Naomh Éanna power on after blazing start
U-21 Premier HC: Naomh Eanna 2-17 Oylegate/G-brien 2-15
A blazing opening half from Naomh Éanna gave them the upper hand in this Greenstar Premier U-21 hurling semi-final, as they survived a gallant Oylegate-Glenbrien come-back in to set up an intriguing final meeting with St. Martin's.
The Gorey town side were in unstoppable form in the early stages of the game, dominating in all areas of the field and hitting some very impressive scores to take a ten-point lead at half-time.
However, they were truly tested in the second-half as the home side threw everything they had at them, reducing the gap to within one point deep in injury-time, but just couldn't find the score they so desperately sought.
The eventual winners showed that they meant business immediately with three points in as many minutes shortly followed by a well-taken goal by Séan Delaney giving them a stern lead.
Points from Tom White and Pa Cullen were they only sign of optimism for Oylegate in the opening quarter as the Gorey boys were relentless in front of goal, with Darragh Hughes deadly accurate from placed balls and John Doyle causing havoc, hitting the net midway through the half to put ten between the sides.
Oylegate rallied before half-time but Hughes continued to hit the scoreboard to keep it a ten-point game.
The second-half was hugely entertaining as Oylegate came out fighting, with Séamus Casey and Damien Reck leading the charges they reduced the gap to five going into the final quarter, with points from Casey and a goal from a long-range free from Reck.
The momentum was with the home side at this stage and a disallowed Jack Reck goal could have been the turning point.
The sides continued to exchange scores with Hughes continuing his impressive form, swapping scores with Casey and Reck, but when Casey hit the net in the 31st minute the Gorey boys needed to fight tooth-and-nail to hang on.
But that they did with Niall and Darragh Hughes leading the way, they go on to face St. Martin's in what promises to be a hugely entertaining final.
Naomh Éanna: Jack Cushe; Shane Stokes, Daniel Sutherland, Eoin Molloy; Ross Murphy, Gary Molloy (0-1), Jack Cullen (0-1); Aodhán Doyle, Niall Hughes; Kevin Harrington, Darragh Hughes (0-10, 7 frees, 1 '65), John Doyle (1-2); Séamus O'Donnell, Gearóid Cullen (0-3), Séan Delaney (1-0). Subs: Ben Egan (0-1) for J. Doyle (Inj), Eoin McGuckin for Delaney.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Eddie Mernagh; Niall Parker, Ciarán Lambert, Lee Kehoe; Mike Kelly (0-1), Shane Reck, Ciarán Hourihane (0-1); Pa Cullen (0-1), Damien Reck (1-3 frees); Jack Reck, Tom White (0-1), Ciaran O'Brien (0-1); Conor Doyle, Séamus Casey (1-7, 5 frees), Barry Dunne. Subs: Joe Dunne for Dunne (Inj), Conor Hill for O'Brien.
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').