Irate Pat’s up in arms af­ter exit

O’Toole the Tara Rocks hero

Wexford People - - SPORT - ALAN AHERNE in Mon­amolin

UN­RULY SCENES marred the af­ter­math of Satur­day’s Top Oil In­ter­me­di­ate ‘A’ hurl­ing championship Group A clash in Mon­amolin af­ter long-time lead­ers St. Pa­trick’s had qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the quar­ter-fi­nals snatched from their grasp by Gorey District ri­vals Tara Rocks in a tense fin­ish.

While the Bal­ly­oughter side had to win, a draw was all their ri­vals needed, and it was se­cured 15 sec­onds from the end of nor­mal time when Conor De­vitt’s de­liv­ery from the left wing into the right cor­ner was dis­patched to the net by Dean O’Toole.

Six added min­utes fol­lowed, and one par­tic­u­lar in­ci­dent in that pe­riod pro­vided the main talk­ing point and also led to ref­eree Ian Plun­kett com­ing un­der ver­bal at­tack af­ter­wards.

St. Pa­trick’s needed to re­gain their long-held lead, but they were thwarted as a Tomás Mor­ris free fell short and was bat­ted out be­fore the out­stand­ing John Doyle struck their tenth wide.

The cen­tre-for­ward had ear­lier ac­counted for 2-4 from play and, when a Tara Rocks placed ball by Niall Breen was de­fended, the Pat’s were awarded an­other free in their own half, and not in scor­ing range.

It looked like Doyle was trotting back to take it, but in­stead he called for, and re­ceived, a short pass, and that’s when the controversy arose.

In my neu­tral opin­ion, he was quite clearly fouled, as an op­pos­ing arm made con­tact with his up­per body and swung him around.

How­ever, a free wasn’t awarded, and shortly af­ter­wards the game ended and ref­eree Plun­kett was sur­rounded by irate St. Pa­trick’s play­ers.

He showed a red card to Stephen Ryan, and a yel­low to Richie Flood, but the fifth-place fin­ish­ers were en­ti­tled to feel hard done by.

While Doyle was still in his own half when the chal­lenge was made, even in the worst case sce­nario a free would have dropped around the square where any­thing might have hap­pened.

Amid the com­mo­tion, trainer Shane Car­ley took his Tara Rocks charges down to a dis­tant cor­ner of the field where no doubt they breathed a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief be­fore learn­ing later in the af­ter­noon that they will face Ou­lart-The Bal­lagh in the quar­ter-fi­nal.

While they led by the min­i­mum three times in the first four min­utes, they were caught nap­ping when St. Pa­trick’s fash­ioned a well­worked goal mid­way through the open­ing quar­ter.

Every­one in the ground ex­pected Tomás Mor­ris to tap over a free from the left, but in­stead he squared the ball to the un­marked John Doyle who crashed it to the net (1-3 to 0-3).

Doyle’s sec­ond goal in the 14th minute was even bet­ter, as he shaped to take a pot­shot at the posts be­fore flick­ing the ball into space over the head of the ad­vanc­ing Conor De­vitt in­stead.

He had only one thing on his mind there­after, bear­ing down on goal be­fore driv­ing a low shot across Tom Hughes to the far cor­ner of the net.

‘No panic’ was the mantra from the Tara Rocks side­line, and to their credit they pa­tiently picked off the points to leave three be­tween the sides at the break (2-6 to 0-9).

Free-taker Dean O’Toole ac­counted for three, with Conor De­vitt and Niall Hughes (back from the U.S.A. re­cently) also con­tribut­ing, but St. Pa­trick’s were really up for this one and Niall O’Brien, Paul McDonald and John Doyle split the posts at the other end.

Although Tara Rocks made it a one-point game on the restart cour­tesy of placed balls from O’Toole and Niall Breen, the re­sponse was ex­cel­lent as the Pat’s hit five unan­swered scores in un­der seven min­utes from Tomás Mor­ris (two frees), Shane Finn, and a brace from John Doyle (211 to 0-11).

The game was in dan­ger of slip­ping away from Tara Rocks, but they re-grouped mid­way through the half with points from a ris­ing Ben O’Con­nor shot, Niall Breen (free), and sub­sti­tute Colin Breen.

A trade­mark Stephen Ryan point, flick­ing the ball over a de­fender’s head with a dummy be­fore­hand, drew a re­sponse from Paudie Hughes be­fore vet­eran Pat’s net­min­der Stu­art Quinn made a re­mark­able re­flex save to deny Lee Ow­ley a goal in the 52nd minute.

The ’65 that fol­lowed was pointed by Niall Breen, but John Doyle left three in it once more be­fore the ex­cite­ment lev­els rose an­other notch, with Dean O’Toole’s coolly-taken equal­is­ing goal fol­lowed by that heated fin­ish.

Tara Rocks: Tom Hughes; Ai­dan Jones, Ed­ward Hughes, Cathal O’Reilly; Mark Boland, Conor De­vitt (0-1), Jim Hughes; Paudie Hughes (0-2), Niall Breen (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ’65); Ben O’Con­nor (0-1), Stephen Hughes (01), Lee Ow­ley (0-1); Pa­trick For­tune, Niall Hughes (0-1), Dean O’Toole (1-4, 0-4 frees). Subs. - Colin Breen (0-1) for For­tune (43), Bobby Hughes for S. Hughes (43), Martin Shee­han for J. Hughes (57).

St. Pa­trick’s: Stu­art Quinn; James Cousins, Michael O’Brien, Joe Cousins; Daryl Mur­phy, Richie Flood, Hughie Doyle (capt.); Tommy Dunne, Peter Roche; Tomás Mor­ris (0-4 frees), John Doyle (2-4), Stephen Ryan (0-1); Shane Finn (0-1), Niall O’Brien (0-1), Paul McDonald (0-2).

Ref­eree: Ian Plun­kett (Mar­shal­stown-Cas­tle­dock­rell).

Peter Mur­phy (Tagh­mon-Cam­ross) clears his line de­spite the best ef­forts of Joe Cole­man (Duf­fry Rovers).

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