Lights shine on Gusserane win
Victory crowns special night
It was a memorable night for the Gusserane club, playing their first championship game under their newly-installed floodlights, as they stormed home in the closing stages to register a four-point victory over Ballyhogue in their Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior 'A' football quarter-final on Friday.
Gusserane 0-11 Ballyhogue 0-7
On a glorious evening, as dusk settled on the sky, the floodlights flashed on, and Derek Murphy as match referee had the honour of starting a championship first at the excellent rural grounds.
It was age-old rivals Ballyhogue who provided the opposition, and it was veteran Robert Corcoran who eventually fired his side to victory in a game that looked like slipping from their grasp having led by five points at the break.
Playing with the breeze in the first-half, Gusserane looked like having laid the foundations for victory in a 30-minute period they mostly controlled, and but for some over-elaborate approach work and erratic finishing their lead at the break could have been greater.
Two points from corner-forward Seán O'Connor, one from a free, along with a Fintan Ryan effort, left them leading by 0-3 to nil at the end of the opening quarter. Ballyhogue had to wait until the 16th minute for their opening score, a Shane Roche pointed free after he had pulled an earlier effort wide.
At this stage Gusserane were playing all the quality football, with servant of many decades John Roche prominent in midfield, adding further points through Seán O'Connor (two, one free), Robert Corcoran and Fintan Ryan.
Ballyhogue in one of their few attacks saw Jim Bob Levingstone cut through the centre, only for his rising shot to clip the crossbar and go over for a point to leave it 0-7 to 0-2 at the interval.
Ballyhogue responded in the second-half in a quite amazing transformation as they took total control. Within three minutes of the re-start Shane Roche pointed a free before veteran Jim Bob Levingstone kicked over four splendid unanswered points to bring the sides level (0-7 each) with twelve minutes remaining.
As Ballyhogue continued to push forward in search of a lead score, they were twice hit on the break by Gusserane who by now must have realised that it was going to need someone to take charge of the game.
And it was veteran Robert Corcoran, from the centre-forward role, who lofted over two huge long-range points to restore his side's lead (0-9 to 0-7) after 55 minutes.
With the Ballyhogue challenge now fading, Fintan Ryan and Corcoran tagged on further points.
And in the closing minute after substitute Jack Culleton had been fouled, another replacement, Nicky Cahill, crashed the resulting penalty kick off the upright, with the loose ball eventually being cleared before referee Derek Murphy called time, leaving Guserane in the semi-final.
Gusserane: Brian Hennessy; Seán Kinsella, Conor Cleary, Tommy Cosgrave; Robert Browne, Paul Wall, James Redmond; John Roche, Ciarán Conway; Martin Fitzharris, Robert Corcoran (0-4), Shane Doyle; Seán O'Connor (0-4, 2 frees), Fintan Ryan (0-3), Eoin Foran. Subs. - Nicky Cahill for Fitzharris, Jack Culleton for Cosgrave, Seamie Ryan for O'Connor, William Burhill for Doyle.
Ballyhogue: Enda Byrne; Jack Fortune, Fionn Rochford, Shane Fenlon; Peter Doyle, James Whelan, Cian Rodgers; Michael Parker, Shane Roche (0-2 frees); Declan Power, Jim Bob Levingstone (0-5), Darragh Byrne; Paddy Carr, Darragh Doyle, Aidan O'Brien. Subs. - Liam Kelly for O'Brien, David Byrne for Fortune, Cathal Byrne for Carr.
Referee: Derek Murphy (St. Martin's).