Bunclody backs excel
HWH-Bunclody 0-12 St. James' 0-6
A superb defensive showing by HWH-Bunclody propelled them to the summit of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group A table in O'Kennedy Park on Saturday.
The victors did superbly well to limit St. James' to just five first-half points with the breeze, and they shut up shop in the second period, allowing a solitary Darragh Lyons score with nine minutes remaining.
There was nothing remarkable about the way that Bunclody set up.
They just worked hard and never allowed the easy shot against opponents a few hurlers short of their full deck.
The game wasn't a classic, by any stretch. A big reason for that must be the break between the last round of fixtures and this. It just didn't get going at all and it would be hard to take any real form-line out of the contest.
Maybe the game could have taken a different complexion entirely had Kevin O'Grady found the net, rather than fired wide, when he burst away inside 15 seconds.
It settled down into a slog after the early excitement. Billy Kelly opened the scoring for Bunclody after Cathal Doyle was fouled, but Kevin O'Grady responded in kind after Robbie Barron was impeded.
The impressive Bunclody opening quarter continued when Eoin Kelly popped over a score after a smart block-down in the James' full-back line. When Billy Kelly added his second free, his side led by 0-3 to 0-1 after 13 minutes.
O'Grady pulled one back before Daniel Keating sent a rasper flashing narrowly over the crossbar. Edward Dunbar split the posts from distance but O'Grady hit back with a brace late in the half to give St. James' a 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
One point was never likely to be enough facing into the breeze and Bunclody ensured it wouldn't be. Cathal Doyle levelled the scores before Aidan Nolan made it 0-6 to 0-5.
Billy Kelly registered three of the next four points, and Jason Cowman also registered as the lead swelled to five (0-10 to 0-5).
While Lyons hit the target with nine minutes left, his side failed to trouble a composed Art O'Neill, and minors from Kelly and Enda Slevin put a seal on a deserved Bunclody win.
HWH-Bunclody: Arthur O'Neill; Martin O'Connor, Colm Farrell (capt.), David Reck; Enda Slevin (0-1), Seán Kenny, John Dunne; Aidan Nolan (0-1), Peter Atkinson; Niall Kelly, Eoin Kelly (0-1), Edward Dunbar (0-1); Cathal Doyle (0-1), Jason Cowman (0-1), Billy Kelly (0-6, 5 frees). Subs. - Ronan Roberts for N. Kelly (31), Podge Kehoe for C. Doyle (49).
St. James': Luke Murphy; Brian Molloy, Jason Barron, Tomás Walsh; Liam Murphy (capt.), Matthew O'Hanlon, Paul Barron; David Doyle, Robbie Barron; Donal Barron, Kevin O'Grady (0-4, 3 frees), Daniel Keating (0-1); Alan Walsh, Darragh Lyons (0-1), Greg Doyle. Subs. - Jamie Myler for L. Murphy (31), Peadar Murphy for D. Doyle (54), Jamie Doran for T. Walsh (58).
Referee: David O'Leary (Rathnure).