Cloughbawn end on top
CLOUGHBAWN SMOTHERED the enthusiasm out Fethard in the battle for top spot in Group A of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Sunday.
Both sides had qualified before this match-up, both had picked up seven from a possible eight points, and both had only been previously denied victory by St. James’. That’s where the similarities ended as the Castleboro side bossed this from the off.
The game was pretty much done as a contest after the opening half and, importantly, Cloughbawn did the damage while getting everyone involved. If they are to regain their Senior status, this is a decent blueprint to follow in the coming weeks.
If proof of the gap between these sides on the day was proven by anything, it was the scoring stats in the opening half.
All the forwards scored for Cloughbawn, with Barry Carton getting the all-important brace of majors. On the other hand, Fethard had just four frees from midfielder Graham O’Grady to their name at the interval.
It was 0-3 to nil already when good work by Conor Harrington presented Carton with possession, and he set off on a powerful, direct run and smashed his finish past Seán Foley.
When Alan Carton became the sixth Cloughbawn forward to score, his side led by 1-8 to 0-3 in the 27th minute.
Already in control, an almost perfect first-half for the the Enniscorthy District side was further emphasised when M.J. Furlong’s point attempt came down off the upright, Carton hauled it in and quickly dispatched it past Foley to make it 2-9 to 0-4 at the break.
Cloughbawn scored just two points in the first 20 minutes of the second-half but they didn’t need to do much more than manage the game. Ciarán Dwyer became Fethard’s second scorer in the 50th minute to get his side within eight.
They continued to chip away with Garrett Foley adding three points, but Alan Carton and Harry Kehoe shared five late points to secure a comfortable win.
The victory and top spot ensures Cloughbawn theoretically get a favourable quarter-final tie against Shamrocks, who managed their first win of the championship season against Askamore on Sunday.
Given the form of both potential opponents this season, it’s fair to say that Fethard’s route to the semi-finals is now more treacherous. They will face-off against a tricky Adamstown outfit for a coveted last four spot.
Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, James Dempsey; Barry Kehoe, Conor Harrington, Johnny Cullen; Páidí Cullen (0-2), Colm Kehoe; Paul Foley (0-1), Alan Carton (0-3), Harry Kehoe (0-7, 4 frees); Bob Whitty (0-3), Barry Carton (capt., 2-1), M.J. Furlong (0-1). Subs. - Joey Lawlor for Dempsey (49), Colin Doyle for Foley (55), Thomas Foley for A. Carton (60+2).
Fethard: Seán Foley; Martin Power, Jesse Foley, Daniel Mullan; Rúairí Tubrid, Kevin Rowe, Richie Waters; Graham O’Grady (0-9, 8 frees), Garrett Foley (capt., 0-3, 1 free); Edmund Power, John Tubritt, Jimmy Sutton; Ciarán Dwyer (0-1), Darren Foley. Bryan Power (0-1). Subs. - Daire Barden for D. Foley (37), Brian Dillon for J. Foley (56), Danny Johnston for Waters, inj. (58).
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O’Hanrahans).