Gle­nealy bow out

Wick­low cham­pi­ons come up short against Port­laoise

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BRENDAN LAWRENCE

GLE­NEALY’S hopes of an­other mem­o­rable Le­in­ster In­ter­me­di­ate Club Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship jour­ney met with a fa­tal end in dire con­di­tions in Joule Park Aughrim last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

A three-point de­feat to Laois’ In­ter­me­di­ate king­pins Port­laoise scup­pered any hopes of an­other mag­i­cal run to a Le­in­ster de­cider like last year and Garry Laf­fan’s men will have to look at er­rors, missed chances and a style of play that was found want­ing against a phys­i­cally pow­er­ful and ca­pa­ble Port­laoise side who seemed far more at ease with the con­di­tions than their Wick­low op­po­nents.

Gle­nealy trailed by 0-11 to 0-5 at the break but had the ben­e­fit of fac­ing down to­wards the dress­ing rooms with the wind at their backs for the se­cond pe­riod so were not overly con­cerned at the score­line.

What might have con­cerned them was their fail­ure to re­ally trou­ble that Port­laoise de­fence in that open­ing half and their vul­ner­a­bil­ity against a side who were spray­ing the ball su­perbly and drag­ging full­back Danny Staunton out the field.

Such was the worry about the sit­u­a­tion that Garry Laf­fan made a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion after 25 min­utes, send­ing in Leighton Glynn for Matthew Traynor at mid­field and Tommy Doyle for Joey Driver Jnr with War­ren Ka­vanagh slip­ping back to full-back and Danny Staunton mov­ing to cen­tre back.

A bright start saw Paul O’Brien pick out Jonathan O’Neill Snr with a su­perb ball from out on the stand side and the vet­eran star split the posts at the Red­nagh Hill end to get their Le­in­ster cam­paign up and run­ning.

A foul on Gavin Weir al­lowed ‘Bosco’ an­other chance and he duly obliged but Port­laoise found their feet on the slip­pery sur­face to quickly move level with the Wick­low cham­pi­ons thanks to points from Dean Lynch and Gary Ber­gin after eight min­utes.

Gle­nealy’s start­ing 15 showed one change, that of Matthew Traynor in for Gary Hughes with Traynor go­ing to mid­field with ‘Bosco’. Paul O’Brien took up po­si­tion at cen­tre for­ward on the ex­cel­lent Cahir Healy while Jamie Byrne slipped into the cor­ner with Gavin Weir roam­ing out the field.

Things were start­ing to look slightly wor­ry­ing for Gle­nealy as we ap­proached the 10th minute. Port­laoise were prov­ing adept at mov­ing the ball well and were for the most part a big, phys­i­cally strong team.

A shot from Alan Driver dropped short to Eoghan Nealon in the Por­taloise goal and was cleared down the stand side.

The loose ball was gath­ered by Gary Byrne who cleared but only as far as a Port­laoise man who de­liv­ered a nice ball to cor­ner-for­ward Cathal Dug­gan who fed Tommy Fitzger­ald. Fitzger­ald drove past Joey Driver Jnr and on to Danny Staunton who had no choice but to stop his run and ref­eree Sean Stack, who in­ci­den­tally took charge of the Le­in­ster In­ter­me­di­ate club fi­nal last year be­tween Gle­nealy and Bal­lyragget of Kilkenny, held his arms aloft to sig­nal a penalty. Danny Staunton was fu­ri­ous and protested that the foul took place out­side the square, but Stack was adamant.

Up stepped Cor­mac Rigney who fired in a shot only for it to be saved by the su­perb Cian Staunton on the Gle­nealy line. Dan­ger averted, for now.

A wide from Robert Byrne after good work from Alan Driver was fol­lowed by a marvel­lous point from Cathal Dug­gan out on the side­line, stand side, to push Port­laoise in front be­fore Gavin Weir pointed.

The move for the score had started when a Paul O’Brien high ball into the Port­laoise square was gath­ered con­fi­dently by cor­ner-back Frank Flana­gan and worked to Tommy Fitzger­ald who gal­loped up the field al­most unchecked.

A clever hand­pass from Jonathan O’Neill Jnr un­der pres­sure found Gavin Weir who ri­fled over an ex­cel­lent point to level mat­ters at 0-3 apiece and a ‘Bosco’ free re­turned the Reds to the front yet again.

How­ever, Port­laoise moved up a gear for the next five min­utes and opened up a 0-8 to 0-4 lead with points from Cian Tay­lor (2), Cahir Healy, Tommy Fitzger­ald and a pointed free from Cor­mac Rigney as Gle­nealy strug­gled all over the field with Danny Staunton pick­ing up a yel­low card for a foul on Tay­lor.

Garry Laf­fan made his dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion and things stead­ied mo­men­tar­ily, a su­per Robert Byrne point lift­ing the siege.

But the re­lief was to be short­lived. Poor stuff from Gle­nealy al­lowed Cian Tay­lor point after 27 min­utes be­fore Gle­nealy had two wides, one from a ‘Bosco’ free and the other from Robert Byrne. Port­laoise would fin­ish the half strongly with points from Dean Lynch and Cor­mac Rigney with Cian Staunton also sav­ing a shot off his line. Gle­nealy had a goal chance late in the first half as well, only for Alan Driver’s ground­stroke to prove way­ward.

Things were look­ing very bad for Gleenaly after 36 min­utes when Port­laoise had opened up a 0-14 to 0-6 lead, Gle­nealy’s open­ing score of the se­cond half com­ing from a ‘Bosco’ free after Eoghan Nealon had over­car­ried.

