Friday 20 September 2019

Ballyfad secure spot in quarters

Dean Goodison

Ballyfad booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship with Group A victory over Our Lady's Island in Oylegate on Monday of last week.

Ballyfad 2-13 Our Lady's Island 2-9

The Gorey District side, hurling without knee injury victim Conor Devitt, were made to work for the win against opponents who continued their inconsistent season.

Three points in as many minutes gave the Island - minus the services of Jack Pettit - the perfect start. However, five points for Ballyfad midfielder Bobby Hughes dragged his side back to parity after 24 minutes.

The impressive Quinn Saunders picked off a nice second point from midfield, and it gave his club what would prove to be their final lead (0-6 to 0-5).

The opening goal came four minutes before half-time when Peter Hughes' powerful handpass found Denis Jones unmarked and the Ballyfad forward drilled past Noel Dempsey.

Leading by 1-6 to 0-6 heading into the last minute of the half, Bobby Hughes almost added a second major. Our Lady's Island conceded a 20-metre free and showed no urgency to get players back on the line. Hughes went for it but Noel Dempsey, the centre of a three-man wall, made an excellent save.

Under pressure from Dean Maloney and hampered by the sun, Tom Hughes was beaten by Quinn Saunders long-range effort six minutes into the second-half. However, a Dean O'Toole point was quickly followed by a mazy run and sublime finish by Tommy Boland as Ballyfad regained the lead (2-7 to 1-6).

Our Lady's Island pulled within two with 16 minutes to go but scored just one of the next six points as Ballyfad moved 2-12 to 1-9 up. An unorthodox throw-in by referee James Flood led to John Walsh netting and pulling the Wexford District club within three, but Bobby Hughes wrapped up his team's win with an added-time free.

Ballyfad will secure second place in the group with victory over their neighbours Liam Mellows in the final round of fixtures. The Island can no longer advance to the quarters but can avoid a relegation final if they beat Taghmon-Camross and Marshalstown-Castledockrell lose to St. James'.

Ballyfad: Tom Hughes; Enda O'Leary, Edward Hughes, Killian O'Toole; Lorcan Clare, Aidan Jones (capt.), Jim Hughes; Niall Gethings, Bobby Hughes (0-8, 6 frees); Mark Boland, Tommy Boland (1-0), Dean O'Toole (0-1); Denis Jones (1-1), Peter Hughes, Niall Hughes (0-1). Subs. - Emmet O'Toole (0-1) for Boland (43), Michael Byrne (0-1) for P. Hughes (51).

Our Lady's Island: Noel Dempsey; Cathal Devereux, Eamon Maloney, Davy Corish; Robbie Reville, Liam Kinsella, Darragh Sinnott; Colm Kinsella (0-1 '65), Quinn Saunders (1-2); Dean Maloney (capt.), Fintan Mullins, Nicky Keane (0-2); Rory Reville, John Walsh (1-4, 0-1 free), Eoin Wright.

Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).

Wexford People