Bunclody hit back in style
HWH-Bunclody 2-10 Ferns St. Aidan's 2-8
Trailing by 1-5 to 0-1 as the game moved towards the 20-minute mark, HWH-Bunclody looked clearly second best in this Amber Springs/Ashdown Park Hotels Intermediate football championship semi-final in Bellefield on Saturday, but then things started to change.
There was no one thing that really stood out as being a game-changer, as Bunclody started to play better football and Ferns lost a little of the impetus they had when they dominated the early stages.
What scoring three of the last four points of the first-half did for Bunclody was that it gave them a vital confidence boost, it gave them something to play with.
Without that, maybe Peter Atkinson's 32nd-minute goal, that put the game right in the balance, wouldn't have happened.
And then they bossed things. There wasn't an area of the field they didn't own for 20 minutes as Ferns struggled to make any progress into the Bunclody '45, whereas the gaps slowly began to appear for their opponents and they took advantage.
Ryan Nolan opened the scoring for Ferns in the sixth minute, a point that was quickly followed by a similar John Breen effort. Ivan Meegan's kick-outs were often successful and he also drilled a free from 46 metres to make it 0-3 to nil.
David Reck responded at the other end but it only provided momentary respite. Christopher O'Connor's left foot kick was followed by a Meegan '45 that sailed over the crossbar to make it 0-5 to 0-1.
There was a little fortune about Ferns' 18th-minute goal. Jonathan Dwyer's point attempt dropped short and skidded up on Patrick Kavanagh, with the ball squirming out to Colm Whelan and he was dragged down. Nolan converted the penalty with relative ease.
The concession of a goal helped wake Bunclody up. Aidan Nolan knocked over a brace of dead-balls before the interval and Peadair Cowman also hit the target as their side pulled within five at the change of ends (1-6 to 0-4).
In the first 19 minutes of the second-half Bunclody scored 2-5 without reply. Atkinson poked home after a long ball in broke in his vicinity and, after Colm Farrell pointed, the full-forward calmly netted again after Eoin Kelly sent him clear on goal.
Now ahead by 2-5 to 1-6, Bunclody pushed on at the start of the final quarter with scores from Seán Kenny, Cowman and Reck (two) in quick succession.
Ryan Nolan pulled a point back and soon thought that his exquisite chip over Kavanagh had got his side right back into the game with seven minutes left.
However, linesman Brendan Holohan had long-since put his flag up as Christopher O'Connor's sideline that picked him out was clearly taken inside the perimeter of the field. The fact that it was the correct call didn't appease Ferns, who were apoplectic.
After Tommy Dwyer was dismissed, there was still five points in it and four added minutes.
Ciarán Roberts fired home from a melee to give his side hope at two points down but Ferns couldn't create another goal-scoring chance, meaning HWH-Bunclody advance to face Kilanerin in the final.
HWH-Bunclody: Patrick Kavanagh; Billy Kelly, Martin O'Connor, Adam Hogan; Peadair Cowman (0-2), John Atkinson (capt.), Colm Farrell (0-2); Seán Kenny (0-1), Aidan Nolan (0-2 frees); Edward Dunbar, Eoin Kelly, John Dunne; Josh Martin, Peter Atkinson (2-0), David Reck (0-3). Subs. - Mark Sheehan for Dunne (37), Keith O'Hara for Dunbar (60+1), Kevin Dunne for Reck (60+3).
Ferns St. Aidan's: Ivan Meegan (0-2, 1 free, 1 '45); Declan Byrne, Pádraig Bolger (capt.), Brian O'Neill; Jonathan Dwyer; James Tonks, Peter Nolan; Patrick Breen, Ciarán Roberts (1-0); Derek Thorpe, Tommy Dwyer, John Breen (0-2); Ryan Nolan (1-3, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Colm Whelan, Christopher O'Connor (0-1). Subs. - Keith Breen for P. Nolan (39), Eoin Murphy for Whelan (42), Anthony Dwyer for O'Neill (51), Peter O'Toole for Murphy, inj. (60).
Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).