Alley ran riot after interval
Harriers in relegation final
A third quarter collapse of incredible proportions put paid to Faythe Harriers' hopes of arresting their decline and getting into the shake-up for a Pettitt's Senior hurling championship knockout spot in Bellefield on Saturday.
Buffers Alley 1-19 Faythe Harriers 2-10
The Wexford town crew were level with Buffers Alley at the break (0-8 each) after playing with the breeze in this Group B game, but they conceded an amazing 1-10 without reply in the first 17 minutes of the second-half as their opponents moved one step closer to a quarter-final place.
It was an alarming slump from the Harriers, but full credit must go to the Alley too for the manner in which they mopped up practically every break in the middle third of the field.
Andrew Kenny did a fine marking job on county colleague Lee Chin, repeatedly denying him clean possession from puck-outs, and the Harriers couldn't get their hands on the ball from the deliveries of veteran netminder Ian 'Archie' Scallan as the Alley pounced on everything.
It gradually became embarrassingly easy for the Gorey District men as Willie Doran drifted off direct opponent Richie Kehoe and scored at his ease, while Tomás O'Leary was equally impressive to his left where he regularly got the better of Brendan Mulligan.
There was no response from the Harriers as their rivals started the second-half like an express train, with a gap quickly opening up as Doran, O'Leary, Doran again, O'Leary (free) and Paul O'Leary pushed them into a 0-13 to 0-8 lead after 38 minutes.
Team captain Ciarán Kenny - moved to full-back after the third-minute loss of Paudie Reidy to injury - did do well to block a Kevin Gore goal attempt, but otherwise all the action was directed towards the Bellefield Road end.
And it didn't get any better for the Harriers as Tomás O'Leary and John Lee Meyler added points before a goal which perfectly summed up the losers' miserable evening.
There was no decent challenge on either Ross Donohoe or Pat Kenny as they waltzed through the middle before the latter picked out overlapping corner-back Seán Murphy of all people for a well-taken goal.
The gap rose to 1-18 to 0-8 after further points from Meyler, Tomás O'Leary and Willie Doran, and the Alley's work was done.
Still, their mentors won't be happy with their sloppy finish, even though a Faythe Harriers side in total disarray lost Michael Hanrahan to a second yellow card in the 51st minute.
The Alley hit six late wides for a second-half total of eleven and overall tally of 18. Pádraigh Farrell had been the only Harriers attacker to take the fight to their rivals when the game was competitive in the first period, and he was rewarded for his non-stop efforts with two late consolation goals.
After a one-handed swing and finish in the 56th minute, he got on the end of a move featuring Emmet Keeling and substitute Ben O'Brien to reduce the Alley's lead to six points.
Scoreboard errors are a regular occurrence at this venue and there was another one in this game, with the victors credited with one point less than they amassed. Thankfully it didn't become an issue though, with Rhys Clarke and Tomás O'Leary (free) swapping late points to leave six between them at the finish, although the Alley's win was a lot more convincing than that.
It was a complete turnaround after a first-half which saw the wind-aided Harriers ahead by 0-6 to 0-3 after 17 minutes.
Clarke (three frees), Lee Chin (two, one free) and Farrell grabbed their points, but a lack-lustre Alley finally got up to the pace of the game as the second quarter wore on and got back on level terms by the break thanks to the accuracy of Shane Grannell, Seán Og Whelan, Paul O'Leary (forcing Scallan into a fine save to push his piledriver over the bar) and free-taker Tomás O'Leary.
Nobody could have envisaged what unfolded thereafter and, to compound the Harriers' misery, Cloughbawn's win over Rathnure 24 hours later ensures they are facing into a relegation final for the second time in three years.
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Barry Kenny, Paudie Reidy, Seán Murphy (1-0); Bobby Kenny, Andrew Kenny, Ciarán Kenny (capt.); Pat Kenny (0-1), Seán Og Whelan (0-1); Ross Donohoe (0-1), Willie Doran (0-3), Tomás O'Leary (0-8, 4 frees, 1 '65); Paul O'Leary (0-2), Shane Grannell (0-1), John Lee Meyler (0-2). Subs. - Kevin Roche for Reidy, inj. (3), Robert O'Leary for P. O'Leary (50), John Farrell for Barry Kenny (50).
Faythe Harriers: Ian Scallan; Alex Lynch (capt.), David Mooney, Alan Lynch; Brendan Mulligan, Richie Kehoe, Emmet Keeling; Jim Berry, Stephen Kearney; Michael Hanrahan, Lee Chin (0-2, 1 free), Colm Heffernan; Pádraigh Farrell (2-1), Rhys Clarke (0-6, 5 frees), Kevin Gore (0-1). Subs. - Ben O'Brien for Heffernan (42), Nicky Lawlor for Mulligan (42), Daniel Lynch for Mooney (50).
Referee: Brian O'Leary (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).