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Thursday 19 October 2017

Honours even in lively derby

Horeswood 1-12 St. James' 0-15

Alan Aherne

St. James' marksman Kevin O'Grady is challenged by David Larkin
St. James' marksman Kevin O'Grady is challenged by David Larkin

The high stakes in this intense local derby produced a cracking contest in O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Saturday as two late Declan Murphy scores gained Horeswood their first point of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group B campaign in this merited draw with St. James'.

The Campile crew certainly would have taken this outcome after 14 minutes when they trailed by 0-7 to 0-1, but their gutsy comeback led to a gripping second-half as a David Shannon penalty goal drew them level during the third quarter.

Three of the next four points left Horeswood 1-10 to 0-11 clear with twelve minutes left, but there was another kick in St. James' and they reeled off the next four on the trot to hold the whiphand with the finishing line in sight.

Kevin O'Grady was on fire all evening, kicking six superb points from play, but he showed another side to his game in the 59th minute when he stripped Shane O'Hanlon of possession and picked out county Minor Jamie Myler for a point to push the Ramsgrange side 0-15 to 1-10 clear.

Horeswood were still very much in the game though, and a mark from captain David Larkin on the kick-out started the move which ended with the excellent Declan Murphy reducing the deficit to the minimum.

Another very promising young player, dual Wexford Minor Seán Nolan, then drew the foul which led to Murphy kicking the leveller just seven seconds into added time, but there was still time for major drama at either end.

Horeswood hearts skipped a beat when O'Grady soloed in from the right with a seventh point on his mind, but he was penalised for over-carrying before pulling the trigger.

And then it was the turn of anxiety on the part of St. James' as Leigh O'Brien hooked a late shot wide from a tight angle, having received a pass from a player who was probably in a better position to have a go.

The upshot of it all is that both teams will approach the last two rounds with everything to play for, and this fascinating group looks like going right down to the wire.

The suspended P.J. Banville and Graeme Molloy (recovering from a knee operation) were major absentees from both sides, although St. James' had more of their regulars on show than a depleted Horeswood.

And this was evident early on as it took Horeswood a long time to settle, with St. James' surging 0-7 to 0-1 clear after Brian Molloy, Jamie Myler and Kevin O'Grady gave them a tonic start.

Declan Murphy's free was merely a brief respite as Molloy, David Doyle, O'Grady and Tommy Walsh piled on the agony, and it looked like a rout was in store.

It was notable that O'Grady kicked that brace with his less-favoured right boot, before going on to add four off his left peg in a fine display of finishing.

The game was in danger of slipping away from Horeswood, but they rallied in a vital period from the 15th to the 25th minutes with five unanswered points.

Veteran Leigh O'Brien kicked two, with a couple from youngster Seán Nolan sandwiched in between, before Declan Murphy left them trailing by 0-7 to 0-6 with a fine solo score.

It was left to O'Grady to steady the St. James' ship as he slotted over two more points before the end of an enjoyable half in which all bar one of the 15 points (a Murphy free) had come from open play.

The unstoppable O'Grady swapped points with returning veteran David Shannon (free) on the re-start before Horeswood received a huge lift in the 37th minute.

Seán Nolan passed to Shane O'Hanlon whose piledriver drew a good save from John Ryan, but the Horeswood midfielder was obstructed as he tried to gather the breaking ball and a penalty was the inevitable outcome.

Shannon has been in situations like this so many times before, and he was calmness personified as he kicked a low shot to the corner of the net just out of Ryan's reach for the leveller (1-7 to 0-10).

Horeswood's tails were up, with David Larkin giving them the lead before two St. James' wides were followed by another point for Leigh O'Brien.

Jamie Myler (free) and Declan Murphy swapped scores as the excitement rose, and Conor Swaine stood up well to save an attempt on goal from Brian Molloy.

St. James' looked to have timed a winning run to perfection when Myler (free), O'Grady and Myler (free and play) pushed them ahead by 0-15 to 1-10 with points between the 54th and 59th minutes.

There was another kick left in Horeswood though and, as far as any neutral was concerned, both sides ended up with the point they deserved after this fine contest.

Horeswood: Conor Swaine; Kevin Parker, David Larkin (capt., 0-1), Steven Collins; Eddie Shiely, Ryan Harris, Barry Hearn; Shane O'Hanlon, Paddy Murphy; Seán Stafford, Leigh O'Brien (0-3), Seán Nolan (0-2); David Shannon (1-1, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free), Declan Murphy (0-5, 2 frees), Jim Wall. Subs. - Darren O'Reilly for Wall, inj. (47), Johnny Keating for Shannon (58), Michael O'Hanlon for S. O'Hanlon (60+2).

St. James': John Ryan; Greg Doyle, Robbie Barron, Paul Barron; David Doyle (0-1), Darragh Lyons, Jason Barron; Brendan Doyle, Matthew O'Hanlon; Daniel Keating, Jamie Myler (0-5, 3 frees), Brian Molloy (0-2); Tommy Walsh (0-1), Kevin O'Grady (capt., 0-6), Donal Barron. Subs. - Adam Parle for D. Barron (HT), Emmet Dunning for Walsh (46).

Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).

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