Tara Rocks through to semi-finals
A 54th-minute Niall Breen penalty finally killed off the stubborn challenge of Rapparees as Tara Rocks came out on top in a hard-fought Enniscorthy Electrical Wholesale Junior hurling championship quarter-final in Oylegate on Saturday.
Tara Rocks 2-15 Rapparees 1-13
At that stage the Enniscorthy outfit had clawed their way back to within a point of their opponents (1-14 to 1-13), but the penalty completely knocked the wind out of their sails and Tara Rocks comfortably kept them at arm's length for the remaining minutes.
The north county side were 1-11 to 1-5 ahead at half-time with the Breens to the fore, Niall superbly striking over four booming long-range points, with Declan converting five placed balls from closer in.
However, it wasn't all about the Breen machine, with full-forward Brendan Hobbs scoring a point and a goal in quick succession, while Liam Fitzpatrick ghosted forward from his half-back berth to fire over a point.
Hobbs' goal came in the 13th minute when the number 14 raced on to a pass by Paddy Phelan and clinically finished past Rapparees goalkeeper Gary Murphy, and two minutes later Fitzpatrick fired over to make it 1-7 to 0-3.
Up to that point Rapparees had been reliant on placed balls for their scores but they got the boost they needed in the 18th minute when Tom Ryan kept his composure after losing his footing to find the back of the net.
Ed Tobin and Joe Cullen both split the posts for the Rapps before the interval but Niall and Declan Breen showed unerring accuracy from frees to give Tara Rocks a six-point advantage at half-time.
Rapparees enjoyed a real purple patch in the third quarter with Barry Nolan in particular finding the range from frees and play, and when substitute Lee Murphy slotted over a point on 50 minutes there was only one between the sides.
However, two minutes later they suffered a real sucker-punch when Brendan Hobbs was adjudged to have been fouled as he bore down on goal and Niall Breen blasted the penalty to the net.
After that blow a deflated Rapparees side had no more to give and Declan Breen rounded off the scoring for the Rocks with an injury-time free.
Tara Rocks: Lee Owley; Damien Tobin, Tomás Owley, Seán Owley; Liam Fitzpatrick (0-1), Colin Breen, Rhys Owley; Niall Breen (1-6, 0-4 frees, 1-0 pen.), Declan Breen (0-7 frees); Craig Kenny, Joe Bolger, Martin Sheehan; Paddy Phelan, Brendan Hobbs (1-1), Michael Fitzpatrick. Subs. - Aaron Murphy for Phelan, Cormac Whitmore for M. Fitzpatrick.
Rapparees: Gary Murphy; Joe Carley, John Ryan, John Barron; Dillon Redmond, Mark Redmond, Ryan Hadley; Tommy Foley (0-1), Patrick O'Shea; Ed Tobin (0-1), Joe Cullen (0-2), Barry Nolan (0-7, 4 frees); Anthony Peare, Tom Ryan (1-0), Caolan Carty (0-1 free). Subs. - Seánie O'Gorman for Peare, Liam Boland for J. Ryan, Brendan Kearney for M. Redmond, Lee Murphy (0-1) for Carty, Patrick Hore for T. Ryan.
Referee: Bob Treacy (Clongeen).