Bunclody edge scoring feast
Top-quality clash in Bree
HWH-Bunclody edged closer to the quarter-finals of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship with victory in a high-scoring, top-quality Group B encounter against Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in Bree on Friday.
HWH-Bunclody 2-23 R'garogue-C'twon 4-13
In absolutely perfect conditions the sides shared 42 scores and swatted just nine wides between them to entertain the fairly sparse crowd in the mid-county venue. In the end HWH-Bunclody came out on top, mainly because they had a few more consistent threats in attack than their unfortunate opponents.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown led by 0-4 to 0-3 after a brisk opening eight minutes but extended that lead when Enda Doran cut in from the left, saw his shot saved but followed up to net. HWH-Bunclody responded within three minutes when Eoin Kelly raised a green flag from long range.
Ollie Bolger pulled to the net from close to goal after connecting perfectly with the sliothar in a ruck, and he won the penalty five minutes later that Colin Whelan scored to send the New Ross District side into a 3-4 to 1-6 lead.
With Billy Kelly and Colm Farrell on form, HWH-Bunclody chipped away and eventually went in at the interval in the lead following a thumping major from Aidan Nolan in added time (2-13 to 3-7).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown kept fighting but failed to score from play in the second-half. Four Bolger frees narrowed the gap to one point in the 43rd minute but HWH-Bunclody scored the next four points to seemingly quell their opponents' fightback.
Yet the Ballinaboola boys scored a second penalty, this time from a clinical finish by Bolger to keep in the tie. Two points was as close as they got as HWH-Bunclody, with scores from Kelly (two), Podge Kehoe and Farrell, rounded out victory.
HWH-Bunclody may have already garnered enough points to make the last four, only time will tell, however they can make absolutely sure with a victory over Naomh Eanna next time out. On the other hand Rathgarogue-Cushinstown will need at least one victory from games against Adamstown and Blackwater and they may need both.
HWH-Bunclody: Art O'Neill; Thomas O'Neill, Darren Kehoe, Barry Kehoe; Conor Crean, Seán Kenny, James Moorhead; Colm Farrell (capt., 0-3), Billy Kelly (0-10, 7 frees); Aidan Nolan (1-1), Conor Kinsella (0-2), Niall Kelly; Kevin Dunne, John Paul Connors (0-2), Eoin Kelly (1-3). Subs. - Podge Kehoe (0-2) for Dunne (44), Enda Slevin for Crean (59).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Colin Whelan (1-0 pen.); Pádraig McGrath, Francis O'Brien, Brian O'Neill; Peadar Cody, Danny Martin Carroll (0-1 free); Matthew Cody; Eoin Whelan, Chris Kent; Ollie Bolger (capt., 2-9, 0-7 frees, 1-0 pen., 0-1 '65), Bernard Furlong, Jason Dunne; Enda Doran (1-0), James Devereux (0-2), Daire Bolger (0-1). Subs. - Bryan Cody for Whelan (31), Nicky Sinnott for C. Whelan, in. (31), M.J. Kinsella for D. Bolger (48), Peter Aspel for Kinsella (57).
Referee: Nicholas Kehoe (Cloughbawn).