O’Ke­effe puts on fine show

Anne’s power past Bun­clody

Wexford People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG in In­no­vate Wex­ford Park

WHILE ST. Anne’s had nine points to spare at the fin­ish, it was the ruth­less scor­ing power of Diar­muid O’Ke­effe that re­ally sep­a­rated the sides as they de­mol­ished the HWH-Bun­clody chal­lenge in The Court­yard Ferns Intermediate hurl­ing cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal in In­no­vate Wex­ford Park on Satur­day.

O’Ke­effe was in blis­ter­ing form as he de­mol­ished the op­pos­ing defence, with his two goals com­ing in­side the open­ing quar­ter which made the HWH-Bun­clody task even harder, as it helped his side to an even­tual 15-point lead and a place in the fi­nal.

They played qual­ity hurl­ing, look­ing like a side clearly in­tent on re­turn­ing to the top flight at the first time of ask­ing hav­ing been rel­e­gated last year, and they will now take some stop­ping.

HWH-Bun­clody to their credit turned in a bat­tling sec­ond 30 min­utes but they had left them­selves with an in­sur­mount­able task. When they re­flect on their open­ing half they will won­der how they were un­able to gain any type of mo­men­tum as they were to­tally static, beaten to the ball on ev­ery oc­ca­sion, while their full-back line was un­able to hold out against the power of the win­ners’ at­tack.

Their sec­ond-half brought a huge im­prove­ment but re­ally it was just dam­age lim­i­ta­tion de­spite their best ef­forts.

Diar­muid O’Ke­effe sig­nalled his in­ten­tions as early as the sec­ond minute. Col­lect­ing a ball to the left of goal, he rounded two de­fend­ers be­fore beat­ing Arthur O’Neill be­tween the posts.

With Billy Kelly (free) and Mark Fur­long ex­chang­ing points, St. Anne’s struck for the best score of the game af­ter just six min­utes.

Vet­eran David O’Connor picked out Liam Rochford with a de­light­ful cross­field ball, and the cor­ner-for­ward showed a neat first touch, gath­er­ing at speed be­fore plant­ing an un­stop­pable shot to the right­hand cor­ner of the net, giv­ing his side a 2-1 to 0-1 lead.

The mo­men­tum was with St. Anne’s and they con­tin­ued to press for­ward, adding points through O’Ke­effe, Jonathan Fog­a­rty and Mark Fur­long, be­fore a Fur­long cross picked out O’Ke­effe who crashed home a tremen­dous goal from 14 me­tres, leav­ing his side sit­ting com­fort­able and lead­ing by 3-4 to 0-1 at the end of the open­ing quar­ter.

Eoin Kelly and Billy Kelly man­aged to re­spond with points, but with Mark Fur­long fin­ish­ing the half with three unan­swered pointed frees, it was St. Anne’s who led by 3-10 to 0-4 at the in­ter­val.

Af­ter Ja­son Cow­man and Mark Fur­long (free) opened the sec­ond half with points, Bun­clody were now pro­vid­ing most of the at­tack­ing play, re­sult­ing in an ex­cel­lent 44th-minute Colm Far­rell goal, af­ter he had moved from defence to an at­tack­ing po­si­tion.

They con­tin­ued to press for­ward and three min­utes later gave them­selves brief hope when Peter Atkin­son knocked a loose ball to the net af­ter Red­mond Barry had par­ried a Far­rell goal at­tempt, re­duc­ing the deficit to seven points (3-13 to 2-9).

St. Anne’s would not be in the habit of let­ing a big lead slip, and they re­sponded to the chal­lenge with a se­ries of points from Fur­long and Sea­mus Mythen to se­cure their fi­nal spot against Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn of Mon­ageer-Boolavogue as the Bun­clody chal­lenge evap­o­rated in the clos­ing stages.

St. Anne’s: Red­mond Barry; Finn O’Driscoll, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O’Ke­effe; Kenny Cloney, Ai­dan Rochford, Kevin Han­ni­gan; Mark Fur­long (0-9, 6 frees), Sea­mus Mythen (0-1); Jonathan Fog­a­rty (0-1), Diar­muid O’Ke­effe (2-5), Jess Codd; Mikey Fog­a­rty, David O’Connor (0-1), Liam Rochford (1-0). Subs. - Brian Ka­vanagh for M. Fog­a­rty, Philip Raw­son for O’Connor, Fran­cis Simp­son for Codd.

HWH-Bun­clody: Arthur O’Neill; Martin O’Connor, Colm Far­rell (1-0), David Reck; Conor Crean, Seán Kenny, Enda Slevin (0-2); Billy Kelly (0-4 frees), Ai­dan Nolan; Ed­ward Dun­bar, Eoin Kelly (0-2), Peter Atkin­son (1-1); Podge Ke­hoe (0-1), Ro­nan Roberts, Ja­son Cow­man (0-1). Subs. - James Moor­head for Roberts, Cathal Doyle for Cow­man, Niall Kelly for Dun­bar, Conor Hen­drick for Reck.

Ref­eree: Pat Ke­hoe (Rath­garogue-Cushin­stown).

Mark Fur­long and Jonathan Fog­a­rty of St. Anne’s give chase to HWH-Bun­clody’s Ai­dan Nolan.

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