An Tochar emerge from costly semi-final battle
AN TOCHAR BARNDARRIG 1-9 0-7
AN TOCHAR secured a final berth in this year’s Fitzgerald Kitchens JAFC final against Blessington when they got the better of a brave Bardarrig side in Ashford on Saturday last.
After what was a dreadful week of rain, the playing surface at Ashford stood well for the occasion.
This was a very decent battle that was decided by Oisin Cullen scoring the game’s only goal and An Tochar’s ability to take the majority of their scoring opportunities.
The men from Kilmacurra came through the group stages of the campaign undefeated but were held to a draw by St Patrick’s and Ashford and in doing so clinched one of the semi-final berths.
An Tochar had to dig deep before seeing off the challenge of a highly fancied Coolboy/Shillelagh outfit in the quarter-final to set up a last four showdown against Barndarrig.
The sides traded early wides with one each in the opening minutes before Michael Murphy opened the scoring with a point from play after five minutes.
Impressive corner-forward Oisin Cullen got on the end of a fine team move to bag An Tochar’s opener shortly afterwards.
With both defences on top in the dreadful conditions scores were scarce and six minutes elapse without a score before Michael Cullen edged Barndarrig ahead with a tasty score and a Michael Murphy free pushed John Begley’s side out to a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 12.
Not for the first time in the game Shay Cullen’s side rallied and top marksman Oisin Cullen reduced the deficit with a point from play, but Barndarrig seemed to be coping with the conditions better than their opponents and points from Michael Murphy and John Andrew Kinsella gave them a three-point cushion at 0-5 to 0-2 with 25 minutes on the clock.
The game changed direction in the next few moments. Substitute Stephen Collier bagged a point before Cullen found the net and that vital major was followed by a po9int from play from Cian Mchugh and An Tochar now led by 1-4 to 0-5 at the break.
Two wides and a Paul Ryan point was how Barndarrig started the second half but a missed goal chance from Malachy Stone would come back to haunt them in the end.
Points were swapped between Michael Murphy and Gavin Fogarty but An Tochar then started to seize control in ket sectors of the field.
Brendan Swords made it 1-7 to 0-7 and the hard-working Gavin Fogarty pushed An Tochar ahead by four. Would it be enough?
Barndarrig pushed hard for further scores but they met an An Tochar defence in no mood for conceding ground and Shay Cullen’s men emerged with a five-point victory and a place in the county final.
However, the Roundwood outfit lost five of their starting 15 to injury during this game including Brendan Kennedy, and this will be a huge cause for concern to the management ahead of a tough battle with Blessington on Saturday.
Scorers - An Tochar: Oisin Cullen 1-2, Gavin Fogarty 0-4 (3f), Clan McHugh 0-1, Stephen Collier 0-1, Brendan Swords 0-1.
Barndarrig: Michael Murphy 0-4 (3f), John Andrew Kinsella 0-1, Michael Cullen 0-1, Paul Ryan 0- 1. AN TOCHAR: Peter Byrne; Eoin Murphy, Gavin Kenny, Conor Shortt; Joe Gaffney, Brendan Kennedy, Gavin Fogarty; Bill Halligan, Liam Gaffney; Stephen O’Connor, Conor Davis, Eamon Wolohan; Oisin Cullen, Ger Byrne, Cian McHugh. Subs: Brendan Swords for B Halligan, Sean Davis for B Kennedy, Stephen Collier for C Davis, Enda Kavanagh for E Wolohan, Liam Kenna for S Collier, Pat Donohue for C Shortt,
BARNDARRIG: Marcus Quinn; Shane Whelan, James Cullen, Kevin Cullen; Malachy Stone, Martin Cullen, Jacques McCall; Bernard Quinn, Anthony Quinn; Paul Ryan, Andrew Peter Kavanagh, Michael Cullen; Tom Doyle, Michael Murphy, John Andrew Kinsella. Subs: Chris Macken for A Quinn (inj), Jack Kennedy for C Macken, Joe Toomey for T Doyle.
REFEREE: John O’Brien (Newcastle)
Barndarrig, who bowed out at the semi-final stage after defeat to An Tochar.
The An Tochar side who defeated Barndarrig to progress to the JAFC final this Saturday in Aughrim.