Gorey boys best as Oulart lose low-scoring U14 clash
Naomh Eanna came out on top of a hotly-contested New Ross Standard Coiste na nÓg Under-14 hurling Division 1 championship tie with Oulart-The Ballagh in Páirc Uí Síocháin on Thursday.
Naomh Eanna 2-4 Oulart-The Ballagh 2-2
The Gorey boys suffered a disappointing first loss of the season in their last outing against Shelmaliers but dug deep to see off Oulart-The Ballagh in this tie and move themselves up to fifth in the table with three games remaining.
The losers gave as good as they got throughout. They were strong in defence with Chris Lawless at centre-back outstanding while marshalling the troops.
In attack they picked up some nice scores but came up against a side with a strong rearguard themselves.
Probably a little unusually, the sliothar spent the vast majority of game-time in play.
There were limited frees and at times the game flowed back and forth for several minutes at a time without intervention, as two evenly-matched sides cancelled each other out.
That led to a clash of few scores with defences on top. The visitors were first to hit the front as they opened brightly.
Cian Farry fed the ball into the danger area from deep, and Pierce Redmond claimed and forced the ball into the goalmouth for Declan Sinnott who picked it up and drilled past Tommy Connors.
Aaron Kirwan-Doyle pulled into the side-netting shortly after but soon Naomh Eanna were on level terms at the other end. Darragh Levingston fed the ball down the right for Seán O'Brien-Murphy, and from an acute angle he forced a looping shot to Cian McCormack's net.
Jack Corrigan edged Oulart-The Ballagh ahead with a nice score but two dead-ball points from Cian Molloy at the other end gave Gorey the interval lead (1-2 to 1-1). The first 14 minutes of the second-half were scoreless.
Jack Finn registered a free to level the tie with eleven minutes remaining but parity lasted just over a minute as Levingston fired long into the goalmouth, with Lee Cushe pulling the ball out of the sky and flashing powerfully to the visitors net.
When O'Brien-Murphy pointed, Gorey led by 2-3 to 1-2. However, there was a sting in the tail as Finn thundered a low drive to the hosts' net in added-time. With just a point in it, Cushe settled the Naomh Eanna nerves with a nice, late score to close out a solid victory for his team.
Naomh Eanna: Tommy Connors; Seán Miller, Cormac Doyle, Darragh Fitzpatrick; Shane Mahon, Ryan Connelly, Brian Cushe; Darragh Levingston, Cian Molloy (capt., 0-2 frees); George Slattery, Lee Cushe (1-1), Kevin Budeanu; Seán O'Brien-Murphy (1-1), J.J. Twamley, Seán Egan. Subs. - Shane Flood for Egan (26), Jack Curley for Budeanu (44), also Niall O'Dwyer, Michael Dineen.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Cian McCormack; Dylan O'Gorman, Jake Cox, Dan Nolan; Gerard Kennedy, Chris Lawless, Aaron Byrne; Aaron Doyle, Lorcan Nimmo; Jim Finn (1-1, 0-1 free), Cian Farry, Aaron Kirwan-Doyle; Jack Corrigan (capt., 0-1), Pierce Redmond, Declan Sinnott (1-0). Subs. - Nathan Browne for O'Gorman (28), Edward O'Dowd for Byrne (33), Stephen Devitt for Redmond (39), Bertie Finn for Farry (50+1), also Michael O'Brien, Dean McDonald, Oisín Dunne, Thomas Davis.
Referee: David Owens (Askamore).