Rocks rule after very strong start

Tara Rocks 2-14 Bannow-Ballymitty 1-11

ML. Heffernan

A storming opening half put Tara Rocks in control of this Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship Group A second round game as they saw off Bannow-Ballymitty with relative ease in Oylegate on Sunday.

While Bannow-Ballymitty were working hard and producing scoring chances, they were simply outclassed by a better side which had Brendan Hobbs commanding proceedings from centre-back, and Patrick Fortune and Emmet O'Toole doing the damage in front of goals.

Indeed, it was the aforementioned names that made all the difference in the opening half, hitting 2-7 between them.

Bannow-Ballymitty actually took the lead and held it in the opening ten minutes thanks to four accurate frees from Patrick Fitzharris.

Hobbs and Tommy Boland had kept their side within touching distance before Fortune turned on the style, setting O'Toole up for a goal before hitting 1-1 himself all in the space of two minutes, giving the Rock a five-point lead.

Niall Harney pulled one back for Bannow-Ballymitty but the three leading lights for the eventual winners hit a point each to increase their advantage.

Fitzharris continued to excel from placed balls and traded scores with Hobbs and then with Fortune, leaving eight between the sides at the break.

Declan Breen put nine between them shortly after the re-start but the New Ross District side continued to exert pressure, and a point from Micheál Murphy and two sweet efforts from wing-back Arthur Sweetman gave Bannow-Ballymitty a fighting chance.

Tommy Boland and Breen quashed any chance of a comeback though with three unanswered scores, leaving the gap just too much to be bridged with as many minutes left.

Sweetman and Breen traded points before Murphy hit a late consolation goal in the dying moments.

Tara Rocks: Lee Owley; Damien Tobin, Edward Hughes, Enda O'Leary; Stephen Hughes, Brendan Hobbs (0-3), Reece Owley; Martin Sheehan, Gearóid O Súilleabháin; Declan Breen (0-5 frees), Richard Hughes, Tommy Boland (0-2); Emmett O'Toole (1-1), Wayne Farrell, Patrick Fortune (1-3). Subs. - Colin Breen for Fortune, Lorcan Clare for S. Hughes, Shane O'Toole for Farrell, Shane Tobin for R. Owley.

Bannow-Ballymitty: Kevin Doyle; David White, John O'Leary, Alan Barden; Pádraig McCormack, Conor Furlong, Arthur Sweetman (0-3); Micheál Murphy (1-1), Gary Morton (0-1); Richie Murphy, David Currid, Niall Harney (0-1); Garry Jordan, Patrick Fitzharris (0-5 frees), James McCormack. Subs. - Clem Rossiter for Barden, Jack Farragher for R. Murphy, Barden for Fitzharris.

Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).

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