Cloughbawn continue to set high standard
A match that was keenly contested through the first-half saw Cloughbawn gain control in the third quarter as they showed more penetration in attack to set up a very impressive five-point victory over St. Anne's in this exciting Pettitt's Senior hurling championship Group A clash in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Cloughbawn 1-16 St.Anne's 0-14
At half-time it was all to play for as Cloughbawn led by just two points but St. Anne's, last year's beaten finalists, were stunned by an excellent Connal Flood goal after 41 minutes.
That score helped Cloughbawn into a 1-13 to 0-9 lead by the end of the third quarter, setting themselves up for a resounding and thoroughly-deserved victory after 60 hard-fought minutes.
St. Anne's could have few complaints with the final outcome, but the defeat leaves them needing at least a point from their final game with Rapparees if they are to secure a quarter-final spot.
A win for the Rapps would see them leapfrog the south county side into fourth spot and gain a quarter-final place, so given that so much depends on the outcome, supporters should be treated to an enthralling game.
The story of the first-half saw two different periods of dominance.
St. Anne's had a blistering start, racing into a 0-4 to nil lead inside the opening five minutes through points from Redmond Barry, two Mark Furlong frees and Liam Og McGovern, before a Paul Foley seventh-minute free settled the Cloughbawn challenge.
After a Furlong free had restored his side's four-point advantage, Corey Bolger and McGovern exchanged points, but Cloughbawn pegged their opponents back with points from Colm Kehoe and a Foley free.
Furlong and Harry Kehoe with a delightful effort left two points separating the sides (0-7 to 0-5) after 19 minutes, but Cloughbawn took the initiative approaching the interval, sending over points through Alan Carton and a Foley free, while Connal Flood struck two delightful points off the sideline.
Substitute David O'Connor, on as a blood replacement, struck a fine point from midfield but a Foley pointed free sent his side in leading by 0-10 to 0-8 at the interval.
Two Foley frees extended his side's lead before St. Anne's responded with their opening second-half score, a 39th-minute pointed free from Furlong.
Two minutes later came the game's only goal, with Connal Flood shaking off two hefty challenges before planting a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 21 metres, leaving his side in the driving seat by 1-12 to 0-9.
Alan Carton and Corey Bolger followed with two quick-fire points to give their side an eight-point advantage to take into the closing ten minutes.
Two Furlong points, one free, and a Diarmuid O'Keeffe effort near the sideline reduced the deficit, but Cloughbawn managed to hold on to their lead with some excellent support play as they overcame a jittery start.
It was an excellent performance and on the evidence of recent displays they could yet have a real say in the destination of the title.
Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, Barry Kehoe; Johnny Cullen, Páidí Cullen, M.J. Furlong; Corey Bolger (0-2), Colm Kehoe (0-1); Connal Flood (1-2), Alan Carton (0-2), Paul Foley (0-7 frees); Bob Whitty (0-1), Harry Kehoe (0-1), Tomás Foley. Sub. - Billy Wickham for T. Foley.
St. Anne's: Joe Codd; Kenny Cloney, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O'Keeffe; Aidan Rochford, Mark Furlong (0-9, 8 frees), Kevin Hannigan; Jonathan Fogarty, Cian McGovern; Redmond Barry (0-1), Diarmuid O'Keeffe (0-1), David Fogarty; Finn O'Driscoll, Rich O'Connor, Liam Og McGovern (0-2). Subs. - Rory Staford for O'Connor (25), David O'Connor (0-1) for D. O'Keeefe, temp. (28-HT), David O'Connor for D. Fogarty (32), Joe O'Conor for Barry (50), Seán Gaul for Hannigan (50).
Referee: Brian O'Leary (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).