Ex-Galway Seniors deny Duffry Leinster final spot
A spirited Duffry Rovers side came up just short in a keenly-contested All-Ireland Junior 'B' series Leinster hurling semi-final against Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry in Heywood Community College, Ballinakill, Co. Laois on Sunday.
Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 1-13 Duffry Rovers 2-7
The Coolree boys, who had trailed since the 22nd minute, came within a whisker of overturning a six-point deficit with four minutes remaining when veteran Ger Coleman's injury-time effort ruffled the side-netting.
However, it wasn't to be for the powerful full-forward as his side came up just a little short against sprightly Galway opponents on the astro turf at the Laois school, in the unofficial All-Ireland tournament organised by Limerick's Killeedy club.
As often is the case with uncommon opponents, the sides felt each other out in the first ten minutes without registering a score. The Duffry eventually made the first burst with points from Micheál Doyle (two) and Gavin Watchorn to lead by 0-3 to 0-1 after the opening quarter.
A stroke of bad luck, with Jamie Blake's long-range effort finding the Duffry net, soon gave the westerners the lead but Rovers hit back with a major through Doyle after he smashed Mattie O'Connors long feed to the rigging.
From level-pegging, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry registered the final three points of the first-half, to take a 1-6 to 1-3 lead in at the interval, despite the Wexford club coming close to a second goal on a couple of occasions.
Doyle was on target when the Duffry pulled within two early in the second-half, but the Galway side responded through former county player Kevin Broderick. There remained three points in it (1-9 to 1-6) as the game entered the last twelve minutes.
Hopes looked forlorn for Rovers when a quick brace from Blake and a point from another ex-Galway Senior, Liam Hodgins, doubled the advantage, but they refused to give up and got right back into the game when Coleman found the net after a scramble following a Doyle free.
Another Coleman point narrowed the gap to two (1-12 to 2-7) with four minutes left, but Broderick settled the nerves with a point and the Galway guys survived the late close call to reach the Leinster decider.
Duffry Rovers: Kaylem Fenlon; Craig Casey, Larry Doyle, Tom O'Connor; Ted O'Brien, Seamie Cullen (capt.), Glen Rafter; Mattie O'Connor, Kevin Nolan; John McCarthy, Loughlin Rafter, Conor Nolan; Micheál Doyle (1-4, 0-2 frees), Ger Coleman (1-2), Gavin Watchorn (0-1). Subs. - Gavin Rafter for McCarthy (47), Brian Cullen for Watchorn (50), also Colm Ryan, Barry O'Connor, Conor English, Paul Coleman, Michael Fardy, Seamus Breen, Jason Watchorn, Shane Fitzgerald.
Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry: Kevin Ryan; Tony Robinson, Karl Kavanagh, Shane Flynn; Ethan Thornton, Liam Hodgins (0-1), Darragh Hoban; Declan Donnelly (0-1), John Breheny; Thomas Murphy, Andrew Burke, Jamie Blake (1-3); Thomas Gordon (0-5 frees), Kevin Broderick (0-3), Damien Hayes. Subs. - Paul Flynn for Hayes (39), Kevin Farragher for Murphy (48).
Referee: John Lawlor (Laois).