Murphy points way to victory

Monageer-Boolavogue 0-13 Crossabeg-Ballymurn 1-9

Alan Aherne

Four scores from sharpshooting midfielder Larry Murphy made all the difference in Monamolin on Saturday as a steadily-improving Monageer-Boolavogue forged a second successive one-point win in Group B of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship and claimed another notable scalp in the process.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn, beaten finalists in 2015, may be without some key figures from that team at present, but it was still a fine achievement from the men in red to follow up their earlier victory over Adamstown by the same margin, and repeat last year's 1-9 to 0-9 win over Saturday's rivals.

Midfielder Murphy hit three of his points in the first-half as Monageer-Boolavogue gradually played their way into the game after trailing by 0-4 to 0-1 in the 13th minute.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn's Niall Murphy has spent most of his playing days at corner-forward, but he revelled in the new-found freedom of the '40 in that first quarter to spray the passes around and play a direct role in points for Oisín Foley (free) and Conor Devereux.

Sam Kelly and Foley (play) also registered for the Over The Water side, with Larry Murphy the sole Monageer-Boolavogue marksman until Brian O'Loughlin and Shane Gahan reduced arrears to the minimum entering the second quarter.

The movement of O'Loughlin was a key component in his side's victory, taking Crossabeg-Ballymurn captain Billy Roche away from his comfort zone on the edge of the square.

With Monageer-Boolavogue gaining confidence with every passing minute, it was essential that they retired for the interval with a lead, and this was ensured when O'Loughlin converted a '65 with the last puck of the half (0-8 to 0-7).

It was their first time to be ahead, with Larry Murphy, Diarmuid Fenlon, O'Loughlin (free) and Murphy again on target earlier while Niall Murphy, Conor Devereux and Oisín Foley (free) responded for the Wexford District side.

Foley also had the only clearcut goal chance of the half in the 28th minute, but reliable Monageer-Boolavogue netminder Seán Murphy made an important save.

While ex-Kildare regular Tony Murphy levelled just 22 seconds after the re-start, the reds stretched ahead by 10-8 thanks to Brian O'Loughlin points from play and a free on either side of another goal effort at the far end by Foley that was stopped.

Monageer-Boolavogue had momentum, but it looked like they were shooting themselves in the foot as they struck six wides from an overall second-half tally of ten (and 14 in total) before the third quarter was over.

And their task grew even harder as a 14-minute scoreless spell for both sides finally ended when Tony Murphy controlled a Billy Roche clearance and cut in before finishing to the net off his left side for a 1-8 to 0-10 lead.

Shane Gahan replied swiftly with a scooped point before a Niall Murphy free pushed Crossabeg-Ballymurn one ahead once more with eleven minutes left.

He later missed a scoreable free though, and the deadly-accurate Larry Murphy levelled before the Monageer-Boolavogue winner arrived in the 55th minute.

Chris Daly's clearance down the right flank was latched on to by Shane Gahan who soloed into open space before handpassing inside at the ideal time for Diarmuid Fenlon to split the posts.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn did have a chance deep into added time after Sam Kelly caught a Mark Dempsey puck-out and fed Ronan Devereux, but the wily Stephen Murphy timed his block to perfection just as the county footballer was about to shoot for a point.

It would be very foolish to write off the losers so early in the campaign, but without the travelling Pádraig Foley they lack a certain something, a bit like jelly without ice-cream or takeaway fish without chips.

As for Monageer-Boolavogue, this win sets them up nicely for the local derby on August 12 versus Shamrocks, another side to win by one point last weekend.

Monageer-Boolavogue: Seán Murphy; Graham O'Reilly, Chris Daly, Liam Gahan; Niall O'Reilly, Tommy Breen (capt.), Mick Sweeney; Ian Hawkins, Larry Murphy (0-4); Stephen Murphy, Damien Fenlon, Cathal Walsh; Diarmuid Fenlon (0-2), Brian O'Loughlin (0-5, 2 frees, 1 '65), Shane Gahan (0-2). Subs. - Colm O'Loughlin for Damien Fenlon (50), Peter Mernagh for Hawkins, inj. (60+1).

Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Alan Byrne, Billy Roche (capt.), Matty Sludds; Conor Shovlin, David Kehoe, Paddy Devereux; Conor Devereux (0-2), Ronan Devereux; Shane O'Rourke, Niall Murphy (0-2, 1 free), Sam Kelly (0-1); Oisín Foley (0-3, 2 frees), Tony Murphy (1-1), David Jackman. Subs. - Paul Roche for Byrne (42), Eoin McDonald for O'Rourke (43).

Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).

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