Whitty grabs a super tally

Cloughbawn 4-18 Marshalstown-Castledockrell 2-13

Dean Goodison

Bob Whitty's first-half hat-trick propelled Cloughbawn into the Enniscorthy District Under-21 hurling Roinn 1 championship semi-final in Farmleigh on Tuesday.

The dynamic attacker ended with a tally of 3-9 but had most of that on the board as his side built a 3-12 to 0-4 lead after 26 minutes. The visitors played some superb hurling in that spell and laid down a marker as one of the championship favourites.

While the result went against Marshalstown-Castledockrell, it was nonetheless a night to celebrate for the club. After immense work at under-age level recently, for the first time in 22 years they were able to assemble an Under-21 team without help.

With so many clubs needing to come together to field under-age teams, it was a breath of fresh air to see a club pulling against the grain. Not only that, after they settled into the task they put in a solid showing and maybe, without their injuries, could have got even closer to a shock result.

They opened the scoring through Michael Kinsella but struggled for a while after as Cloughbawn scored 2-6 without reply.

Whitty registered the first goal when his long-range free crept over the line after it took a wicked bounce, and added the second when he latched onto Connal Flood's searching ball and fired in.

Billy Wickham picked off a pair of points before Whitty made the most of great work by Robert Kinsella and David Brennan to smash home his third goal in the 24th minute. After Cloughbawn pulled 17 points clear, Marshalstown-Castledockrell staged a revival.

County Minor Diarmuid Doyle was excellent. He latched on to Mark Quigley's long puck-out, raced away and flashed to the net before the break (3-12 to 1-5). He scored four more after the interval, while Barry Doyle also got one, as the home side went on a 1-6 run without reply.

Each side picked off their scores as the game drifted on but when Doyle grabbed a second major with three minutes remaining just seven points separated the sides (3-17 to 2-13).

Yet Cloughbawn didn't panic and finished strong. David Casserly netted a rebound after Thomas Lambert's initial shot was saved in added time to book the visitors' place in the District semi-finals opposite Shamrocks.

Cloughbawn: Seán Keating; Michael Kavanagh, Jack Wickham, James Flood; Shane Flood, James Dempsey, Gareth Murphy; Connal Flood (0-1), Billy Wickham (0-2); Kyle Murphy, Bob Whitty (3-9, 1-1 frees), Robert Kinsella (0-1); Daniel Dempsey, Colin Murphy (0-3), David Casserly (1-2). Sub. - Stevie Casserly for J. Dempsey, inj. (31).

Marshalstown-Castledockrell: Mark Quigley; Conor Hennessy, Mark Kehoe, Ken Doyle; Finn O'Driscoll, Adam Harte, Mark Morris; Barry Doyle (0-1), James Farrell (0-1); Michael Kinsella (0-3), Diarmuid Doyle (2-8, 0-5 frees, 0-1 '65), Mark Kehoe (Clonjordan); Thomas Lambert, David Brennan, Seán McLoughlin. Subs. - Jack Foley for Harte, inj. (28), James O'Brien for Kinsella, inj. (41), Kinsella for Kehoe (Clonjordan), inj. (45).

Referee: David O'Leary (Rathnure).

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