Oulart-The Ballagh brush Anne's aside
The prospect of having four Wexford District clubs in the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship semi-finals didn't last very long in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday when 2014 runners-up St. Anne's bowed out tamely to Oulart-The Ballagh in a one-sided contest.
Oulart-Ballagh 3-14 St.Anne's 0-12
The writing was on the wall from as early as the 14th minute when the lively Rory Jacob beat Joe Codd with a low strike after the ball was initially flicked off Tommy Storey's stick after a lung-bursting run by the midfielder.
That score widened the favourites' lead to 1-4 to 0-2, and victory was all but wrapped up when nine points divided the sides at the break (2-8 to 0-5).
A third goal less than five minutes into the new half ensured that the remainder of the game was played out in challenge game mode, with the Oulart-The Ballagh mentors availing of the opportunity to bring on three of their Intermediates whose campaign had ended on Saturday.
The victors were certainly forewarned after their shock loss to Glynn-Barntown at the same stage last year. That had them on high alert and, with Redmond Barry a huge loss through injury and Liam Og McGovern well contained in the early exchanges by the tenacious Barry Kehoe, St. Anne's never really stood a chance.
Diarmuid O'Keeffe also endured an injury scare just before half-time and, while he recovered, he had to vacate his midfield role and join an attack which struggled collectively to deal with the sheer power of the Oulart-The Ballagh rearguard.
The ball was moved at pace up the field with impressive variety and precision, and with Garrett Sinnott proving a handful at full-forward and Des Mythen and Rory Jacob eagerly feeding off the scraps, the outcome was never in doubt.
The winners came close to adding a second goal immediately after the first from Jacob, but Nicky Kirwan was penalised for being in the square.
Centre-forward Cian McGovern got the sole St. Anne's point from play before the interval to supplement Mark Furlong's free-taking. However, their race was run in added time when a fine catch by county Under-21 Peter Sutton completely opened up the defence, and he drove forward before passing on his left to Des Mythen who rattled the net.
Goal number three came just over four minutes into the second-half from one of several raking clearances by centre-back Shaun Murphy.
When it broke off Garrett Sinnott, Rory Jacob didn't have to break stride as he kicked it past Joe Codd to make it 3-10 to 0-5.
The rest of the game was merely of academic interest, with Oulart-The Ballagh comfortably through while St. Anne's did manage to outscore them by 0-7 to 0-4 which was no consolation at all.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Conor O'Leary; Eoin Moore, Keith Rossiter, Barry Kehoe (capt.); Michael Jacob, Shaun Murphy, Kevin Sheridan; David Redmond (0-1), Tommy Storey; Peter Sutton (0-2), Des Mythen (1-4), Peter Murphy; Rory Jacob (2-1), Garrett Sinnott (0-1), Nicky Kirwan (0-4, 3 frees). Subs. - Kevin Nimmo for Moore (39), Darren Nolan (0-1) for P. Murphy (46), Tomás Dunne for Sinnott (49), Anthony Roche for Kehoe (50), Laurence Prendergast for M. Jacob (55).
St. Anne's: Joe Codd; Kenny Cloney, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O'Keeffe; Seán Gaul, Cian McGovern (0-1), Mark Furlong (0-7, 5 frees, 2 '65s); Kevin Hannigan, Diarmuid O'Keeffe (0-1); David O'Connor, Aidan Rochford (capt., 0-2), Jonathan Fogarty; Liam Og McGovern (0-1), David Fogarty, Finn O'Driscoll. Subs. - Liam Rochford for O'Driscoll (22), Rory Stafford for D. O'Keeffe, temp. (30-HT), Joe O'Connor for P. O'Keeffe (34), Rich O'Connor for D. Fogarty (49).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').