Friday 15 December 2017

Alley asserted dominance over Glenealy after interval

WITH EACH passing minute of the second period Buffers Alley's dominance became more pronounced as they eventually cruised to a handsome nine-point victory over Wicklow Senior champions Glenealy in their AIB Leinster Club Intermediate hurling championship quarter-final at Monamolkin on Saturday last.

The heavy downpour throughout made for very difficult conditions, with both sides struggling through the opening 30 minutes as the ground continued to deteriorate. This made for a very low-scoring opening halfl, but once Buffers Alley picked up the tempo in the second period there was only going to be one result.

Glenealy, minus the Glynn brothers in attack, were bereft of ideas up front, so much so that they could only contribute one point from play, with the remainder of the scores all coming from frees. Their cause was not helped in the second-half with the sending-off of their Wexford centre-back, Stephen Nolan, on a second yellow card offence. Close to the finish they were reduced to 13 players when corner-back Robert Byrne was dismissed on a straight red card along with Buffers Alley attacker, Tomas O'Leary.

Both sides tried to absorb the conditions through the opening exchanges, but hurling was difficult, particularly for attackers, as they struggled to show a decent first touch, with scoring at a premium.

Buffers Alley led by 0-3 to nil after seven minutes through points from Pat Doran, Paraic Roche and a Keith Burke free, before Glenealy opened their account with a John Manley eighth-minute point, their only score from play. The Alley response was swift as Willie Doran worked his way in along the endline to power home a fine goal, putting his side into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.

The home side subsequently experienced difficulties following the retiral of Willie Doran through injury as he was proving a vital influence in their earlier attacks.Glenealy centre-back Stephen Nolan came much more into the game thereafter, with Jonathan O'Neill pointing two frees, while Keith Burke managed a pointed free in between to leave the home side leading by 1-4 to 0-3 after 16 minutes.

Glenealy, to their credit having picked up the pace of their game, were now proving quicker to the breaking ball, taking the initiative for the closing ten minutes of the half. After Jonathan O'Neill pointed a free the visitors continued to force the pace of the game.

M.J. O'Neill powered a high ball to the fringe of the square in the final minute, leaving full-forward Gavin Weir to gather it. He was hauled down as he moved in on goal, with Stephen Nolan powering home the resulting penalty to leave the sides level (1-4 each) at the break.

On the resumption Buffers Alley established a foothold, picking off eight unanswered points to storm into a 1-12 to 1-4 lead at the end of the third quarter. Glenealy were now struggling all over the pitch, with their first second-half score not arriving until the 47th minute when Nolan crashed home another penalty to reduce the deficit to five points (1-14 to 2-4).

But the Alley were not to be denied as they bounced back for successive points through Pat Doran (free and '65), Tomas O'Leary and Andrew Kenny before Jonathan O'Neill, who had taken over the close-in frees following Nolan's dismissal, goaled from 21 metres.

Just to demonstrate their dominance, the Wexford champions closed out the game with two points from substitute Cormac Foley and one from an Andrew Kenny free to run out comfortable winners and set up a semi-final away to Kilmessan of Meath - who dismissed Andrew Shore's Parnells team - on Sunday week.

Buffers Alley: Seamus Kavanagh; Paudie Reidy, Bobby Kenny, Sean Murphy; Barry Kenny, Ciaran Kenny, Kevin Roche; Pat Doran (0-6, 3 frees, 2 '65s), Shane Grannell (0-1); Keith Burke (0-3, 2 frees), Willie Doran (1-0), Sean Og Whelan (0-1); Andrew Kenny (0-3, 1 free), Tomas O'Leary (0-2), Paraic Roche (0-1). Subs. - Thomas Dempsey for W. Doran, inj., Robert O'Leary for Roche, Cormac Foley (0-2) for P. Doran.

Glenealy: Joe Driver; Warren Kavanagh, Michael A. O'Neill, Robert Byrne; Gary Byrne, Stephen Nolan (2-0 frees), M.J. O'Neill; Jonathan O'Neill (1-3 frees), Nigel Driver; Alan Conyard, Wayne O'Gorman, Thomas Doyle; John Manley (0-1), Gavin Weir, Daniel Staunton. Subs. - Joe Driver for Conyard, Ger Devlin for O'Gorman.

Referee: David Hughes (Carlow).

Wexford People

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