Hayden saves day

Two late goals deny Rocks’ ti­tle bid

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BRIAN CARTY

TARA ROCKS MUNNA ABBAIN

TWO in­jury-time goals from Cathal Doyle and Dar­ren Hayden re­spec­tively gave Munna Ab­báin a sec­ond bite of the cherry when sal­vaging a 2-11 to 1-14 draw with long-time lead­ers Tara Rocks in Wed­nes­day’s thrilling Green­star Un­der-20 hurl­ing Di­vi­sion 3 championship fi­nal in Craanford.

With Ben O’Con­nor and Paudie Hughes in stel­lar form for Tara Rocks, they looked set to clinch a his­toric vic­tory when hold­ing a 1-14 to 0-11 ad­van­tage with time rapidly de­plet­ing.

But the Tagh­mon-Cam­ross/ Adamstown com­bi­na­tion re­fused to wilt, and when Cathal Doyle clin­i­cally stitched a close-in free, there was sud­denly only a puck of the ball be­tween the sides.

And Rocks con­nec­tions breathed a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief soon af­ter when Doyle’s free dropped into the net, but ob­ser­vant ref­eree Justin Hef­fer­nan quickly ruled it out for a square ball of­fence.

Still, all the mo­men­tum was with the New Ross District crew, and they lived to fight an­other day when Dar­ren Hayden prod­ded the re­bound to the net af­ter Seán Geoghe­gan had made an out­stand­ing save to deny Doyle.

In­deed, had Tara Rocks pre­vailed, they would have owed huge grat­i­tude to Geoghe­gan, who made a game-defin­ing dou­ble save in an in­cred­i­ble pas­sage of play around the 54-minute mark.

Firstly, Luke Sin­nott made some room for him­self and had his eyes set on the top cor­ner, only for Geoghe­gan to some­how get his hurl to his shot, and when An­drew French shaped to flash the re­bound to the net, the ra­zor-sharp goalie bat­ted away.

Re­mark­ably, two pucks of the ball later, Don­nacha McDonald coolly goaled to build that 1-14 to 0-11 lead for Tara Rocks that was sub­se­quently wiped out in dra­matic cir­cum­stances.

O’Con­nor was a buzzing threat up front in the first pe­riod in par­tic­u­lar, ac­count­ing for half of his side’s tally as they forged a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 13th minute.

Adam and Luke Sin­nott (free) and Doyle (free) pegged back points for Munna Ab­báin be­fore half-time, but they had hit eight wides by that stage as Tara Rocks led by 0-9 to 0-4.

While the next three points af­ter the break came from Munna Ab­báin sticks, Ben Mor­ris ad­vanced from cor­ner-back to point to keep Tara Rocks’ noses in front.

And it looked for all the world that they had done enough to take the hon­ours, but now must steel them­selves for a re­play.

Tara Rocks: Seán Geoghe­gan; Ben Mor­ris (0-1), Cathal O’Reilly (capt.), Liam McCarthy; Tom Mor­daunt, Seán Forde, Conor Hughes; Paudie Hughes (0-1), Colm Noc­tor; Robert Mur­phy (0-2, 1 free, 1 ‘65), Seán Bar­don (0-1), An­drew Mur­phy; Caleb Mur­phy (0-2), Ben O’Con­nor (05), Don­nacha McDonald (1-2). Subs. - Mau­rice Cousins for McCarthy (37), also Stephen Mor­daunt, Luke De­vitt, Pa­trick O’Con­nor.

Munna Ab­báin: Liam Stafford (capt.); J.P. Fur­long, Stephen O’Ke­effe, Tom Banville; Michael Dun­leavy, David O’Ke­effe, Dar­ragh Win­ters; Seánie O’Neill, Pete Mur­phy; Anto Roche, Dar­ren Hayden (1-0), Shane Lacey; Cathal Doyle (1-6, 1-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Luke Sin­nott (0-4, 1 free, 1 ‘65), Adam Sin­nott (0-1). Subs. - An­drew French for Win­ters (38), also John Banville, Adrian Doyle, Jack Whe­lan, Pa­trick Roche, Jack Mur­phy, Dy­lan Colfer, Páraic Wick­ham, Colum Feeney, Cor­mac McGrath, Martin Roche, Shane Doyle.

Ref­eree: Justin Hef­fer­nan (Black­wa­ter).

The Tara Rocks panel prior to Wed­nes­day’s county fi­nal in Craanford.

The Munna Ab­báin play­ers who se­cured a sec­ond chance at glory thanks to two late goals.

Anto Roche of Munna Ab­báin and Seán Forde in ac­tion.

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