Doyle and Mac star for Gorey
Vital win for promoted side
The accuracy of Pádraig Doyle and Conor McDonald helped Naomh Eanna to a fully-merited victory over St. Anne's in Group A of the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship in Bellefield on Sunday.
Naomh Eanna 1-15 St. Anne's 1-12
There may have only been a puck of the ball between the sides at the end but, in truth, Naomh Eanna should have been out of sight before a late St. Anne's rally set the pulses racing.
When Conor McDonald fired over a booming, long-range effort in the 50th minute it put the Gorey side 1-15 to 0-9 ahead, and three minutes later they were inches away from extending their advantage when first Gearóid Cullen hit the crossbar and McDonald's follow-up effort was blocked on the line.
Even when things are going against them, one thing a St. Anne's side won't do is lie down, and they made the most of the let-off to get themselves back within striking distance.
An injury time goal from Francis Simpson gave them hope of pulling the game out of the fire, and when Diarmuid O'Keeffe split the posts moments later there was only a goal between the sides.
However, time ran out on the St. Anne's fightback and Naomh Eanna were able to celebrate a deserved victory that goes a long way to preserving their Senior status.
St. Anne's started brightly enough, getting the first two points on the board through a Mark Furlong '65 and Francis Simpson, but Naomh Eanna burst into life in the ninth minute when Aodhán Doyle hit the back of the net.
Conor McDonald saw his shot well saved by Paddy Miskella but Doyle was following up and he batted the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
Eoin Conroy followed it up with a fine point on the run, and Conor McDonald added another after Conroy's effort at a point struck the crossbar and rebounded back into play.
The impressive Pádraig Doyle then knocked over two points either side of a Mark Furlong free, before St. Anne's suffered a major blow when Liam Og McGovern had to leave the field injured.
That said, his replacement, David O'Connor, more than showed his worth, contributing three points from play.
Pádraig Doyle continued to shine, firing over the next two points, while Gearóid Cullen tried his luck from long range and was up to the task, giving his side a 1-7 to 0-3 advantage.
Michael O'Brien and David O'Connor replied as St. Anne's clung on to Naomh Eanna's coat-tails by their fingernails, but a William Cullen point gave the north county outfit a six-point lead at the interval.
Things could have been even better for last year's Intermediate champions but David O'Brien saw his injury time shot well saved by Miskella after he had been found by Conor McDonald.
Two Pádraig Doyle frees early in the second-half stretched the lead to eight but the scores were quickly cancelled out by David O'Connor and Mark Furlong (free).
Naomh Eanna then built up a 1-15 to 0-9 lead by the 50th minute, with Conor McDonald shaking off the shackles to fire over four fine points, Pádraig Doyle adding a '65, and Francis Simpson and Mark Furlong replying for St. Anne's.
Points from Joe and David O'Connor gave St. Anne's a semblance of hope and they were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to make further inroads into the lead when Francis Simpson was brought down for a penalty with three minutes remaining.
Mark Furlong saw his effort rattle the crossbar but St. Anne's weren't throwing in the towel just yet.
A Furlong free was gathered by Simpson and he forced the ball over the line, and Diarmuid O'Keeffe added a point to leave just a goal between the sides.
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Peter Travers, Brendan Travers, Tom Stafford; Seán Doyle, Lee Kinsella, Gary Molloy; Eoin Conroy (0-1), Dara McDonald; William Cullen (0-1), Pádraig Doyle (0-7, 3 frees, 1 '65), Gearóid Cullen (0-1); David O'Brien, Conor McDonald (0-5), Aodhán Doyle (1-0). Subs. - John O'Brien for Kinsella, Kevin Harrington for D. McDonald, Darren Hughes for O'Brien, Conor Hughes for A. Doyle.
St. Anne's: Paddy Miskella; Seán Gaul, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O'Keeffe; Kevin Hannigan, Cian McGovern, Kenny Cloney; Mark Furlong (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '65), Seamus Mythen; Diarmuid O'Keeffe (0-1), David Kavanagh, Redmond Barry; Michael O'Brien (0-1), Francis Simpson (1-2), Liam Og McGovern. Subs. - David O'Connor (0-3) for McGovern, Jonathan Fogarty for O'Brien, Joe O'Connor (0-1) for Hannigan.
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).