Rackard to Duffry's rescue with last-gasp leveller
Jason Rackard knocked over an injury time free to earn Duffry Rovers a replay after a pulsating Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship semi-final in O'Kennedy Park on Saturday.
Duffry Rovers 1-10 St. James' 1-10
The Enniscorthy District side had actually trailed by five points with as many minutes remaining, but an Alan O'Neill point and a goal from Eamonn Doyle dragged them back into contention before Rackard's late intervention.
When the Duffry, with the wind at their backs, hit four quickfire points early in the second-half to wipe out the interval deficit it looked like they would kick on to victory, but St. James' had other ideas.
The Ramsgrange men enjoyed a purple patch midway through the half and a Shane Murphy goal helped them to a 1-10 to 0-8 advantage with just five minutes remaining, but then it was Duffry Rovers' turn to enjoy a period of supremacy and they fought back for a deserved draw.
Playing with the breeze, St. James' got off to a decent start and put the first three points on the board, with Andy Walsh opening their account and Shane Murphy and Matthew O'Hanlon converting a free apiece.
Andy Walsh saw his effort on goal blocked by a defender in the tenth minute but he did slot over a point a minute later, seconds after Jason Rackard had opened the Duffry account from a free.
Kevin O'Grady arrowed over a fine point while off balance in the 15th minute and he stretched the lead to five after ten scoreless minutes, when converting a free from the halfway line.
Duffry Rovers had a sniff of a goal chance of 26 minutes, but Jason Rackard dragged his shot wide of the right post after being found by Johnny Flynn-O'Connor, although Rackard made no mistake with a free a minute later to leave the score 0-6 in 0-2 in favour of St. James' at half-time.
The New Ross District side's lead looked a precarious one as they turned around to play into the breeze and it was extinguished in a matter of six minutes, with Jason Rackard nailing three frees and Alan O'Neill adding a stylish point.
Kevin O'Grady then slotted over two frees either side of a Rackard placed ball, before St. James' got the fillip they needed through a Shane Murphy goal.
Matthew O'Hanlon played a free into the danger zone and Murphy was on to the loose ball like a flash and powerfully finished to the corner of the net.
Jason Rackard replied with a free but points from Mark Molloy and Shane Murphy gave St. James' a five-point lead (1-10 to 0-8) with five minutes remaining.
Alan O'Neill reduced the gap to four, and with 57 minutes on the clock Duffry Rovers made a much-needed breakthrough when they got the green flag waving.
Jason Rackard gathered a long delivery from Paul Nolan and although his shot was well saved by goalkeeper Luke Murphy, there was nothing he could do to stop Eamonn Doyle, who booted the ball to the net.
Duffry Rovers were then awarded a free near the halfway line, slightly to the left of the target, and up stepped Rackard to split the posts and force a replay.
That second meeting of the sides will take place in St. Patrick's Park this Saturday at 2.30 p.m., with the Duffry set for the Intermediate 'A' football on October 15.
Duffry Rovers: Stephen Watchorn; Craig Casey, Paul Nolan, James Nolan; Thomas Dunne, Donie O'Connor, Johnny Flynn-O'Connor; Mattie O'Connor, Aidan Byrne; Jason Rackard (0-8 frees), Liam Pender, Eamonn Doyle (1-0); Alan O'Neill (0-2), Joe Coleman, Robert Frayne. Subs. - James Codd for M. O'Connor, Jim O'Neill for D. O'Connor, Gavin Watchorn for Frayne, Matthew Flynn-O'Connor for Coleman.
St. James': Luke Murphy; Brian Molloy, Jason Barron, David Doyle; Paul Barron, Matthew O'Hanlon (0-1 free), Liam Murphy; Mark Molloy (0-1), Robbie Barron; Donie Barron, Kevin O'Grady (0-4, 3 frees), Andy Walsh (0-2); Mark Myler, Shane Murphy (1-2, 0-1 free), Alan Walsh. Subs. - Graeme Molloy for D. Barron, Jack O'Brien for Alan Walsh.
Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).