Mellows make their goal chances count
LIAM MELLOWS booked their passage to the Top Oil Intermediate ‘A’ hurling championship quarter-finals with a workmanlike 3-9 to 0-10 victory over Gusserane in Saturday’s conclusion of Group B played at a blustery St. Patrick’s Park, Enniscorthy.
However, with Geraldine O’Hanrahans drawing with Oulart-The Ballagh at the same time, the losers actually drop to fifth in the final standings, as the New Ross town men snatched the final quarter-final spot on the head-to-head ruling over their District rivals.
Liam Mellows have now scored at least two goals in four of their five games, and while that ability will always give them a chance in games, it was their defence that really stood out here.
Indeed, Gusserane were limited to sparse opportunities in front of goal, the best of which saw Marc Halpin get back to make a crucial block on Gavin Sheehan just as he was picking his spot.
In contrast, Liam Mellows took virtually every goal opportunity that came their way, with their first major arriving on seven minutes when Brendan Halpin caught high above his immediate marker and kicked into the dressing-room end net.
Gusserane had nice points from Mark O’Neill and Sam Wall to bring up a first-half total on 0-4, but Liam Mellows took a firm foothold on proceedings when Conor Carty gathered a break off the grounded Halpin and bounced the sliothar off the turf and to the net for a 2-7 to 0-4 lead by half-time.
While Gusserane scored three times as many points as the Mellows in the second-half, they still couldn’t handle the twin threat of Halpin and Carty inside, as the former caught well again to supply the latter, and Carty blasted past the near post despite the best thwarting efforts of Micheál Ryan. The game petered out to an inevitable conclusion thereafter, although Gusserane came close to netting consolation goals through Kevin O’Donohoe and O’Neill as their season came to a disappointing end. Meanwhile, Liam Mellows will face Shelmaliers in the last eight.
Liam Mellows: Darragh Murphy; Marc Halpin, Conor Cleary, Risteárd Kinsella; Aaron Condren, Frank Roche, Stephen Moloney; Rory Heffernan (0-1), Ross Cody; Joe Gardiner, Colin Kennedy (0-5, 3 frees, 1 ‘65), Eoin Cullen (0-1 free); Conor Carty (2-0), Richard Farrell (0-1), Brendan Halpin (1-1). Subs. - Liam Coleman for Gardiner (51), Gavin Stamp for Cody (53), Stephen Rafferty for Cullen (55), Yusuf Frih for Carty (58).
Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Liam Dillon, Kenneth Cahill (capt.), Jack O’Connor; Adrian Redmond, Shane Cullen, Gavin Sheehan (0-1 free); Graeme Cullen, Páraic Conway; Kevin O’Donohoe (0-2), Sam Wall (0-4, 3 frees), John Roche; Mark O’Neill (02), Tommy Ryan (0-1), Eoghan Foran. Subs. - Jack Burford for Conway (37), Gary O’Grady for O’Donohoe (54), James Redmond for T. Ryan (57).
Referee: James Flood (St. Mary’s, Maudlintown).
Richard Farrell of Liam Mellows taking on Adrian Redmond.