Tara Rocks storm to classy win over Pat's

Top Oil Intermediate 'A' Hurling Championship: Tara Rocks 0-16 St Patrick's 1-7

Dean Goodison

A fantastic first-half performance against a howling breeze set the tone for a classy Tara Rocks victory in the Top Oil Intermediate A Hurling Championship quarter-final at Monamolin on Sunday afternoon last.

The victors looked to be under pressure when St Patrick's edged their way into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after twelve minutes but the 'Rocks played really clever hurling for the rest of the half and worked a string of superb scores.

There's a temptation to wallop the ball forward as hard as possible when playing against such a strong wind but that was never an option utilised by Tara Rocks. Everything was low, short and accurate.

They did the hard, tiring work in the first half and it paid dividends after the break.

Talisman John Doyle had the pick of the Pat's scores in the opening exchanges but their two-point lead didn't last long. Niall Breen drew his side level before a brace from Peter Hughes, including a drilled lineball into the teeth of the breeze, moved the Rocks 0-6 to 0-4 ahead.

Breen picked off another over but it was his last involvement after he was forced off with a painful calf problem.

A couple of Dean O'Toole overs in less than a minute ensured the boys in dark blue took a 0-10 to 0-5 lead in at the half.

While St Patrick's struggled to put a string of points together, they did create a few decent goal chances in the second half.

They moved within a major in the 36th minute when Doyle rattled the rigging from a penalty strike after Eamon O'Leary was fouled in the square.

When Richard Hughes split the posts in the 45th minute it gave his side renewed confidence. They added three more overs in the next few minutes with O'Toole, Bobby Hughes and Tommy Boland all on target.

Needing a goal, the Ballyoughter boys dropped a string of balls into the goalmouth.

The Rocks defence dealt with most of them well but Tomás Morris did get one shot away that Tom Hughes did really well to keep out.

While losing Breen could be a costly consequence of this tie, to have Conor Devitt kitted out and edging closer to fitness might be a huge difference maker for Tara Rocks as they head into the last four.

TARA ROCKS: Tom Hughes; Aidan Jones, Edward Hughes, Cillian O'Toole; Tomás Owley, Niall Hughes, Jim Hughes; Niall Breen (capt., 0-3, 1 free), Mark Boland; Richard Hughes (0-1), Tommy Boland (0-1), Fionn Doyle; Dean O'Toole (0-5, 2 frees), Peter Hughes (0-5, 1 lineball), Bobby Hughes (0-1). Subs. - Colin Breen for N. Breen, inj (23), Cathal O'Reilly for T. Owley (58), Patrick Fortune for B. Hughes (60+2).

ST PATRICK'S: Stuart Quinn; Joe Cousins, Michael O'Brien, James Cousins; Hughie Doyle (joint-capt.), Dermot O'Leary (0-1, 65', joint-capt.), Peter Roche; Richie Flood (0-1), Daryl Murphy; Shane Finn, John Doyle (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), Tommy Dunne; Eamon O'Leary, Stephen Ryan, Tynan Flynn (0-1). Subs. - Tommy Morris for Flynn (54), Tomás Morris for Dunne (54).

REFEREE: Barry Redmond (Clonard).

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