leary saw red for sep­a­rate in­ci­dents in the clos­ing quar­ter.

It was fit­ting that the Mur­phy twins should com­bine for the win­ners’ sec­ond goal given their huge con­tri­bu­tions to the win, with An­thony set­ting up John for an em­phatic fin­ish in the 58th minute.

Rap­pa­rees: Jim O’Con­nor; De­clan Court­ney, Eoin Quigley, Ryan Hadley; Mark Red­mond, De­clan Ruth (capt., 0-1 ’65), Nathan O’Con­nor; An­thony Rus­sell, Cathal Ryan; Peter O’Sul­li­van, Lee Mur­phy, Diar­muid Cullen (0-3, 2 frees); An­thony Mur­phy (0-5), John Mur­phy (1-4), Garry Mur­phy (1-0). Subs. - Lee Treacy for Rus­sell (38), Ro­nan Kir­wan for Court­ney (41), Mikey Dempsey for O’Con­nor (47), Tom Ryan for L. Mur­phy (58).

Ferns St. Ai­dan’s: Niall Byrne; Pa­trick O’Ha­gan, Peter Nolan, Wil­lie Bolger; P.J. O’Neill, Seán Walsh (capt., 0-1), Jack O’Ha­gan; Keith Breen, Peter O’Toole (0-1); Paddy O’Leary, Brian O’Neill (0-1), Jeff Tobin; Lee Quigley (0-3 frees), Colm Whe­lan, An­thony Dwyer. Subs. - Aaron Cahill for Tobin (42), Jamie Whe­lan for Quigley (46), Ciarán Doran for O’Toole (56), Ben Cow­man for B. O’Neill (58).

Ref­eree: John Diskin (Ban­now-Bal­lymitty).

James Ga­han of Monageer-Boolavogue tries to cre­ate some space as Conal Grant (St. Mary’s, Ross­lare) moves in dur­ing their Group B tie.

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