Anne's the masters
Rathangan Juveniles in flying form
St. Anne's came out on top of an entertaining Enniscorthy Guardian Coiste na nOg Juvenile hurling championship Roinn 1B tie against hosts Crossabeg-Ballymurn despite squalid conditions on Monday.
The Rathangan boys were in flying form, with three wins from as many games leading into the clash with their District rivals. However, they didn't have things all their own way, despite Crossabeg-Ballymurn's lowly position in the table.
Indeed, the second-half was a very competitive affair with the home side giving as good as they got throughout the period. The first-half of the game did get away from them a little but that was probably, more than anything, down to a slight lack of confidence after a tricky run of losses.
When Crossabeg-Ballymurn grew in belief the game was a different spectacle, with their defence sweeping up most attacks and their forwards doing particularly well to work scoring opportunities against a St. Anne's rearguard boasting real quality.
The victors, for their part, will be tough to beat at this level. They have a set of attackers who know where the posts are, a midfield always willing to put in the hard yards, and a defence that rarely gets pushed off balance and stretched.
St. Anne's started with the bit between their teeth and the wind and rain at their backs. Kyle Kennedy opened their account within seconds before Philip Rawson doubled their lead. The impressive Dylan Byrne scored two well-taken goals in a three-minute spell as his side screeched clear.
A long-range major by Kennedy made it 3-2 to nil after seven minutes but Brody Murphy replied with a nice point as Crossabeg-Ballymurn settled.
The victors did add four more points in the remainder of the half, with Brian Kavanagh, Rawson, Adam Moore and Kennedy all on target to leave St. Anne's 3-6 to 0-1 ahead at the break.
Things were markedly different after the re-start with the home side pushing forward in waves. Alex Sludds narrowly missed getting a goal on three separate occasions but Lorcan Murphy did drill home a low net-rippler early in the half.
Conor J. Ryan floated a goal to the rigging as the half wore on while Kennedy, O'Brien and Rawson added points.
Sludds fired the final point of the game for the hosts who will have better days ahead if they keep up this level of commitment.
St. Anne's: Dylan Kavanagh; Michael Carroll, Andrew Walsh, Karim Byrne; Luke Redmond, Brian Kavanagh (capt., 0-1 free), Mark Sinnott; Kyle Kennedy (1-3, 0-1 pen.), Andrew Kennedy; Conor J. Ryan (1-0), Philip Rawson (0-3, 1 free, 1 '65), Shane Kirwan; Paddy White, Dylan O'Brien (2-1), Adam Moore (0-1). Subs. - Conor M. Ryan for Kirwan (53), Peadar Byrne for White (53), Seán Staples for Carroll (54), also Barry Roche, Jamie Somers, Darragh Furlong, Kevin Breen, Peter Cleary.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Byrne; Michael Whelan, Robert Cullen, Lorcan Leacy; Niall O'Connor, Tommy Ring, Lorcan Cummins (capt.); Robert Scallan, Lorcan Murphy (1-0); Jack Fortune, Alex Sludds (0-1), Robert Murphy; Brody Murphy (0-1), Steve Cullen, Tony Laffan. Subs. - Michael Cullen for B. Murphy, inj. (43), Cian Mac Aogáin for M. Cullen (54).
Referee: Damien Donovan (St. John's).