Rapps win towns battle
Two blistering second-half goals gave Rapparees the impetus they needed to overcome a staunch Naomh Eanna challenge in this Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier championship first round tie in Bellefield on Tuesday.
Rapparees 2-16 Naomh Eanna 0-19
The first came just 32 seconds after the ball was thrown-in to start the new period, as midfielder Ryan Mahon soloed through and drilled an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net from 25 yards.
It put the Rapps ahead by 1-9 to 0-10 after they had trailed at the break despite having produced slightly the better play and definitely the better scores in the first-half, where they drilled over good points from all angles while the Gorey side were instead overly-reliant on the free-taking skills of Conor McDonald.
It was tit for tat after that Mahon goal as the sides exchanged a couple of points, before the real Rapps breakthrough came on 42 minutes.
Darragh Pepper was the scorer as he twisted through the Naomh Eanna defence on his way to drilling a shot to the net, putting his side 2-12 to 0-13 ahead.
Conor McDonald - who finished the night with 13 points, although just two of them came from play - had Naomh Eanna's best goal chance a minute later, but put his shot at the feet of goalkeeper Gary Murphy.
The Gorey side kept plugging away though, and they had the gap down to just two points (2-13 to 0-17) with six minutes to play.
Caolan Carty steadied the Rapps ship with a fine point and substitute Patrick Hore added another to extend their lead to four. A McDonald pointed free was immediately replied to by a Darragh Pepper point for the Rapps.
While McDonald then landed a '65 to leave three points between the sides, Naomh Eanna never got the goal chance they needed in the closing minutes, and the Rapps held on for victory in a thoroughly entertaining match.
Rapparees: Gary Murphy; Dillon Redmond, Liam Ryan (0-1), Stephen Donnelly; Seán Cloherty, Ben Edwards (0-2), Ryan Hadley; Ryan Mahon (1-3), Anthony Roche (0-1); Kevin Ryan (0-4, 3 frees), Kevin Foley, Lenny Connolly (0-1); Caolan Carty (0-2), Seánie O'Gorman, Darragh Pepper (1-1). Subs. - Conor Farrell for Donnelly (17), Patrick Hore (0-1) for O'Gorman (51).
Naomh Eanna: Jack Cushe; Kevin Molloy, Daniel Sunderland, David Kennedy; Gary Molloy, Eoin Conroy (0-2), Kevin Harrington; Seán Doyle, Ben Egan; Gearóid Cullen (0-2), Fionn Doyle, Darragh Hughes; Aodhán Doyle (0-2), Conor McDonald (0-13, 9 frees, 2 '65s), Ross Murphy. Subs. - Dylan Kenny for Egan, inj. (29), Cillian Donohoe for Murphy (51).
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).