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Monday 11 December 2017

Ballyhogue, Gorey for Junior 'B' final

Ballyhogue 2-9, Blackwater 0-10: Enniscorthy District champions Ballyhogue proved a little too good for Blackwater in an entertaining Junior 'B' hurling championship semi-final at St. Patrick's Park, writes Dean Goodison.

It really was a game of two halves but maybe not in the traditional meaning of the phrase. The first 30 minutes was all about the attack as both sides threw everything forward, with some fine scores being taken along the way.

Defences ruled after the break as both back lines tightened up to produce an intriguing battle that could have gone either way until Denis Asple fired over his fifth point two minutes from time.

Asple also registered the opening three points for his side to give them a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage, a lead they would never surrender. A double by Niall McLoughlin did narrow the gap momentarily at the end of the first quarter but Asple quickly replied with the opening goal from a 20-metre free.

Shortly after Gavin Doyle pointed, Ballyhogue eased further clear with his side's second goal. Superb play by Jim Bob Levingstone saw him take on his marker and feed Philip Walsh with an inch-perfect handpass. Fifteen metres out on the left of goal, the full-forward had just enough room to turn and rip a blistering shot into the roof of the net and set his side on the road to victory.

A string of points, with Shane O'Leary, Wayne O'Connor and Kerill Sutton all on the scoresheet, narrowed the deficit to four at the break (2-6 to 0-8), a gap that was halved by the 35th minute after a McLoughlin line ball and an O'Leary free.

However, Blackwater wouldn't score again, meaning the meagre three second-half points that Ballyhogue produced were enough to book a final spot against Naomh Eanna.

Ballyhogue: Denis Kennedy; Seán Nolan, Seán Rochford, Hughie O'Neill; Kevin Ring, Eddie Galavan, Mark Maher; Shane Roche, Denis Asple (1-5, 1-4 frees); John Kehoe (0-1), Norman Carr, Ger Cullen (0-1); Gavin Doyle (0-1), Philip Walsh (1-1), Jim Bob Levingstone. Subs. - Lorcan Crean for Carr, Shane Byrne for Crean.

Blackwater: Eddie Rowe; Fr. Brian Whelan, Lar Whelan, Declan Sinnott; Joe Neville, Wayne O'Connor (0-1), Kerill Sutton (0-1); Kevin Purcell, Richard Blake; Shane O'Leary (0-4, 3 frees), Dermot Clarke, Niall McLoughlin (0-3, 1 line ball); Aidan Whelan, Ger Lynch, Tomás O'Brien (0-1). Subs. - Declan Byrne for Neville, M.J. Kelly for B. Whelan, James Roche for O'Brien, Kevin O'Toole for Lynch. Referee: Fintan Whyte (St. James'). Naomh Eanna 2-13, Adamstown 0-8: Former Offaly star Shane McGuckin provided the all-important second goal to send Naomh Eanna on their way to a comfortable eleven point victory over Adamstown in the Junior 'B' hurling semifinal at Hollymount, writes Brendan Furlong.

Very little separated the sides through the opening 20 minutes which left them deadlocked at 0-3 each. Adamstown started impressively with three early points, two from Johnny Connors frees, with Mervyn Moloney also on target.

However, Naomh Eanna gradually eased their way into the game after James Byrne opened their account with a 14th-minute point. Points from Shane McGuckin and Dara McDonald had the sides level by the 20th minute.

With David Kennedy pointing his side in front from a 22nd-minute free, Naomh Eanna went on to impose themselves on the game, with their opening goal arriving one minute later when full-forward Francesco Bellanova fielded a high ball before firing low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

This left his side leading by 1-5 to 0-4 at the interval, with further points swapped by Mervyn Moloney with a fine individual effort, and a long David Kennedy free.

While a Seán Breen long-range point inside four minutes of the re-start reduced the deficit to three, Naomh Eanna went on to assume control, adding points through Michael Bernie, John Doyle and a huge David Kennedy free, while a fine Fergal Bolger effort made it 1-9 to 0-5 after 41 minutes.

Approaching the end of the third quarter, Shane McGuckin pounced for a goal from a Michael Bernie cross, a score that virtually ended the game as a contest. Adamstown to their credit kept battling to the end, but they were unable to unhinge a Naomh Eanna defence that had outstanding displays from Simon Doran, David Kennedy, Joseph O'Connor and Garret Kinsella.

Naomh Eanna: Barry Levingstone; Anthony Redmond, Simon Doran, Darren Cullen; David Kennedy (0-4, 3 frees), Joseph O'Connor, Garret Kinsella; Dara McDonald (0-1), John Doyle (0-1); Fergal Bolger (0-1), D.J. Doyle (0-1), James Byrne (0-1); Shane McGuckin (1-1), Francesco Bellanova (1-0), Michael Bernie (0-3). Subs. - John O'Brien for Bellanova, Seán Sheridan for Kennedy, Daithí Moore for Bolger.

Adamstown: Paddy Sinnott; Edward Furlong, Liam McDonald, Eddie Connors; Brendan Furlong, Andrew English, James Delaney; Willie Colfer, Seán Breen (0-1); Mervyn Moloney (0-2), T.J. Breen, Tomás Harrington; Ollie Furlong (0-1), Johnny Connors (0-4 frees), Lee White. Subs. - John Whelan for E. Furlong, James Furlong for Harrington, James Furlong for White.

Referee: Paddy Campbell (Shelmaliers).

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