Mellows coast to victory
Liam Mellows look good for a place in the quarter-finals of the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship after overwhelming Marshalstown-Castledockrell in this Group A tie in Monamolin on Sunday.
Liam Mellows 3-16 Marshalstown-Castledockrell 1-5
The greatest weapon that the Coolgreany side possessed was their vastly superior athleticism. The teams might have had comparable hurling skills but the victors simply did everything at a much quicker tempo.
The tone for the first-half was set in the opening minute when Brendan Halpin's handpass across goal was whipped to the net by Colm Morris.
While John Cullen replied with a point in the fifth minute, Liam Mellows went on to score nine on the bounce, five of which came from the dead-ball prowess of Stephen O'Rafferty.
Marshalstown-Castledockrell gave themselves a glimmer of hope on the stroke of half-time when Frank Kelly swept home a breaking ball. However, his side still trailed by 1-9 to 1-1 at the change-around.
Michael Kelly, playing in attack after the break, had a chance to bookend the interval for Marshalstown-Castledockrell with a pair of majors but Seán Roche made a superb low save from his 31st-minute penalty.
While they would still add four second-half points, the Farmleigh side would never really trouble Liam Mellows. Substitute Micheál O Scanall pulled home their second goal to make it 2-13 to 1-3 with eleven minutes remaining.
That goal came just after John Cullen was dismissed but before Johnny Frayne got his marching orders as Marshalstown-Castledockrell lost their discipline. Shane Halpin squeezed in a third goal at the near post from a tight angle in injury time as the victors ended with a flourish.
Liam Mellows look good for a place in the last eight, and they will guarantee it with a draw or better against Ballyfad in their final game but they will likely progress regardless. Marshalstown-Castledockrell will be just happy to avoid a relegation final at this stage.
Liam Mellows: Seán Roche; Stephen Moloney, Conor Cleary, Joe Gardiner; Colin Kennedy, Danny Gardiner, Andy Merrigan; Aaron Condren (0-1), Risteárd Kinsella; Marc Halpin (0-1), Colm Morris (1-0), Gavin Stamp (0-2); Brendan Halpin (0-4), Richard Farrell, Stephen O'Rafferty (0-8 frees). Subs. - Shane Halpin (1-0) for Kinsella, inj. (37), Micheál Ó Scanall (1-0) for Farrell, inj. (43), Liam Condren for Stamp, inj. (57).
Marshalstown-Castledockrell: Michael Kelly; Michael Hughes, David O'Connor, Tomás Bennett; Joe Kelly, Johnny Frayne, Jack Quigley; Mick Kehoe, John Cullen (0-1); Colm Bennett (0-3, 2 '65s, 1 free), Michael Morris, Mitch Jordan (0-1); Eoin Bennett, Andrew Quigley, Frank Kelly (1-0). Subs. - P.J. O'Brien for T. Bennett (18), Darragh Kehoe for J. Kelly (31), Mark Kehoe (Milehouse) for Quigley (31).
Referee: Derek Murphy (St. Martin's).