Veteran Ruth grabs winning goal
Rapparees 2-14 Clongeen 1-15
A blistering start and a late goal from Declan Ruth enabled Rapparees to edge out Clongeen in a topsy-turvy game in the Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship Group B in Cushinstown on Saturday.
The Enniscorthy men burst straight into life as they bagged 1-2 in the first three minutes. Peter O'Sullivan pointed straight from the throw-in while Declan Ruth then added a long-distance free before the opening goal arrived.
A high ball into the Clongeen square led to a goalmouth scramble. The ball broke loose to corner-forward Aaron Ronan and he cleverly scooped it into an empty net as Rapparees raced into an early five-point lead.
A Shane Cahill free opened the Clongeen account before Lee Tracey replied for Rapparees. The lively Paul Curtis scored Clongeen's first point from play to leave four between the sides in the opening quarter (1-3 to 0-2).
Seán O'Gorman and full-forward John Ryan extended their lead to six before two quick-fire Shane Cahill frees. Paul Curtis then came very close to netting for Clongeen as his shot was well saved by Gary Murphy.
Midfielder Shane Cahill kept Clongeen in touch with two scores, one from play, as they trailed by 1-7 to 0-6 after 20 minutes.
Cahill was involved again in Clongeen's only goal as his attempted point came off the post and the speedy Paul Curtis was on hand to bury the rebound to the net.
It was now just a one-point game with the break approaching. Ger Foxe, Paul Curtis and Jamesie Rochford all pointed in an impressive fightback for Clongeen as they led by 1-9 to 1-7 at the interval.
Curtis and Cahill continued their impressive displays as they replied to Declan Ruth's free, with Emmet Kent adding a fine score near the sideline to leave the Ross District side four ahead.
Rapparees produced a fightback though as substitutes Tommy Foley (two frees) and Alan Tobin added scores to reduce the gap to the minimum.
Full-forward John Ryan added his third point for the Rapps as the sides were level in the last quarter (1-12 each).
The crucial moment came when Declan Ruth's mis-hit strike from a placed ball about 50 yards out swooped in underneath the crossbar into the net past Ricky Rochford. It was a sloppy goal to concede from a Clongeen point of view and the Rapps now had their tails up.
Clongeen kept plugging away but Cahill's frees was all they could produce as Rapparees came away with a two-point victory.
Rapparees: Gary Murphy; Patrick O'Shea, Mark Redmond, Ronan Kirwan; Brian Ronan, Declan Ruth (1-4 frees), Brendan Kearney; Seán O'Gorman (0-1), Peter O'Sullivan (0-1); Lee Tracey (0-1), Tom Ryan, Lee Murphy; Aaron Ronan (1-0), John Ryan (0-3), Caolan Carty. Subs. - Tommy Foley (0-3 frees) for Tracey (40), Alan Tobin (0-1) for A. Ronan, inj. (40).
Clongeen: Ricky Rochford; Danny O'Grady, Anton Stafford, Donal Whelan; Richard Rochford, Barry Foxe, Marty Reville; Shane Cahill (0-9, 7 frees), Paul Curtis (1-3); Ger Foxe (0-1), Robert O'Farrell, Jamesie Rochford (0-1); Emmet Kent (0-1), Enda Murphy, Donal Murphy. Subs. - Paudie Cahill for O'Farrell (25), Tom Donovan for J. Rochford (44), Jamie Keating for G. Foxe (58), Martin Delaney for E. Murphy (58).
Referee: Eric Molloy (St. James').