Crucial Gorey win

Naomh Eanna 2-9 Buffers Alley 0-3

Dean Goodison

Eoin O'Meara of Buffers Alley is closed down by Brian Cushe (Naomh Eanna) during Friday's clash in Gorey
Eoin O'Meara of Buffers Alley is closed down by Brian Cushe (Naomh Eanna) during Friday's clash in Gorey
Cormac Walsh of Buffers Alley about to strike as Naomh Eanna's Rian Fitzpatrick applies pressure
The triumphant Naomh Eanna squad

Naomh Eanna grabbed a critical victory in their bid to make the semi-finals of the New Ross Standard Under-14 hurling Division 1 championship in Páirc Uí Shíocháin on Friday.

The hosts were in desperate need of a victory after winning one and drawing two of their first four games. However, national Féile semi-finalists Buffers Alley are hardly the opponent you'd want to face in such circumstances.

Yet the sight of the Monamolin lads seemed to bring the best out of Gorey as they chose the perfect time to find their most complete performance of the season. There was no single area of the side that deserves the credit, as this was simply a superb team performance.

Desperation can be a big motivational tool and Naomh Eanna certainly played like their championship lives were on the line. The way they swarmed around the Alley boys, never allowing their visitors a free shot, was so impressive.

The losers will have better days. Buffers Alley came into this contest on top of the table but ended it just a point away from fifth place, such is the parity at the summit. They will bounce back and will be a force to be reckoned with if they make the last four.

They started this game with an opening score from Michael Butler, had plenty of the ball in the first-half, but struggled to break down a fantastic Gorey defence. At the other end both wing-forwards, Kyle Kenny and Shane Mahon, got on the scoresheet as the hosts move ahead after the opening quarter.

Naomh Eanna put on the afterburners before the break. Cormac Doyle drilled a low rasper from 20 metres out to the net and Lee Cushe followed it with four straight points to see the home side into a 1-6 to 0-1 interval lead.

The lively J.J. Twamley opened his account after the re-start but Cormac Walsh immediately responded. Adam Doyle picked off a nice score from the left of the posts in the 30th minute but his side wouldn't score again, despite plenty of pressure.

At the other end Gorey did enough to see themselves over the finish line. Doyle added a classy point before Shane Mahon drilled home a clinching goal. Lee Cushe capped a fine individual performance with the last free as Naomh Eanna moved into the top four with two games to go.

Naomh Eanna: Rory Tubritt; Darragh Fitzpatrick, Cian Ó Túama, Seán Egan; Conor Kelly, Rian Fitzpatrick, Enda McCrea; Brian Cushe, Cormac Doyle (1-1); Kyle Kenny (0-1), Lee Cushe (0-5, 3 frees), Shane Mahon (1-1); Tom Wheatly, J.J. Twamley (0-1), Shane Flood. Subs. - Scott Murphy for Wheatly (41), also Ryan Callaghan, Jamie Kinch, Tiarnan Black, Ruadhan Redmond, Harry McGuckin, Eoin Murphy, Tony Connors, Daniel Ennis, Ross Kavanagh, Dylan C. Leonard, Rúairí Sheil, Niall Dwyer, Mylie Connors.

Buffers Alley: Adam Back; Stephen Furlong, Jack Redmond, Adam Doyle (0-1); Dillon McEvoy, Shamey O'Hagan, Edward Harney; Jack Twomey, Eoin O'Meara; Pádraig Kinsella, Cormac Walsh (0-1 free), Seán Kirwan; Thomas Whelan, Michael Butler (0-1), Tristan Whelan-Byrne. Subs. - Shane Meleady for Whelan-Byrne (44), also Kevin Doyle, Darragh Prendergast, Colin Kinsella, Brian Kirwan.

Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).

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