Alley in different league as Gorey feel the pain
BUFFERS ALLEY looked like a team on a serious mission in Farmleigh on Friday last: to get out of the second tier as swiftly and as smoothly as possible.
They may have laboured in the previous week's win over Ballygarrett, but this was a demolition job as Naomh Eanna were outclassed in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group A encounter.
One of Friday's teams competed at Senior level last year while the other won the Intermediate 'A' grade, and it wasn't hard to work out the difference as the gulf in class was immense.
Buffers Alley were simply faster, more powerful and more clinical than the Gorey town side, and the game was all but over by the end of the first quarter when they led by 2-5 to 0-2.
Team captain Keith Burke grabbed the opening goal in the fifth minute when a high Shane Grannell delivery broke around the square, and the second was blasted home by Andrew Kenny following a Pat Kenny pass.
Naomh Eanna did themselves no favours with eight first-half wides including some handy misses from frees, although they did have hard triers in the excellent Eoin Conroy, fellow young gun Pádraig Doyle, and the more experienced Brendan Travers.
There was a bizarre ending to the first-half when the Alley had to work harder than anticipated for their third goal. James Foley had the ball in the net in the 27th minute but a free out was awarded, and then Keith Burke did likewise but was penalised for overcarrying. Another low shot from Foley flashed across the goalmouth and went wide before Tomás O'Leary finally made no mistake with the second-last puck of the half, controlling an Andrew Kenny delivery and finishing clinically to stretch the lead to 3-8 to 0-4.
Buffers Alley went through a sloppy spell in the third quarter after Pat Kenny was denied a goal early on by netminder Barry Kinsella. Four points were then shared, but normal service was soon resumed with a run of scores from Pat Doran, Shane Grannell, Keith Burke (free) and Seán Og Whelan.
James Foley and Pat Kenny both nearly netted midway through the half before the latter did raise the fourth green flag when he latched on to Pat Doran's well-struck line ball from the left with nine minutes to go.
Buffers Alley: Seamus Kavanagh; Kevin Roche, Bobby Kenny, Paudie Reidy; Barry Kenny, Ciarán Kenny, Thomas Dempsey; Pat Doran (0-4, 1 free), Seán Og Whelan (0-2); Andrew Kenny (1-0), Keith Burke (capt., 1-6, 0-5 frees), Shane Grannell (0-1); Pat Kenny (1-0), Tomás O'Leary (1-3), James Foley. Subs. - Robbie Kirwan for Reidy (36), Willie Doran (0-1) for Burke (44), Seán Murphy for Dempsey (46).
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; John Stafford, John O'Brien, Peter Travers; Darren Kelly (capt.), Brendan Travers, Eoin Conroy (0-3, 1 '65, 1 free); Michael Bernie, Thomas Stafford; William Cullen, Darragh McDonald, Fergal Bolger; Conor McDonald (0-1 free), Michael Murphy (0-1), Pádraig Doyle (0-4, 3 frees). Subs. - Colm Sheehan for Bolger (HT), David Kennedy for Bernie (35), Gearóid Cullen for Murphy (44).
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).