Gary Hughes had been in­tro­duced by Garry Laf­fan after 35 min­utes in place of Paul O’Brien and they al­most had a goal when Leighton Glynn cut in a mag­nif­i­cent side­line ball that came back off the Port­laoise post and was cleared up the field all the way to Cian Staunton who fed Leighton Glynn who was fouled but Danny Staunton would go wide with the free from dis­tance.

It was 0-15 to 0-7 after 45 min­utes, an­other ‘Bosco’ free adding to Gle­nealy’s in­suf­fi­cient tally as ten­sions started to rise with ‘Bosco’ and War­ren Ka­vanagh both be­ing shown yel­low cards for dis­sent by Sean Stack.

Just be­fore the 50th minute Port­laoise bagged their last score, a Rigney free, as Gle­nealy sent in Wayne O’Gor­man and pushed him and Leighton Glynn up high in search of goals.

On the 50th minute Wayne O’Gor­man ap­pealed for a penalty after he was shoved to the ground in the square by Frank Flana­gan, but Stack was hav­ing none of it and gave a free out in­stead for a foul by Alan Driver after the shove on O’Gor­man.

Back came Gle­nealy in the muck and dirt of Joule Park Aughrim and a fan­tas­tic catch by Alan Driver al­lowed him the chance to feed the ball to Gavin Weir who was dragged to the ground in the square and a penalty was awarded.

Up stepped Danny Staunton and he drilled it home beau­ti­fully to the bot­tom cor­ner of the Port­laoise goal.

Now it was all Gle­nealy as they threw the kitchen sink at the Port­laoise vis­i­tors.

Staunton went wide from a free and was then fouled by Colm Glee­son and ‘Bosco’ con­verted the free with five of nor­mal to go.

A foul by Cahir Healy on Leighton Glynn of­fered ‘Bosco’ an­other chance and he obliged with a sweetly struck point be­fore Danny Staunton cut out a Port­laoise at­tack and the ball was cleared to Gavin Weir who lofted over a beau­ti­ful point to close the gap to three points with nor­mal time elapsed.

On came Gle­nealy. A ball from Jonathan O’Neill Jnr was driven in and re­turned with O’Neill Jnr col­lect­ing the cleared ball. He fed Robert Byrne who passed to ‘Bosco’ whose ini­tial shot was blocked but his se­cond ef­fort was dropped into the square where Leighton Glynn picked it up off the ground and a free out was awarded.

Back came Garry Laf­fan’s men again. A high ball, bod­ies flung into the tan­gle, Gavin Weir hits the deck, ball passed out to Alan Driver who lets fly, shot blocked by the head of a Port­laoise man, penalty is the call from Sean Stack. A chance.

Danny Staunton has bro­ken his hurl a lit­tle ear­lier so with a new hurl and dire con­di­tions un­der­foot he lifts and strikes for the top cor­ner but Nealon saves.

Port­laoise at­tack but Cian Staunton and Gary Byrne re­pel. There’s a throw ball. Gary Byrne wins a free. ‘Bosco’ drops it into the square, Port­laoise stand tall and clear and the fi­nal whis­tle sounds. Dis­as­ter for Gle­nealy.

Garry Laf­fan’s men were angry at the per­for­mance of Sean Stack for the se­cond time in 12 months and while some de­ci­sions did go against the Wick­low cham­pi­ons there are plenty of other rea­sons to help ex­plain this de­feat as well.

Scor­ers – Port­laoise: Cor­mac Rigney 0-3 (2f, 1 65), Cian Tay­lor 0-3, Cathal Dug­gan 0-3, Dean Lynch 0-2, Gary Ber­gin 0-2, Tommy Fitzger­ald 0-2, Cahir Healy 0-1.

Gle­nealy: Jonathan O’Neill Snr 0-7 (6f), Gavin Weir 0-2, Robert Byrne 0-1, Danny Staunton 1-0 (p). GLE­NEALY: Cian Staunton; Em­met Byrne, Danny Staunton, Ro­nan Man­ley; Garry Byrne, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Joey Driver Jnr; Jonathan O’Neill Snr, Robert Byrne; Jamie Byrne, Matthew Traynor, Paul O’Brien; Jonathan O’Neill Jnr, Alan Driver, Gavin Weir. Subs: Leighton Glynn for J Driver Jnr (25), War­ren Ka­vanagh for M Traynor (25), Gary Hughes for P O’Brien (35), Wayne O’Gor­man for J Byrne (48).

PORT­LAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Joe Geaney, Chris Lynch, Frank Flana­gan; Brian Mul­li­gan, Cahir Healy, Ciaran McEvoy; Dean Lynch, Gary Ber­gin; Tommy Fitzger­ald, Colm Glee­son, Cor­mac Rigney; Keith Mur­phy, Cian Tay­lor, Cathal Dug­gan. Subs: Lee Davis for K Murpy (38), Dy­lan Feane for D Lynch (40), Shane Cuddy for G Ber­gin (48).

REF­EREE: Sean Stack (Dublin).

Em­met Byrne of Gle­nealy is tracked by Cathal Dug­gan of Port­laoise dur­ing their Le­in­ster In­ter­me­di­ate hurl­ing cham­pi­onship match at Joule Park, Aughrim.

Jonathan O’Neill Snr wins this aerial tus­sle.

Gle­nealy’s Danny Staunton makes a clear­ance as Keith Mur­phy of Port­laoise closes in.

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