Bunclody power home after three-goal burst
A THREE-GOAL burst in just four first-half minutes propelled HWH-Bunclody to their second Intermediate hurling championship victory this season in Monamolin on Sunday last.
Trailing by 1-5 to 0-5, the border side ran off three consecutive majors to stun Craanford and give themselves every chance of a last eight berth.
Kevin Dunne began the scoring spurt, collecting from an in-form Colm Farrell before thumping past Derek Finn.
Shot-stopper Finn could do little to deny Jason Cowman moments later when he trickled a shot home after good work by Barry Kehoe, and when Farrell blitzed away to smash home goal number three there looked to be one likely winner.
Earlier Craanford were impressive in building a 0-4 to 0-3 lead after a brace of Kevin Poole overs. Bunclody hit back with points through Billy Kelly and Seán Kenny but Craanford quickly hit the front when Shane Kavanagh slide-kicked the sliothar over the goal-line to an empty net.
Then the three-goal blitz hit Craanford. They did recover to finish the half strongly. Michael O'Loughlin's point was countered by his opposite number Kehoe but with just five between the sides (3-6 to 1-7) it was all to play for on the resumption.
Seán Kenny and Kehoe knocked over points early in the third quarter to increase the Bunclody advantage, but Craanford responded with five of the next six minors - with O'Loughlin and John Fleming both on target twice - to drag themselves within a goal.
Just when it looked like Craanford would kick on, Bunclody came back with a brace and raised white flags from Seán Kenny and substitute Mark Murphy looked to have sealed a crucial victory.
Never down and out, Craanford had an opportunity to get back into the game in injury time but John Byrne dived to his right to stop Fleming's penalty and with it went the Gorey District side's hopes.
Craanford will take a huge step towards the knockout stages if they can win their critical clash with Geraldine O'Hanrahans, while HWH-Bunclody will book their place in the quarters with victory over on-fire Oulart-The Ballagh.
HWH-Bunclody: John Byrne; Conor Crean, Colm Kehoe, Enda Slevin; Billy Kelly (0-2 frees), Matthew Byrne, James Moorhead; Colm Farrell (1-1, 0-1 free), Seán Kenny (0-3); Bryan O'Hara, Barry Kehoe (0-2), Art O'Neill; Kevin Dunne (1-1, 0-1 free), Mylie Connors (0-1), Jason Cowman (1-0). Subs. - Mark Murphy (0-1) for Cowman, John Connors for Dunne.
Craanford: Derek Finn; Joe Berney, Stevie Greene, Michael Shortle; Michael O'Loughlin (0-3), Pat Murray, Niall Berney; Peter Kavanagh, James O'Loughlin (0-1); Matthew Kenny (0-1), Michael Lyons, Oliver Doran (0-1); Kevin Poole (0-2, 1 free), Shane Kavanagh (1-1), John Fleming (0-3, 1 free). Sub. - Matthew Nolan for P. Kavanagh.
Referee: Niall McDonald (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).