Cloughbawn and Ballyhogue to meet again
Extra-time proved insufficient in the attempt to separate two very motivated Under-21 football teams on Saturday during the Enniscorthy District Roinn 1 championship semi-final encounter between Ballyhogue and Cloughbawn.
Cloughbawn 0-16 Ballyhogue 1-13 (AET)
A freezing St. Patrick's Park was the setting, but this tense battle got the temperatures rising very quickly with each side providing fantastic scores and impressive passages of play.
Although the game was slow to reach its optimum pace, the standard of football began to rise within ten minutes of the throw-in.
Ballyhogue's Noel Roche kept his side's dream alive during the first-half as he netted a penalty and kicked numerous successful dead balls.
Cloughbawn's Robert Whitty was the man in charge for the green and white forces, and he kept them in contention by consistently converting frees and securing a plethora of points from play.
Mick Condon and Dylan Dalton edged the blue and white side slightly ahead before Cloughbawn moved into their next gear. Dean Murphy and Billy Wickham added their names to the scoreboard to leave their squad ahead by one at the break.
Cloughbawn's Whitty was eager to get the second-half off to a winning start by claiming two points in the opening two minutes. However, Ballyhogue weren't in a mood to surrender.
Shane Byrne played an influential role in the centre of the pitch and his efforts proved valuable for the Ballyhogue comeback. Condon and John Kehoe combined forces to claim a point apiece, while Noel Roche followed to claim one of the best points of the game.
A quick burst of energy from Billy Wickham meant that he split the posts, but Ballyhogue were keen to edge in front again. Condon left spectators in awe after his sky-high attempt raised the white flag, and a very tough angled free allowed Roche to, once again, impress all the sideline viewers.
Cloughbawn's Shane Greene proved to be his side's saviour with a fantastic last-minute point to ensure extra-time followed.
As the added time began, Whitty and Dean Murphy stood out for Cloughbawn. Ballyhogue's Roche and Cloughbawn's Murphy exchanged scores before Roche re-appeared alongside team-mate Dalton to edge the District holders ahead.
A final score from Cloughbawn's Murphy drew matters to a close, and this left proceedings as a well-deserved draw for both sides.
The two battling squads will now face one another once again to determine who will progress into the District final to meet Oylegate-Glenbrien.
Cloughbawn: Cian O'Connor; Derek Murphy, T.J. Murphy, Colm Murphy; Shane Greene (0-2), Aaron Byrne, Shane Flood; Ronan Doyle, Robert Kinsella; Lee Keeley (0-1), Dean Murphy (0-3), Billy Wickham (0-2); Richard Murphy, Robert Whitty (0-8, 3 frees), Gearóid Murphy. Subs. - James Dempsey for Flood, Flood for Doyle, Jack Lawrence for G. Murphy.
Ballyhogue: Darragh Byrne; Conor Long, Graham Parker, Dean Sinnott; Ronan Minogue, Shane Doyle, Peter Doyle; Shane Byrne, Conor Byrne; Mick Condon (0-4), John Kehoe (0-1), Fionn Rochford; Noel Roche (1-6, 1-0 pen., 0-3 frees, 0-1 '45), Dylan Dalton (0-1), Declan Power (0-1). Sub. - Cian Rogers for Sinnott.
Referee: Ian Plunkett (Marshalstown-Castledockrell).