Bragging rights for Oylegate-Glenbrien
The tale of this local derby will be told by Oylegate-Glenbrien for some months to come after they fashioned a highly-deserved seven-point victory over a disappointing Crosabeg-Ballymurn in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Oylegate-Glenbrien 2-16 Crosabeg-Ballymurn 1-12
While it may have taken until the closing ten minutes for the eventual winners to turn on the style, they always looked the more likely side destined for victory as they controlled most of the outfield exchanges.
As a result, it was no real surprise that they finished the game with a flurry of scores to secure their final spot.
Unfortunately for Crossabeg-Ballymurn, they failed to turn up on the day. While they remained in contention for three-quarters of the game, they lacked the battling qualities synonymous with previous outings, so it was always a struggle to remain in contention let alone turn in a winning flourish. They were clearly second best and can have few grumbles with the eventual result.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn started the game playing into the breeze. They had the ideal opening with two Barry Murphy pointed frees inside the opening five minutes, while in between full-forward David Jackman failed to get his hurley to a Niall Murphy ball across the face of a gaping goal, and with it a great chance went a begging.
Oylegate-Glenbrien had to wait until the seventh minute for their opening score, a Seamus Casey pointed free off the wing, while one minute later Podge Doran lofted over a huge point off the sideline to bring the sides level (0-2 each).
The losers' goal lived a charmed existence in the ninth minute when Podge Doran had an effort cleared off the line, with the incoming Seamus Casey also seeing his return shot beaten away to safety.
Despite this double setback, Oylegate-Glenbrien continued to attack, adding points through Casey from a 50-metre free and Conor Heffernan with a 50-metre effort off the sideline to lead by 0-4 to 0-2.
However, by the end of the opening quarter the sides were back level through two Barry Murphy pointed frees. After a Casey pointed free had restored his side's lead, Crossabeg-Ballymurn battled back for points through a Barry Murphy free from distance and Sam Kelly.
Oylegate-Glenbrien secured an inspirational score after 20 minutes. Following a sweeping movement, Conor Heffernan played the ball inside to Jamie Reck who crashed a low shot to the opposite corner of the net, giving his side a 1-5 to 0-6 lead.
Trailing by 1-8 to 0-7 entering the closing minute of the half, Crossabeg-Ballymurn finished with a flourish, adding a point through a Barry Murphy free before Niall Murphy set up David Jackman for a well-executed goal to tie the sides (1-8 each).
However, Seamus Casey had the final say of the half with a pointed free from midfield to leave his side leading by 1-9 to 1-8 at the interval.
Within one minute of the re-start a Barry Murphy 60-metre free had the sides back level, but two Casey points (free and '65) restored his side's slender lead.
With Murphy and Casey continuing to share the scores, a David Jackman point evened up the sides once again (1-12 each) with 13 minutes remaining.
With the score failing to inspire his side, they failed to add to their tally as Oylegate-Glenbrien made a determined surge for victory. Accepting the challenge laid down by their opponents, they struck back for quickfire points from Peter Nolan and Robert O'Connor, with further points from a Casey free, and a delighful lift and strike effort from Doran, extending their lead to 1-16 to 1-12.
With the game in added time, Peter Nolan played a ball inside into space for Seamus Casey to crash home a goal from close in as his side continued to push forward in search of scores. Minutes earlier a great double save by 'keeper Mark Dempsey kept out efforts from Casey and substitute Barry Dunne.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: John Foley; Michael Heffernan, Bryan McCormack, Shane Reck; Fergal Doran (0-2), Jim White, Fergus Heffernan; Damien Reck (0-1), Mark Kavanagh; Conor Heffernan (0-1), Jamie Reck (1-0), Peter Nolan (0-1); Eoin O'Mahoney, Podge Doran (0-2), Seamus Casey (1-8, 0-8 frees). Subs. - Robert O'Connor (0-1) for White, inj. (14), Conor Doyle for C. Heffernan (45), Barry Dunne for O'Mahoney (53).
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Ronan Devereux, Billy Roche, Matthew Sludds; Alan Byrne, Pádraig Foley, David Kehoe; Paddy Devereux, Barry Murphy (0-9, 7 frees, 1 '65); Oisín Foley, Shane O'Rourke, Bill Eviston; Niall Murphy (0-1 line ball), David Jackman (1-1), Sam Kelly (0-1). Subs. - Paul Roche for R. Devereux (10), Tony Murphy for O. Foley (39), Seamus Carroll for P. Devereux (52), David Murphy for Eviston (60).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').