Breen leads way
Rapparees 1-18 Faythe Harriers 1-7
Rapparees saved their most comprehensive victory of the season for their Enniscorthy Guardian Juvenile hurling championship semi-final meeting with Faythe Harriers in St. Patrick's Park on Wednesday.
The Bellefield boys were full value for their win, as they were sharper, more clinical and extremely hungry. They dominated this game from the half-back line, with Seán Breen absolutely superb in the centre.
Ahead of that there was excellent energy in midfield while the sextet of attacking options, led by the elusive Oisín Pepper, caused plenty of problems.
With the vast majority of their side involved with the Féile-winning team last year, the Harriers are certainly ones to watch in the years to come. Richie Lawlor shone when his side could get him the ball but the Rapps did everything they could to stop that happening.
Unfortunately, while there were stand-out performers, the game wasn't a great spectacle. There was simply too much niggly stuff, with both sides guilty. On top of that, there were several situations that should have been handled by referee Brendan Martin but he chose not to intervene.
Launching opponents' hurls off the field into the crowd is completely unacceptable. Luckily the adults watching on were sprightly enough to duck and there were no unsuspecting children in the area. Parents coming on to the field during a fracas should not be tolerated either.
Finally, teenagers standing inside the railings, on the sideline, goading opposing selectors is ridiculous. Martin, who was seven minutes late starting the game, didn't take sufficient action on these incidents though.
The Harriers got off to the perfect start, as Josh Sheil flicked Kyle Scallan's free to the net inside a minute.
Anto Larkin made a good save from Lawlor but the Páirc Charman side still led by 1-1 to 0-2 after ten minutes.
At the end of the first quarter Rapparees hit the front when Cian Hanley released Craig Peare in on goal and he drilled low past Josh Walsh. Pepper had three points on the board by the interval as his Rapparees side moved 1-7 to 1-3 clear.
Conor Kehoe picked off a nice brace during the second-half but his team rarely threatened a dramatic turnaround.
Carty scored nine of his points in the second-half, and was denied a goal by one of three stunning saves by the inspired Walsh in the Harriers goal, as the Rapps booked their place in the title decider.
Rapparees: Anto Larkin; Matt Balfe, Mick McGrath, Aaron Browne; Michael Delaney, Seán Breen, Evan Murphy; Oran Carty (capt., 0-12, 9 frees, 1 '65), Kalem Dobbs (0-1); Cian Hanley, Lee Jordan (0-1), Floyd Murphy (0-1); Oisín Pepper (0-3), Jack Kirwan, Craig Peare (1-0). Subs. - Marcus McCarthy for F. Murphy (60+8), also Adam Sheridan, Bill Peare, Matt Kinnaird, Jack Walsh, Michael McVeigh, Craig Turner, Ronan Kervick.
Faythe Harriers: Josh Walsh; Josh Murphy, Cillian Boggan, Liam Cassin; Ben Hynes, Emmet Nolan (capt.), Jason Gordon; Lee Nolan, Kyle Scallan; Paul Deeny, Richie Lawlor (0-1), Eoin Kavanagh; Cian Carty, Josh Sheil (1-4, 0-4 frees), Conor Kehoe (0-2). Subs. - Mark Henebery for Carty (43), Eoin Foley for Kavanagh (43), Cian Twomey for Deeny (54), Dan Browne for Hynes (57), also Seán Byrne, Billy Hillis.
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).