Hughes hits winners as Ballyfad edge it
County footballer Niall Hughes was the Ballyfad match-winner in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy on Sunday when his two late points earned a narrow win over Clongeen in Group A of the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship.
Ballyfad 0-14 Clongeen 0-13
It was close throughout, with the spoils being shared on five separate occasions in the first quarter alone. The free-taking of Michael Byrne kept the scoreboard ticking over for Ballyfad, while Collie Byrne and Paudie Cahill hit the target from play for the south county side.
Byrne and Lorcan Clare made it 0-7 to 0-5 in Ballyfad's favour, and they went on to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break although Clare should have done better with a goalscoring chance which he drove wide.
Byrne quickly widened the gap to four with another brace of points, but the wind-aided Clongeen came strongly into contention as Emmet Kent, Gary O'Grady and Collie Byrne all split the posts.
A Kent free gave them the lead as the game moved into the last quarter. Michael Byrne equalised from a placed ball, only for Gary O'Grady to convert a placed ball for Clongeen on the 60-minute mark.
Ballyfad had to dig deep to edge over the line in added time, with Niall Hughes levelling from a free four minutes in before picking off the winner from play.
It leaves the north county men with full points from two outings whereas Clongeen have yet to get off the mark.
And it means that their third round clash on the weekend of May 23-24 with Marshalstown-Castledockrell is a must-win for both.
Ballyfad: Darren Murphy; Enda O'Leary, Edward Hughes, Killian O'Toole; Aidan Jones, Mark Gethings, Jim Hughes; Niall Hughes (0-2, 1 free), Conor Devitt; Dean O'Toole (0-1), Richard Hughes, Mark Boland (0-1); Lorcan Clare (0-1), Bobby Hughes, Michael Byrne (0-9, 5 frees, 1 '65). Sub. - Tom Hughes for B. Hughes.
Clongeen: Ricky Rochford; Donal Murphy, Donal Whelan, Marty Reville; Tom Donovan, Paudie Cullen, Cathal Murphy; Paudie Cahill (0-2), Paul Curtis; Enda Murphy, Emmet Kent (0-5, 4 frees), Ger Foxe; Collie Byrne (0-2), Gary O'Grady (0-4, 1 free), Christopher Cullen. Subs. - Peter Anthony Wall for E. Murphy, Jamesie Rochford for Foxe, Danny O'Grady for Donovan, Stephen Curtis for P. Curtis, inj.
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).