Cuchulainns hold on
Cuchulainns clung on to their Wexford People Coiste na nOg Minor hurling championship Roinn 2 lives with a hard-fought one-point victory over Na Fianna in Farmleigh.
Cuchulainns 3-6 Na Fianna 1-11
The visitors, a combination of Liam Mellows, Ballyfad and Tara Rocks, got themselves into a winning position early in the second-half when Eoin Cullen collected his third pointed free of the evening (3-5 to 1-5).
However, only one point would follow for Cuchulainns as the Na Fianna combination, a mix of Marshalstown-Castledockrell and Davidstown-Courtnacuddy, dragged themselves all the way back to within a point with some superb hurling, only to come up one shy.
With so many clubs involved it could be difficult to achieve the cohesion that comes naturally with other sides who are more fortunate with numbers. Yet, that wasn't the case in this game as both teams combined well and produced an entertaining spectacle on a rainy evening.
The sides were level at two points apiece following points for Donal O'Shea and Diarmuid Doyle for Na Fianna, Cullen and Eoin Whitmore for Cuchulainns, when the home team took the lead with a classy goal.
Barry Doyle played the ball down the left for James Kelly, and the strong full-forward flipped across for Diarmuid Doyle who shot to the net.
Following points from Bill Harrington and Shane Halpin, it was 1-3 to 0-3 in the 20th minute when Cuchulainns notched the equalising goal when Whitmore's ball in broke to Luke Devitt and he beat Seán Cooper.
Eoin Cullen's free put Cuchulainns ahead for the first time and that lead grew to four when Devitt found the rigging for the second time after good persistence from Halpin and Lee Murphy. A second O'Shea point for Na Fianna left three between the sides at the interval (2-4 to 1-4).
James Farrell might have picked off the first score of the half but the visitors went further ahead when Cullen's '65 flew all the way into the hosts' net. The score was 3-5 to 1-5 after another free from the midfielder.
However, he would only add one more point for his side as Na Fianna scored six in the same spell through Doyle, O'Shea, Ryan Murray, James Kelly and Mark Kehoe to fall one short. Cuchulainns will now play St. Patrick's for a semi-final spot while Na Fianna drop into the shield competition.
Cuchulainns: Darragh Brookes; Donnacha McDonald, Cathal Gregan, Ross Cody; Frank Roche, Cathal O'Reilly, Paul Carton; Joe Gardiner, Eoin Cullen (1-4, 0-4 frees, 1-0 '65); Cormac Whitmore (capt., 0-1), Lee Murphy, Patrick Dempsey; Luke Devitt (2-0), Robert Brookes, Shane Halpin (0-1). Subs. - Rory Heffernan for Dempsey (40), also Kyle Ryan, Cathal Hayes, Oisín Condren, Barry Dooley.
Na Fianna: Adam Harte; Darragh Cooper, David Brennan (capt.), Ben Finn; Dan Delaney, Mark Kehoe (0-1), Barry Doyle; Bill Harrington (0-1), Pádraig McLoughlin; Mark Morris, Donal O'Shea (0-3), Michael Kinsella; Mark Murphy, James Kelly (0-1), Diarmuid Doyle (1-3, 0-2 frees). Subs. - Seán Cooper for Harte (4), Ryan Murray (0-1) for McLoughlin (31), James Farrell (0-1) for Kinsella (31), Peadar Roche for D. Doyle (50), also Brian Ormonde.
Referee: Enda Flynn (Oulart-The Ballagh).