Askamore too good for Saints
The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate Hurling Championship: Askamore 0-18 St James' 1-9
Askamore-Kilrush edged their way through the knock-out stages as they proved superior to St. James' in this Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Round 5 Group A game played at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday afternoon last.
While Askamore always seemed headed for victory given their superior hurling, they still had to head off a determined St. James side who lacked the hurling quality, given their recent football commitments, to match their opponent's ability to pick off points from a variety of angles mainly led by the excellent Shane Tomkins from the centre-forward position.
Going into this game both sides needed a result to keep their championship aspirations alive which in itself brought a more competitive edge to proceedings on the day.
While it was anything but a polished performance the eventual winners will be satisfied to have collected both points to send them into the quarter-finals but still realising that much improvement is needed for them to lay down a serious championship challenge.
Both sides shot wides through the opening exchanges before Daniel Keating and Ted Kinsella, 60-metre free, shared the initial scores through the first five minutes, but it was two further Kinsella pointed frees that edged the north county side into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the ninth minute. Kevin O'Grady, free, and Tomkins went on to share points.
However, with the eventual winners playing into the stiff breeze, they still managed to control matters through points from Edmond Kenny and a Kinsella free, along with a Tomkins effort to lead 0-7 to 0-4 after 20 minutes, the opposition responding through two O'Grady frees.
With Askamore still leading 0-7 to 0-6 approaching the break, it was St. James' who returned to the attack leading to a long Matthew O'Hanlon free being finished to the net by Shane Murphy, while Kinsella responded with a pointed 65, after keeper Brian Hayden had turned a Jamie Myler effort around the post, leaving the eventual winners leading 1-6 to 0-8 at the interval.
St. James' showed more determination on the resumption as Kinsella and O'Hanlon had exchanged pointed frees, but it was still Askamore who retained the initiative mainly through the dominance of P.J. Nolan and Tomkins around the midfield zone, which in turn led to points from Edmond Kenny, three, Gavin Sunderland, two, and Tomkins, to lead 0-15 to 1-7 entering the final quarter.
After Kenny added two further points it took two Jamie Myler efforts in between to keep St. James in touch, but Askamore were never going to let the game slip finishing with a fine point from sub Conor Travers, to secure their quarter-final passage.
Askamore-Kilrush: Brian Hayden; Tom Byrne, Patrick Nolan, Tomas Hayden; Tom Kavanagh, Tommy Devereux, James Lancaster; P J Nolan, Conor Levingstone; Gavin Sunderland (0-2), Shane Tomkins (0-3), Padraigh Byrne (0-1); Ted Kinsella (0-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1, 65), Edmond Kenny (0-6), Gary Doran. Subs: Billy Nolan for Padraig Byrne; Fionn Fortune for Levingstone; Conor Travers (0-1) for Kinsella.
St. James: Luke Murphy; Brian Molloy, Jason Barron, Paul Barron; Robbie Barron, Liam Murphy, David Doyle; Mark Molloy (0-1), Matthew O'Hanlon (0-1 free); Daniel Keating (0-1), Kevin O'Grady (0-3 frees), Shane Murphy (1-1); Alan Walsh, Jamie Myler (0-2), Donal Barron. Subs: Darragh Lyons for Alan Walsh; Greg Doyle for Donal Barron; Mark Myler for Shane Murphy.
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue/Cushinstown).