Mighty comeback from Barntown stuns Oulart
Cliches offer a hackneyed but handy way of summarising events. 'A game of two halves' certainly fits the bill to a tee in describing the Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier championship quarter-final replay at Oulart on Tuesday.
Glynn-Barntown 5-14 Oulart-The Ballagh 1-13
The home boys appeared to have their place in the semis booked when they led by a hefty matter of eleven points (1-12 to 0-4) at the interval.
Instead they were blown away by a resurgent Glynn-Barntown who contained their opponents to just one further score while racking up 5-10 in the closing half hour to win by 13.
A lively breeze whistling in from the Monageer direction goes some way to explain the turnaround, with all but five scores coming at the road end of the pitch.
But really the difference was more psychological as first one side and then the other had the upper hand to a degree which cannot be explained away by the elements.
Oulart-The Ballagh midfielder Billy Dunne looked a shoo-in for the man-of-the-match accolade as he capped an excellent all-round contribution with a couple of points from sideline cuts.
His side was ahead from within 40 seconds of throw-in after Dean Fortune rattled the net behind Adam Kennedy to seize the initiative from the first attack of the match.
Throughout the first quarter, it appeared that the lads in red and black could do no wrong and, though the momentum slowed a little in the run up to the break, many must have assumed that they had done enough to secure the win.
Then up stepped Glynn-Barntown half-back Matthew Doyle to harvest the wind to game-changing effect, reaping a harvest of scores from long-range placed balls and feeding a forward line eager to make amends for their slow start.
Doyle was magnificent and once Cormac Finn had claimed what proved to be Oulart-The Ballagh's last point on 34 minutes, the eventual winners began to play with increasing assurance.
The momentum gathered pace on 42 minutes when Kevin Mahoney was fouled and David Clarke was summoned up from defence to convert the penalty with infectious self-confidence.
A second goal put them level on 49 minutes, this one the best of the five, struck sweetly by Rowan White as he swooped in from the left corner.
The resultant puck-out was collected unchallenged by Matthew Joyce who popped over the easiest of points and put the visitors ahead for the first time.
With Oulart-The Ballagh demoralised and bewildered, the goals continued to flow, three of them in the concluding six minutes of an increasingly one-sided contest.
Mahoney claimed two and substitute Frankie Hynes also put his name on the scoresheet, shortly after coming on to replace the injured Ian Moran, as Glynn-Barntown marched on to secure their semi-final berth against Faythe Harriers.
Another well-worn cliché might almost fit the bill: 'The greatest comeback since Lazarus'.
Glynn-Barntown: Adam Kennedy; Shane Codd, Callum O'Shea, David Clarke (1-0 pen.); Matthew Doyle (0-4, 2 frees, 2 '65s), Jack Fenlon, Rowan White (1-0); Conor Fenlon, James Stafford; Pádraic Weafer (0-3), Matthew Joyce (0-5, 2 '65s, 1 free), Kevin Mahoney (2-0); Fionn Cooney, Ian Moran, Ben O'Shea. Subs. - Aaron Kehoe (0-2, 1 free) for Fenlon (24), Ciarán Joyce for Cooney (39), Frankie Hynes (1-0) for Moran, inj. (51), Daniel Carroll for B. O'Shea (53).
Oulart-The Ballagh: Cathal Sinnott; Seán Murphy, David Rossiter, Kevin Sinnott; Aidan Murphy, Kevin Sheridan, Darragh Nimmo; Billy Dunne (0-8, 4 frees, 2 line balls), Conor Lawless; Dean Fortune (1-0), Craig Davitt, Cormac Finn (0-2); Murtha Doyle (0-1), Martin Óg Storey (0-1), Cathal Kenny (0-1). Sub. - Daryl Gray for Lawless (56).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').