EARLY EXIT FOR OULART
Alley to tackle Glynn-Barntown in relegation decider
IT WAS a dramatic finish that the entire county has been talking about since Sunday evening - and it will have a huge impact on the likely destination of the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship title.
There was a sensation on a day of drama at two venues, with Oulart-The Ballagh crashing out of the race for honours when they suffered a three-point defeat to old rivals Rathnure in Innovate Wexford Park.
At the same time in Bellefield, 14-man Ferns St. Aidan’s produced late heroics to pip Glynn-Barntown by one point in the second winner-takes-all tie, sparking wild celebrations at the final whistle.
With those results putting Rathnure and Ferns into the quarter-finals, the attention turned swiftly to which of the losing teams would be meeting Buffers Alley in the relegation decider.
And it couldn’t have been any tighter, as Glynn-Barntown and Oulart-The Ballagh both had three points and scoring differences of -7.
What divided them in the end was the fact that Oulart-The Ballagh had scored 110 points over the five-game campaign, compared to 98 for the Wexford District team.
That’s how close it was, with that inferior tally ensuring Glynn-Barntown will now face the Alley in a repeat of the 2012 relegation decider which they won by one point.
It seems almost unthinkable that Oulart-The Ballagh are out given their wonderful achievements of the past quarter-century, but the results don’t lie.
It will be the first time since 1998 that they won’t be contesting a quarter-final at the very least. Twenty years ago the championship was run on a knockout basis, and Intermediate title-holders Shelmaliers beat them in a first round replay.
The eight quarter-finalists will now be conscious of the fact that the race for the coveted crown is wide open, although reigning champions St. Martin’s are still the team to beat.
Rathnure’s prize for dumping Oulart-The Ballagh is a clash with District rivals Rapparees, while Ferns St. Aidan’s will be in high spirits when they attempt to dethrone the 2017 victors.
Naomh Eanna topped their group with another polished display, and they will come up against last year’s Intermediate victors St. Anne’s, whose draw with Faythe Harriers was enough to secure fourth place.
While Oylegate-Glenbrien’s form has dipped somewhat in recent rounds, they had their knockout spot secured early and will relish the prospect of getting a crack at Shelmaliers.
The big winners on the last day of the group phase in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship were Shamrocks and Rathgarogue-Cushinstown who secured the last two quarter-final places up for grabs.
It was also a good finish for Blackwater, as their first win and a favourable result elsewhere meant that they consigned the team they beat, Monageer-Boolavogue, to the relegation decider versus Craanford.
The quarter-final line-up is: HWH-Bunclody v. Rathgarogue-Cushinstown; Crossabeg-Ballymurn v. St. James’; Adamstown v. Fethard; Shamrocks v. Cloughbawn.
A late draw in a very tense finish was enough for Tara Rocks to advance in the Top Oil Intermediate ‘A’ hurling championship at the expense of St. Patrick’s.
They will now face Oulart-The Ballagh, whose share of the spoils with Geraldine O’Hanrahans also saw the New Ross town team advance at the expense of Gusserane.
The Barrowsiders will meet Taghmon-Camross, while Liam Mellows will face Shelmaliers and Duffry Rovers are set to take on Ballygarrett.
Our Lady’s Island and Marshalstown-Castledockrell will be involved in the relegation final.
The Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship quarter-finals line-up is: Rapparees v. Monageer-Boolavogue; Horeswood v. Rathnure; Buffers Alley v. St. Mary’s (Rosslare); Ferns St. Aidan’s v. St. Martin’s.
The relegation decider will be a local derby between Clongeen and Bannow-Ballymitty.
In the Permanent TSB Junior ‘A’ hurling championship, the pairings are: Kilmore v. Oulart-The Ballagh; Glynn-Barntown v. Tara Rocks; Cloughbawn v. Naomh Eanna; Adamstown v. Ballyhogue.
The games will be played on the weekend of September 21-23, but this coming weekend the focus switches back to football.
All four Senior quarter-finals will be played in two Innovate Wexford Park double-headers. MATCH REPORTS INSIDE
Dennis Morton of Oulart-The Ballagh clears under pressure from Rathnure’s Shane Lawlor in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.