Rathnure's late win
Brace of points too much for Harriers
When this game looked like heading for a draw, visitors Rathnure finished with two late points to salvage a hard-earned victory over Faythe Harriers in this All-County Hurling League Division 1A game at Páirc Charman on Saturday.
Rathnure 1-15 Faythe Harriers 1-13
There is no question that Rathnure looked the superior outfit for the most part, but a gritty Faythe Harriers performance helped to haul them back into contention on several occasions.
The superior forward play of the eventual winners, particularly from Ciarán O'Connor, enabled them to emerge with both points at the end of 60 torrid minutes of hurling.
The opening game of the league swung into action with two Waterford mentors and Mount Sion colleagues at the helm of affairs. Kevin Ryan was beginning a second term in charge of the Blackstairs side, just a day before guiding Offaly against Wexford, while Jimmy Meaney was having his first competitive game in charge of the town side.
Rathnure looked sharpest through the opening quarter and led at the end of it by 1-5 to 0-2, with their goal arriving after 13 minutes.
Ciarán O'Connor showed clinical finishing following a good run through the defence, while Michael Redmond, Shane Lawlor (two), Syl Barron and O'Connor also found the target with well-struck points. The Harriers responsed through two efforts from Michael Hanrahan.
As Rathnure continued to impress moving forward, a fine Ian Scallan saved denied O'Connor a second goal, while the same player saw another effort fly just outside the right post.
The Harriers began to show improvement in the second quarter, with Rhys Clarke (three, two frees), Ben O'Brien (two) and Jim Berry all finding the target, but Rathnure still led by 1-7 to 0-8 at the interval.
The winners, having faced into the breeze in the first-half, opened the second period with two quick Shane Lawlor and Paddy Whiteley points to extend their lead.
Clarke (free) and Whiteley went on to exchange points, before Rathnure added further points through O'Connor (free) and Syl Barron to lead by 1-12 to 0-9 at the end of the third quarter.
Faythe Harriers then hit two quick points through Ben O'Brien and a Clarke free, and with Clarke firing over two further points, one from a free, with a Ciarán O'Connor point salvaged in between, Rathnure's lead had been reduced to three points (1-13 to 0-13) with two minutes remaining.
One minute from the end, substitute Shane Wilde pounced on a loose ball to fire low to the net, bringing the sides level.
After that setback, Rathnure stormed back to the attack, with a fine Syl Barron point off the wing restoring their lead, while a Shane Lawlor effort from way out on the sideline secured both points which they thoroughly deserved.
Rathnure: Seán Nolan; James Flynn, Brian Quigley, Denis Maher; Aidan Redmond, Declan Foley, Podge Doyle; Richard Flynn, Paddy Whiteley (0-2); Ciarán O'Connor (1-5, 0-5 frees), James Tobin, Michael Redmond (0-1); Shane Lawlor (0-4), Seánie Redmond, Syl Barron (0-3). Subs. - Brendan O'Leary for J. Flynn, Antony O'Connell for Tobin, Billy Conran for S. Redmond, Eoin Higgins for A. Redmond.
Faythe Harriers: Ian Scallan; Ross Lynch, David Mooney, Cormac Byrne; Brendan Mulligan, Jim Berry (0-1), Ciarán Kirwan; Dean Walsh, Alex Lynch; John Bridges, Michael Hanrahan (0-2), Con O Donnagáin; Ben O'Brien (0-3), Rhys Clarke (0-7, 5 frees), Daniel Lynch. Subs. - Conor Halligan for Kirwan, Shane Wilde (1-0) for Walsh.
Referee: Damien Donovan (Volunteers).