Vols jump from third to second
Volunteers were three-point winners in their Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship Group B clash with Blackwater in Bree on Sunday to leapfrog their opponents and finish second in the group.
Volunteers 1-8 Blackwater 1-5
A greasy surface meant that both teams struggled to hold on to possession in the early stages, leaving the free-takers to take centre stage in a tight first-half.
Donal O'Connor started the dead ball scoring in just the second minute for the Vols, and this was quickly followed up with another pointed free, this time from the right boot of Peter Walsh.
Blackwater were enjoying more of the ball but at times they were too inclined to keep hold of it, relying on short passes instead of going for a score when a chance presented itself.
They did eventually get on the scoresheet ten minutes into the game when Joe Neville coolly slotted home a penalty into the bottom corner of the net.
Keith Kearney and Michael Lillis then traded frees before Lar Lacey fired over the only score from open play in the first-half.
Joe Neville kicked over a free to move Blackwater three clear after 20 minutes, but two Peter Walsh efforts were added to by another from O'Connor to send the sides in level at the break.
Blackwater's Dean Whelan slotted over a nice point to get the ball rolling in the second-half, but from then on the Volunteers began to dominate proceedings, with Keith Kearney and Eoin O'Shea starting to dictate the play from deep.
Blackwater were thankful to goalkeeper Robert O'Leary for two fine saves to keep them in front, but a goal did eventually come when substitute Paul Daly punched the ball to the net from close range. A point from Eoin O'Shea put the Volunteers three points up and they would have pulled further clear but for some poor finishing.
Joe Neville and Peter Walsh traded frees as the game petered out, meaning the Volunteers prevailed by that three-point margin. As a result, they will play Starlights in the quarter-final, while Blackwater will meet next door neighbours Shelmaliers.
Volunteers: John Cody; Anthony Walsh, Keith Furlong, Mikey Lawlor; Stephen Burke, Brian Sheridan, Jason Kearns; Keith Kearney (0-1 free), Eoin McCarthy; Peter Walsh (0-4 frees), Shane Bates, Ciarán Hillery; Aidan Roche, Eoin O'Shea (0-1), Donal O'Connor (0-2 frees). Subs. - Paul Daly (1-0) for McCarthy, Jason Kehoe for Hillery.
Blackwater: Robert O'Leary; Shane Wright, Anthony Roche, Mark Donoghue; Diarmuid Murphy, Kevin O'Brien, Eanna Carroll; Michael Lillis (0-1 free), Dean Wright; Dean Whelan (0-1), Denis Carroll, Kerril Sutton; Lar Lacey (0-1), Joe Neville (1-2, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Ger Lynch.
Referee: Bob Treacy (Clongeen).