Rapparees bow out
Cloughbawn power on to last four
An impressive haul of 1-5 without reply between the 33rd and 43rd minutes drove Cloughbawn on to a merited victory over Rapparees in the last of the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship quarter-finals in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday, securing a place in the penultimate round for the first time since 2011 in the process.
Cloughbawn 2-16 Rapparees 1-16
The eventual winners trailed by 0-11 to 0-9 at half-time and conceded another point to the lively Kevin Ryan within 20 seconds of the re-start.
However, they struck gold from Noel Carton's resultant puck-out which broke inside the defensive cover for Paul Foley to hold off his nearest challenger and drive home the equalising goal (1-9 to 0-12).
Although Tomás Mahon edged Rapparees ahead again from a free, Cloughbawn had their tails up and proceeded to turn a 0-13 to 1-9 deficit into a 2-14 to 0-13 lead in that fruitful ten-minute burst.
A super run by Barry Carton set up Connal Flood for the leveller before Harry Kehoe converted a brace of placed balls. Carton then made it 1-13 to 0-13, and Cloughbawn were handed another boost in the 41st minute when Ryan Mahon seemed to forget he was on a yellow card as he needlessly tripped the influential Carton.
The inevitable second booking and dismissal followed, with Kehoe tapping over the free to leave four between them.
And just over a minute later Cloughbawn's inter-county attacker had the relatively simple task of crashing the ball to the net from close range after team captain Alan Carton latched on to possession from a ruck and fed him with an astute handpass (2-14 to 0-13).
Rapparees seemed to be in disarray, even though Tomás Mahon pulled a point back from a free and Cloughbawn's numerical advantage only lasted eight minutes. They lost centre-back Colm Kehoe to another second yellow after a clumsy challenge on Kevin Foley, with the scores drying up thereafter.
However, Cloughbawn weren't going to let that lead slip, with Kehoe and Mahon swapping points from frees before Bob Whitty hit the victors' last score over his shoulder in the 53rd minute.
They followed up with four wides to bring their overall tally to 15 (Rapparees had 12), but their defence was strong and collectively stood up well to any pressure the town team could muster.
Mahon did see a 20-metre free blocked and cleared before he knocked over a free in added time. The final score was a consolation goal for the Rapps when Kevin Foley found substitute James Peare who finished from point-blank range, and the outcome means that they haven't contested a semi-final now since the last time they reached a decider in 2001.
The sides had been level three times in the first nine minutes, with Liam Ryan hitting the stand-out score from deep inside his own half, before the Enniscorthy men struck four points on the trot from Tomás Mahon, Kevin Ryan, Darragh Pepper and a Mahon free.
However, Cloughbawn hit back with three from Connal Flood (two) and a Harry Kehoe free, but they really should have been ahead by 1-5 to 0-7 at that stage rather than trailing by 0-7 to 0-6.
That's because Kehoe's score came in the seconds after a glaring miss from Martin Kehoe who couldn't get the touch needed to force the ball over the line after Bob Whitty had a shot saved following fine work from Barry Kehoe and Alan Carton.
It was a lucky let-off for the Rapps and they went on to lead by 0-11 to 0-9 at half-time, with another Mahon free augmented by efforts from play by Kevin Ryan, Ed Tobin and Kevin Foley.
Outscoring the opposition by 2-5 to 0-2 in the third quarter ultimately reaped rich rewards for a Cloughbawn side making slow but steady progress as this campaign has developed. Some glitches have arisen along the way, but they should now relish the prospect of trying to atone for the club's last semi-final clash with Glynn-Barntown back in 1997 when the Wexford District side prevailed by four points in New Ross.
Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, M.J. Furlong; Barry Kehoe, Colm Kehoe, Davin Murphy; Barry Carton (0-1), Páidí Cullen (0-1); Harry Kehoe (1-8, 0-6 frees), Alan Carton (capt., 0-1), Connal Flood (0-3); Bob Whitty (0-1), Paul Foley (1-1, 0-1 free), Martin Kehoe. Subs. - Billy Wickham for A. Carton, temp. (23-25), Wickham for Foley (60+2).
Rapparees: Eamonn Furlong; Dillon Redmond, Liam Ryan (0-1), Mel Doyle; Ben Edwards, Kevin Courtney, Jack Kelly; Tom Wall, Ryan Mahon; Kevin Ryan (0-3), Ed Tobin (0-1), Tomás Mahon (0-9, 8 frees); Tommy Foley, Kevin Foley (capt., 0-1), Darragh Pepper (0-1). Subs. - Ricky Fox for Tobin (40), James Peare (1-0) for T. Foley (46), Declan Ruth for Edwards (49), Joe Cullen for Pepper (57).
Referee: James Owens (Askamore).