Cloughbawn bridge long gap
Two golden goals early in second-half the key to victory
Two goals of considerable quality early in the second-half proved the catalyst for a spirited Cloughbawn comeback and ultimate victory as the double dreams of Glynn-Barntown came a cropper in this Pettitt's Senior hurling championship semi-final in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
Cloughbawn 2-11 Glynn-Barntown 1-12
The men in green bridged a 14-year gap since their last appearance in a decider and ensured a novel first-ever meeting at that stage with competition specialists Oulart-The Ballagh as they burst into life following a tentative opening half from both sides.
Trailing by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time, Cloughbawn couldn't have asked for a more productive start to the second period.
Just over two minutes had elapsed when wing-back Barry Kehoe embarked on a powerful run before popping a handpass into the path of Bob Whitty who hit a first-time pull to the net a split second before advancing netminder Mark Fanning got to him.
And although Gary Moore looked to have steadied the Glynn-Barntown ship with a pointed free, they were rocked again in the 36th minute by a goal fashioned in similar circumstances.
This time it was centre-back Colm Kehoe making the strong run forward which split the Wexford District side's defence wide open, and he timed his handpass to perfection too in finding captain Alan Carton who calmly rattled the net for a 2-7 to 1-9 lead.
The Kehoes were huge influences in the half-back line for Cloughbawn after the break, and it was notable that they created those goals after the Glynn-Barntown mentors switched Michael Doyle to the wing in a direct swap with Rowan White at half-time.
That duo reverted to their starting positions again around the 41-minute mark, and the losers' inquest will no doubt focus heavily on why nobody came to meet up the Cloughbawn duo who drove forward to set up those ultimately match-winning goals.
The Enniscorthy District side's tails were up after moving ahead, and they stretched their lead to 2-9 to 1-9 when Harry Kehoe earned and converted a free before the consistently impressive Barry Carton played a one-two with county Minor Connal Flood and split the posts at the Clonard end.
However, Glynn-Barntown were intent on giving their bid to reach both Senior finals a considerable go, particularly as they had fallen already at this same hurdle over the past two years.
A crossfield pass from Brendan Doyle to the left was gathered and pointed by Gary Moore, and substitute Kevin Crean picked out Matthew Joyce to make it 2-9 to 1-11 on either side of a brace of Moore wides.
The prospect of a replay loomed large in the 54th minute when Rowan White played a short line ball to Michael Doyle on the left, got the return and drove over the equalising point.
However, it proved to be the last Glynn-Barntown score, and Cloughbawn produced the stronger finish to crown an impressive comeback from that four-point interval deficit.
First Harry Kehoe's free down the left flank found substitute Billy Wickham who registered a fine over-the-shoulder point, but the anxiety of both sides was evident in the next few passages of play.
Harry Kehoe and Gary Moore (free) missed very scoreable chances before Glynn-Barntown netminder Mark Fanning struck a long-range free wide to finish with a strike rate of two out of five attempts.
It left the outcome hanging in the balance as we entered the two added minutes, but Cloughbawn struck for an impressive final point after 48 seconds. Gavin Murphy, a key part of a strong defence where the Kehoes grabbed most of the limelight, found Barry Carton whose brilliant strike from midfield was a fitting way to ensure his club was heading for the bright lights after such a long gap.
It was an exciting end to what, in truth, was a drab, uninspiring affair for the most part.
This was a huge opportunity for both sides to reach a final - Cloughbawn for the first time since 2002, while Glynn-Barntown have been waiting since 2003, with both losing those games to Rathnure.
As a result, it turned into a tense affair which is often the case with semi-finals where the priority is simply to get over the line regardless of the quality of performance in doing so.
Bob Whitty gave Cloughbawn an early lead from a low Martin Kehoe pass before Gary Moore levelled from a '65 for Glynn-Barntown who fielded John Leacy at full-forward despite his shoulder injury sustained in the football victory seven days earlier.
However, he lacked mobility and was eventually withdrawn near the end of the third quarter.
Missed chances were a feature of the game, with Cloughbawn's final wide tally of twelve just one more than their rivals.
They were level again after a Moore free was cancelled out by Alan Carton, but Glynn-Barntown then surged 6-2 clear with four points on the trot.
Moore and Fanning converted frees before the former secured their first score from play after a Brendan Doyle pass.
Cloughbawn's cause wasn't helped around this period by a series of wides, and the opposition must have gained a psychological edge in the 16th minute when recent county Minor David Clarke beat Harry Kehoe to a 50-50 ball and fired over an inspiring point.
However, Cloughbawn had got to this stage after a string of tight contests, so they knuckled down again as Connal Flood and Paul Foley reduced arrears to two points.
Veteran defender M.J. Furlong also performed a vital covering job in between those scores after John Leacy cut inside his younger brother, Tomás.
Cloughbawn were rocked again though when Glynn-Barntown struck for an unanswered 1-2 in the space of less than two minutes. Those scores left the eventual winners trailing by 1-8 to 0-4, making their revival all the more impressive.
Michael Doyle and Mark Fanning (free) picked off points before an excellent goal lifted proceedings in the 23rd minute.
A Gary Moore pass found Rowan White cutting in from the left, and there was only one thing on his mind as he picked his spot in the top corner of Noel Carton's net.
Cloughbawn's response to this blow was arguably as important as their powerful start to the second-half.
The game might have drifted away from them completely if Glynn-Barntown had been able to tag on a few more points before the break, but instead the opposite was the case.
Those scores came at the other end, with the ship steadied somewhat by a trio of Harry Kehoe points, one from play sandwiched in between a brace from frees.
It still left Cloughbawn with plenty of ground to make up as they trailed by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time, but their confidence levels soared after those game-changing goals and they always looked to be the team more likely to succeed thereafter although it remained close.
Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, M.J. Furlong; Barry Kehoe, Colm Kehoe, Davin Murphy; Barry Carton (0-2), Páidí Cullen; Harry Kehoe (0-4, 3 frees), Alan Carton (capt., 1-1), Connal Flood (0-1); Bob Whitty (1-1), Paul Foley (0-1), Martin Kehoe. Subs. - Billy Wickham for A. Carton, temp. (10-11), Wickham (0-1) for M. Kehoe (48).
Glynn-Barntown: Mark Fanning (0-2 frees); Pádraig Donnelly, Jack Fenlon, Barry Doyle; Craig Doyle, Michael O'Regan (capt.), David Clarke (0-1); Alan Cowman, Brendan Doyle; Daire Barron, Michael Doyle (0-1), Rowan White (1-1); Gary Moore (0-6, 3 frees, 1 '65), John Leacy, Matthew Joyce (0-1). Subs. - Kevin Crean for Leacy (44), J.J. Doyle for Barron (53), Fionn Cooney for Joyce (58).
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).