McCrea earns Rapps replay
Deadlock with St. Martin’s
A LATE, late free from Neil McCrea rescued Rapparees as they forced a replay with St. Martin’s in this hugely entertaining Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship semi-final in Oylegate on Saturday.
It was impossible to predict a winner throughout this nip-andtuck game, and both sides would probably feel happy with the result, although St. Martin’s possibly felt they had done enough when Seán Stafford’s monstrous 80-yard free put them in front on the 60-minute mark.
But Rapparees fought furiously to win a free in the fourth minute of added time to deservedly earn themselves another chance at making a second successive final.
The game was high-tempo right from the start, with the sides level at five points apiece after eleven minutes.
Joe Cullen, Declan Ruth and John and Anthony Murphy were accurate for the Enniscorthy men, and Seán Stafford looked particularly dangerous for the Wexford District side.
Stafford gave his side a great lift midway through the half when he forced the ball over the line after Ben Stafford’s initial effort had hit the post.
The Staffords continued to add to the tally but Anthony Murphy kept the Rapparees within touching distance with three well-taken points and, with help from Neil McCrea, there was only two between them leading up to half-time.
The Rapparees were then given a huge lift when a long delivery was excellently read by Garry Murphy who flicked it to the net to put his side up by a point at the break.
Even though the scores didn’t come as thick and fast as they had in the first, the second period continued to be played in the same manner, with both sides tearing into proceedings.
Murphy and McCrea added to the Enniscorthy men’s tally, but Stafford was peerless for St. Martin’s, scoring points at will, and it seemed he would round off a man-of-the-match display with a long-range effort to win the game.
But, McCrea was cool as ice as he slotted over late in the game to set up another meeting of these sides - back in Oylegate on Saturday at 2 p.m. - to decide who meets Rathnure in the final.
Rapparees: Jim O’Connor; Declan Courtney, Eoin Quigley, John Barron; Mark Redmond, Declan Ruth (0-3, 2 frees, 1 ’65), Anthony Peare; Peter O’Sullivan, Cathal Ryan; John Murphy (0-1), Joe Cullen (0-1), Diarmuid Cullen (0-1); Neil McCrea (0-4, 3 frees), Lee Treacy, Anthony Murphy (0-6). Subs. Garry Murphy (1-0) for Courtney (29), Brendan Doyle (0-1) for Treacy (36).
St. Martin’s: Dylan Byrne; Jack Whelan, Philip Dempsey, Sam Audsley; Johnny Hamilton, Adrian Ryan, Tony Kelly; Donal Kelly, Ryan Murphy (0-1); Darren Jordan, Philip Waters, Adam Cantwell; Ben Stafford (0-2), Kyle Firman (0-2), Seán Stafford (1-12, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65). Subs. - Richard Devereux for Jordan (51), Alan Kehoe for Hamilton (51), Diarmuid Barry for Waters (55).
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).
St. Martin’s sharpshooter Seán Stafford taking on Peter O’Sullivan (Rapparees).
Philip Waters (St. Martin’s) in a tussle for the ball with Anthony Peare.