Harry seals deal

Late goal earns win for Clough­bawn

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - ALAN AH­ERNE


A HARRY Ke­hoe goal with just over one minute of nor­mal time re­main­ing de­cided the out­come in In­no­vate Wex­ford Park on Satur­day as Clough­bawn even­tu­ally shook off the per­sis­tent HWH-Bun­clody chal­lenge to ad­vance to The Court­yard Ferns In­ter­me­di­ate hurl­ing cham­pi­onship fi­nal.

The long-serv­ing county player ini­tially lost his foot­ing as he latched on to a hand­pass from Alan Car­ton at the Clonard end, but he still had the com­po­sure to di­rect a shot be­yond Art O’Neill and en­sure the form team are now just 60 min­utes away from an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the top flight.

Clough­bawn had to dig very deep for this hard-earned vic­tory, and they were grate­ful for a life­line in the form of an M.J. Fur­long goal near the end of a be­low-par firsthalf from their point of view.

A cross­field Colm Ke­hoe ball found mid­field part­ner Páidí Cullen who eas­ily rounded a de­fender be­fore hand­pass­ing to the vet­eran cor­ner-for­ward, and his kicked fin­ish brought the even­tual win­ners back to level terms (1-7 to 0-10).

How­ever, HWH-Bun­clody re­sponded well with three points in added time from free-taker Billy Kelly (two) and Peter Atkin­son, hav­ing shot just one wide in the course of build­ing up that 0-13 to 1-7 in­ter­val lead.

Clough­bawn put early points on the board via Bob Whitty and Harry Ke­hoe, with the lat­ter closely po­liced by Martin O’Con­nor but drift­ing from the right wing to the left touch­line from where he split the posts.

HWH-Bun­clody cap­tain Ai­dan Nolan was very prom­i­nent in the first-half, and he picked off a brace of points on ei­ther side of a con­verted long-range free from com­mand­ing cen­tre-back Seán Kenny to push his side 0-3 to 0-2 clear by the ninth minute.

Nolan and Kevin Dunne had shots on goal blocked dur­ing that open­ing pe­riod and, although Billy Kelly pointed from the two ’65s that fol­lowed, the out­come might have been dif­fer­ent if the green flag was raised on ei­ther oc­ca­sion.

The fact that the six start­ing HWH-Bun­clody for­wards man­aged only three points be­tween them is a trib­ute to the so­lid­ity of the Clough­bawn de­fence, and they re­mained strong de­spite the loss of full-back Tomás Fur­long through in­jury early in the sec­ond-half.

HWH-Bun­clody led by 0-5 to 0-4 at the end of the open­ing quar­ter af­ter Billy Kelly (’65) and Ed­die Black swapped points with Harry Ke­hoe and M.J. Fur­long, and the lat­ter sup­plied the pass for Clough­bawn cap­tain Barry Car­ton to equalise in the 16th minute.

Cor­ner-back Matty Byrne chipped in with a point in be­tween two more Kelly placed balls as a three-point gap was cre­ated for the first time, but that was quickly erased as Harry Ke­hoe was on tar­get from a free and a ’65.

In­deed, Clough­bawn came very close to rat­tling the net, as the lat­ter score arose af­ter Art O’Neill dived to his right to make a su­perb save from a ven­omous Alan Car­ton pull in the 23rd minute.

Ed­die Black and Billy Kelly (’65) left HWH-Bun­clody 10-7 ahead be­fore that M.J. Fur­long goal, but it was clear that Clough­bawn had a lot to do af­ter their ri­vals had re­stored that three-point gap by half-time.

There was a huge bonus for the side rel­e­gated from Se­nior ranks last year in the 34th minute when the tal­ented Con­nal Flood made his re-ap­pear­ance af­ter a long in­jury lay-off.

Harry Ke­hoe knocked over a free af­ter a pow­er­ful run by his name­sake, Colm, but Clough­bawn then had to im­pro­vise as the loss of Tomás Fur­long led to his brother, M.J., mov­ing to cor­ner-back.

Free-tak­ers Kelly and Ke­hoe ex­changed points be­fore Flood in­ter­cepted a poor HWH-Bun­clody hand­pass and left one be­tween them, and an­other Ke­hoe placed ball from his own 65-me­tre line lev­elled mat­ters in the 42nd minute (1-11 to 0-14).

Ke­hoe (free and play) then gave the favourites a lead they would never re­lin­quish, even though HWH-Bun­clody man­aged to nar­row the gap to the min­i­mum on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

That hap­pened first when Seán Kenny latched on to a su­perb cross­field Ai­dan Nolan pass in the 49th minute (1-13 to 0-15).

Barry Car­ton caught the puck­out and sent his high shot be­tween the posts, only for Billy Kelly to score his first point from play af­ter a Nolan pass.

A fine point by Bob Whitty un­der heavy pres­sure made it 1-15 to 0-16 for Clough­bawn in the 55th minute, and their ri­vals posted three wides from an over­all to­tal of eight be­fore Eoin Kelly set up Billy Kelly to leave a re­play a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity.

That like­li­hood dis­ap­peared in the 59th minute when Harry Ke­hoe ghosted in be­hind the de­fence to the right of goal where he was spot­ted by Alan Car­ton for that match-winning ma­jor.

Peter Atkin­son had a shot blocked in added time be­fore Billy Kelly closed the scor­ing with a con­so­la­tion point for HWH-Bun­clody whose loss will make them all the more de­ter­mined not to suf­fer a sim­i­lar fate at the same stage of the foot­ball cham­pi­onship against Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn next Satur­day.

It was their sec­ond suc­ces­sive de­feat in the hurl­ing semi-fi­nal, and third in four sea­sons, whereas Clough­bawn will now con­test this de­cider for the first time since 1973 when their one-point win over St. Martin’s earned an un­bro­ken in­volve­ment in Se­nior ranks right up to Septem­ber of last year.

Clough­bawn: Noel Car­ton; Gavin Mur­phy, Tomás Fur­long, James Dempsey; Barry Ke­hoe, Conor Har­ring­ton, Johnny Cullen; Páidí Cullen, Colm Ke­hoe; Harry Ke­hoe (1-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65), Alan Car­ton, Paul Fo­ley; Bob Whitty (0-2), Barry Car­ton (capt., 0-2), M.J. Fur­long (1-1). Subs. - Con­nal Flood (0-1) for Fo­ley (34), Joey Lawlor for T. Fur­long, inj. (36).

HWH-Bun­clody: Art O’Neill; Matty Byrne (0-1), Colm Far­rell, Conor Crean; John Dunne, Seán Kenny (0-2, 1 free), Martin O’Con­nor; Ai­dan Nolan (capt., 0-2), Billy Kelly (0-10, 5 frees, 2 ’65s); Tadhg Kelly, Eoin Kelly, Ed­die Black (0-2); Kevin Dunne, Peter Atkin­son (0-1), Cathal Doyle. Subs. - Ja­son Cow­man for Doyle (44), Enda Slevin for K. Dunne (53).

Ref­eree: Shane Quinn (Bal­ly­gar­rett).

Peter Atkin­son of HWH-Bun­clody flicks the ball away from Clough­bawn’s first-half goalscorer, M.J. Fur­long.

Peter Atkin­son stretches to hold on to pos­ses­sion with Tomás Fur­long of Clough­bawn breath­ing down his neck.

James Dempsey (Clough­bawn) bats the ball away from Kevin Dunne.

Seán Kenny takes a tum­ble as Colm Ke­hoe (Clough­bawn) moves in.

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