Oulart-The Ballagh blow Ferns away after break
Pettitt's Senior Hurling Championship: Oulart-Ballagh 3-15 Ferns St Aidan's 1-10
Three second-half goals gave Oulart-The Ballagh a comfortable victory over Ferns St. Aidan's in the final round of Group B in the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship in a blustery Bellefield on Sunday.
The win sees last year's county champions face Shelmaliers in the quarter-final and sends Ferns into a relegation play-off with last year's county finalists, Cloughbawn.
It was a game that Ferns needed to win to have any chance of qualification and they started off the game with a steely determination that saw them go three points ahead in the opening minutes, and go in at the break on level scores.
However, the game changed completely in the second period as Oulart turned on the style, hitting two goals before the final quarter that really finished the game as a contest.
Ferns could take a lot of heart from their first-half performance as their dogged defence fed their forward line with quality ball, which Paul Morris, Christopher O'Connor and Jonathan Dwyer turned into scores.
Oulart's response came in the form of points from Nicky Kirwan and Des Mythen but Ferns showed that they meant business midway through the half with a goal from Eoin Murphy who capitalised when a high delivery wasn't dealt with sufficiently by the Oulart defence.
But the eventual winners finished the half strongly hitting four scores without reply, three coming from the ever-accurate Kirwan.
And the nippy corner-forward began the second-half as he finished the first with two points inside as many minutes on the resumption, in a five-minute spell that saw his side go three points clear with help from Mythen and Tommy Storey.
Chris Turner hit one back minutes later but at this point the game swung in Oulart's favour after Billy Dunne and Storey hit the net to stretch the lead to nine.
The second goal being a real killer blow for Ferns as they just couldn't get back into it as Oulart were now on fire, finishing the game with further points from Storey and Kirwan and a goal from Martin Óg Story to round up a fine display that puts Ferns into the relegation dog-fight.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Conor O'Leary; Anthony Roche, Keith Rossiter, Barry Kehoe; Michael Jacob, Kevin Sheridan, Peter Murphy; Tommy Storey (1-3), Rory Jacob; David Redmond (0-1), Des Mythen (0-3), Murtha Doyle; Martin Óg Storey (1-0), Garret Sinnott, Nicky Kirwan (0-8, 4 frees). Subs: Billy Dunne (1-0) for Doyle, Doyle for Redmond.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Mick Walsh: Declan Byrne, James Tonks, John Breen; Ciarán Roberts, Brendan Jordan, Conor Scallan; Eoin Murphy (1-0), Gavin Bailey (0-1); Jeff Tobin, Jonathan Dwyer (0-1), Chris Turner (0-2); Tommy Dwyer (0-1), Paul Morris (0-2), Christopher O'Connor (0-3, 1 free). Subs: Ryan Nolan for Tobin, Patrick Breen for Byrne, Brian O'Neill for Roberts, Padraig Bolger for Murphy, Derek Thorpe for Nolan.
Referee: Damien Donovan (Volunteers).