No trouble for North as Division 3 final spot sealed
North Wexford will face Dublin Plunkett for the William Robinson Cup after they beat Derry in the Celtic Challenge Under-17 Division 3 semi-final in Abbottstown on Saturday.
North Wexford 6-15 Derry 1-8
Unlike their previous outing against a lively Meath side, Derry posed no real threat to a North Wexford outfit which scored goals at will and was able to clear their bench early in the second-half.
The star again was Chris Turner, scoring his second hat-trick in consecutive games and bringing his tally in the last three outings to 8-21.
But there was plenty of help around the Ferns St. Aidan's clubman, with Daryl Gray and Eoin Cullen finding the net as part of a devastating full-forward line.
At the back Cathal O'Reilly was a colossus, winning the battle aerially and on the ground against Derry's most talented attacking weapon, Fintan Bradley. It took just three minutes for the Slaneysiders to hit the net for the first time.
Turner's crossfield ball found Jack Reck whose shot was blocked, but only as far as Daryl Gray who smashed to the net. Derry were just about hanging on until Turner used his pace to get away from their defence and shoot low past Tom McGovern.
A 2-3 to 0-3 lead increased to nine points when Gray tipped home his second goal from close range following a searching Turner ball. In the 21st minute Turner nabbed his second from a classy pass by the dangerous Eoin Cullen.
Liam Mellows clubman Cullen was the next to beat McGovern with a close-range pull after Gray's ball into the goalmouth slipped out of the 'keeper's hand.
Leading by 5-6 to 0-4 at the interval, the game was over as a contest, allowing manager Mick Byrne to make wholesale changes in the third quarter.
There was still time, before he was rested, for Turner to smash home a sixth goal in the 32rd minute from a good piece of work by Jeff Tobin. The substitutions and light rain took a little of the tempo out of the clash but several of the replacements shone.
Niall Nimmo looked strong in defence while there were also points off the bench for Cathal Doyle (three), Tobin and Jamie Roban.
At the other end, Fintan Bradley squeezed a 20-metre free past a crowded goal-line but it mattered little in the end.
North Wexford's opposition in Saturday's Nowlan Park final, Dublin Plunkett, picked up just one win in the group but did draw with Division 1 side Offaly and have had two easy wins to reach the title decider.
North Wexford: Jack Quinn; Barry Doyle, Cathal O'Reilly, James Dempsey; Rory Heffernan, Ross Cody, Mike Kelly (0-1); Diarmuid Doyle (0-1), Cian Fitzhenry; Jack Reck (0-3 frees), Edward Dunbar, Charlie McGuckin (0-1); Daryl Gray (2-0), Eoin Cullen (1-0), Chris Turner (3-4, 0-2 frees). Subs. - Brian O'Neill for Cullen (31), Niall Nimmo for B. Doyle (31), Jeff Tobin (0-1) for McGuckin (31), Bradley Collier for Cody (35), Shane Stokes for Dempsey (37), Cathal Doyle (0-3) for Turner (38), Lee McHale for D. Doyle (40), Shane Stafford for Fitzhenry (41), Jamie Roban (0-1) for Gray (42), Eoin Kennedy for Dunbar (43).
Derry: Tom McGovern; Ciarán Doyle, Ronan Corey, Connor Campbell; Connor McKelvey, James Crawford, Adam Kerr; Tim Rankin (0-3, 1 free, 1 '65), Aidan Boyle; Pádraig O'Kane, Oran Fox, Bernard Mellon (0-1); Oisín McGowan, Fintan Bradley (1-3, 1-2 frees), Ciarán Henry. Subs. - Ryan Scullion (0-1) for Fox (31), Eoin Mulholland for McGovern (31), Daire McKeever for Mellon (42), Niall Mullan for O'Kane (44), Mark McCluskey for Henry (45).
Referee: Conor Daly (Kildare).