Mellows off the mark
Two goals that any team would be annoyed to concede proved the real difference between these sides in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group B at Ferns on Sunday, as Liam Mellows got the better of Gorey District rivals St. Patrick's (Ballyoughter) by four points.
Liam Mellows 2-11 St Patrick's 0-13
Both goals were scored by Tommy Dixon. The first came from a penalty that was needlessly conceded after eight minutes, as players bunched over a ball in the Pat's goalmouth, only for a defender to pull high, wide, and loose, with referee Joe Kelly sounding the whistle and signalling for the penalty immediately.
With the new one-man-on-the-line rule, Dixon made no mistake in shooting past Stuart Quinn in the Pat's goal.
The second goal was the real deciding factor, and it came on 47 minutes, just as the Pat's were keeping the gap at between two and three points, and really making a game of it.
Players again bunched in front of the Pat's goal - this time under a high dropping ball - but all defenders' eyes were on the ball rather than on Dixon, as he stole around the side in the hope of a break.
And when that break did indeed come his way, he had the relatively simple task of just tapping to the net.
That had his side 2-9 to 0-9 ahead, and while St. Pat's did have slightly the better of the scoring stakes in the closing quarter, they never looked like getting the goal that they really needed to revive their hopes.
The defeat now leaves them mired to the foot of the group table with three losses from their three games played, and the relegation play-off could beckon.
Liam Mellows - who were also point-less going into this game - now have a chance of making the quarter-finals, and their next match, against fellow strugglers Geraldine O'Hanrahans, may prove crucial.
Liam Mellows: Dylan Gregan; Aaron Condren, Conor Cleary, Liam Condren; Peter Fogarty, Andy Merrigan (0-1), Joe Gardiner; Risteárd Kinsella (0-1), Danny Gardiner (0-1); Stephen Maloney, Brendan Halpin (0-2), Tommy Dixon (2-3, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees, 0-1 '65); Donal Kavanagh, Richard Farrell, Stephen O'Rafferty (0-3). Subs. - Pádraig Byrne for Fogarty, Daniel Kennedy for Kavanagh, Alan Halvey for O'Rafferty.
St. Patrick's: Stuart Quinn; Dylan Kavanagh, Michael O'Brien, James Cousins; Peter Roche, John Cousins, Tommy Morris; Tommy Dunne (0-3), Hughie Doyle; Niall O'Brien, John Doyle (0-3, 2 line balls), Daryl Murphy; Lorcan Hamilton (0-1), Stephen Ryan (0-4 frees), Tynan Flynn (0-1). Sub. - Andrew Doyle for O'Brien.
Referee: Joe Kelly (Naomh Eanna).