Cushinstown create upset
Place in last eight secured
IT’S NOW eight years since Rathgarogue-Cushinstown were last Senior, but they have given themselves a fighter’s chance of a surprise return with victory over St. James’ in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group A in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Sunday.
Most observers wouldn’t give this developing team much of a chance in the coming weeks, given how loaded this championship is, but one thing is for sure: prepare for a tough, competitive fixture against them or risk elimination.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown could have crumbled in this game, and maybe in previous years they would have when Mark Myler forced a close-range pull over the line after a goalmouth scramble to tie the game with eleven minutes left (0-12 to 1-9).
Not this group of players, not now. Instead they re-grouped, stopped St. James’ from scoring in over 16 minutes of action, chipped away with points at the other end and came away with the win they needed to nab fourth spot.
Things looked to be going smoothly in the opening quarter. Ollie Bolger and Tadhg Cody were on the board early, Shane Murphy responded, but points from Daniel Martin Carroll, Brian O’Neill and Paudie McGrath gave Rathgarogue-Cushinstown a 0-6 to 0-2 lead after just eleven minutes.
St. James’ did start to get a foothold as the half wore on but were still 0-8 to 0-3 behind after Matthew Cody popped one over with eight minutes left in the half.
However, Murphy kept registering frees at the other end and Michael O’Grady pointed to leave it finely balanced at 0-9 to 0-7 at the break.
There were just four points total scored in the third quarter but Rathgarogue-Cushinstown seemed to be on their way to victory with three of them, including a classy Daire Bolger effort.
However, 1-1 from Myler in two minutes turned the game on it head with eleven minutes left.
Ollie Bolger stepped up to the plate immediately.
He pointed from Bernard Furlong’s feed, knocked over a free after an overcarrying offence, and wrapped up the points in added time with a ‘65 after his own effort was blocked behind.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown will now meet the only side with a perfect record in the final eight, first place finishers in Group B, HWH-Bunclody.
A quarter-final match-up against Crossabeg-Ballymurn is a tough consequence for this flat performance for St. James’.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Nicky Sinnott; Peadar Cody, Bryan Cody, Ricky McGrath; Jason Dunne, Paudie McGrath (0-1), Eoin Porter; Matthew Cody (0-2, 1 free), Brian O’Neill (capt., 0-1); Robert Murphy, Daniel Martin Carroll, Bernard Furlong (0-1); Daire Bolger (0-1), Ollie Bolger (0-8, 4 frees, 2 ‘65s), Tadhg Cody (0-1). Subs. - Chris Kent for D. Bolger (57), Pat Murphy for T. Cody (60+2).
St. James’: Graeme Molloy; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Brian Molloy; David Doyle (capt.), Liam Murphy, Darragh Lyons; Daniel Keating, Robbie Barron; Alan Walsh, Matthew O’Hanlon, Donal Barron; Tommy Walsh, Shane Murphy (0-7, 6 frees), Michael O’Grady (0-1). Subs. - Mark Myler (1-1) for P. Barron (35), Greg Doyle for O’Grady (49), James Walsh for D. Barron (57).
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).
Peter Atkinson of HWH-Bunclody shakes off P.J. Carroll (Adamstown) in the Group B clash in Bellefield.
Shane O’Rourke of Crossabeg-Ballymurn on the ball as Eoin Doyle (Craanford) prepares to challenge in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.