Sunday 20 October 2019

Blues back in the big time

Oylegate-Glenbrien on the right road after Doran goal

Podge Doran accepts the spoils of success
Podge Doran accepts the spoils of success
The triumphant Oylegate-Glenbrien squad prior to Saturday's Intermediate championship final victory over Adamstown
The beaten finalists from Adamstown

Alan Aherne

Oylegate-Glenbrien looked the more likely team to succeed from the early stages of Saturday's The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship final in Innovate Wexford Park, and Adamstown's fate was well and truly sealed in the 40th minute when inter-county attacker Podge Doran struck for the game's only goal.

Oylegate-Glenbrien 1-14 Adamstown 0-10

The winners' captain availed of a neat handpass from Jamie Reck coupled with the fact that direct opponent P.J. Carroll had lost his hurl, driving forward from his new right half-forward posting before planting the ball well out of Paul Delaney's reach.

That goal widened the Oylegate-Glenbrien lead to 1-10 to 0-6, and there was never a danger they would be caught thereafter as an encounter which failed to really catch fire petered out to its inevitable conclusion.

The teams relegated from Senior ranks in 2013 and 2014 respectively shared eight points after that decisive contribution from Doran, his sole score but the one that made all the difference in the overall scheme of things.

It was Oylegate-Glenbrien's fourth Intermediate championship success after previous victories in 1959, 1992 and 2012, and now the trick will be to survive for more than one season in the top flight which was their unwanted fate after that last title win four years ago.

Their defensive unit must take a great deal of credit for Saturday's triumph, particularly as they lost centre-back Jim White to injury after just 14 minutes.

White's recent Wexford Under-21 colleague, Tony French, was completely blotted out to the extent that he didn't score and was substituted in the third quarter, while county Senior James Breen tried manfully but was restricted to one point.

Towering Minor Liam Stafford probably carried the greatest threat overall, although it was somewhat surprising to see the Adamstown mentors taking off John French given that he was their only player to manage more than one score from play.

Indeed, with half of their meagre tally of ten points coming from frees, it was a bad day at the office for the losers' attack, and the pressure exerted at the other end was always going to tell despite the very best efforts of veteran M.J. Cooper along with captain Shane O'Gorman in stemming the tide.

Seamus Casey and Lorcan French traded early points from frees before excellent county Minor Damien Reck - a really exciting prospect - popped over a brace of scores for the hot pre-match favourites.

Those points really set the tone for what was to follow from the M.J. Reck-managed Oylegate-Glenbrien men who were very determined to make the most of this opportunity after disappointing quarter-final exits in 2014 and 2015.

Jamie Reck, later named as the sponsor's official man of the match, set up Peter Nolan to make it 0-4 to 0-1 after seven minutes, but Adamstown responded well as another converted free from Lorcan French was followed by a fine point from his brother, John, tight to the right sideline under the stand.

There was minimal disruption to the leaders despite the loss of Jim White, with Bryan McCormack and Michael Heffernan to the fore in a very strong defence while a couple of pointed frees from Seamus Casey widened the gap to double scores (0-6 to 0-3).

And it got even better for the Enniscorthy District side as Conor Heffernan split the posts from long range after a Fergal Doran handpass, while Casey punished a slack Adamstown clearance for his sole score from play.

Michael Heffernan averted the danger when the opposition created a goal chance, with Tomás Harrington attempting a pick-up when a first-time pull might have been the better option.

James Breen did manage a point seconds later while Shane O'Gorman converted a free from distance after being fouled, but Oylegate-Glenbrien went on to lead by 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval after a Jamie Reck handpass in added time led to the last score of the half from midfielder Mark Kavanagh.

M.J. Cooper blocked an early attempt on goal from Podge Doran when the action resumed, and Adamstown must have felt they were still in the running when John French doubled his own tally under pressure in the 33rd minute.

They moved Michael Furlong to right half-forward while Lorcan French went to midfield, and half-time substitute Seán Barden was looking lively in the right corner.

However, Oylegate-Glenbrien maintained a healthy distance between the sides, with Podge Doran's goal, shortly after his move to the right wing, coming five minutes after Damien Reck pointed a monster free from all of 84 metres.

Marty Kelly, the first-half replacement for Jim White, made it 1-11 to 0-6 from an Eoin O'Mahoney pass before Adamstown squandered their best goal chance of the second period and their one possible opportunity to make a game of it.

Liam Stafford surged forward on a solo and crossed for Barry Power, but the substitute's shot from close range flew over the bar.

Three minutes later it took a fine save from Paul Delaney to deny Podge Doran a second goal, but the '65 which arose was stroked over by Damien Reck (1-12 to 0-7).

Lorcan French pulled back a point from a free before James Breen passed to Liam Stafford whose venomous shot flew inches over rather than under the bar.

Another substitute, Robert O'Connor, had a hand in the last two Oylegate-Glenbrien points, delivering the handpass to Eoin O'Mahoney for the first before availing of a lovely low ball from right to left by Ciarán Hourihane to knock over the second.

M.J. Cooper had registered a point from a long-distance free in between, but the game ended with Adamstown under more pressure as Podge Doran expertly controlled a high ball in from Marty Kelly with his hurl but drove his shot into the side-netting.

The New Ross District club must now turn to their Junior 'B' crew in the hope of ending the hurling year on a high, as they will meet Craanford in the county final in St. Patrick's Park next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Oylegate-Glenbrien's thoughts will be focused on the Leinster series and a trip to Meath on Saturday, November 5, to take on the Senior champions of the Royal county, either Kiltale or Killyon who will meet in Navan this coming weekend.

Kiltale will be expected to come through that game, and if so they will be familiar opponents for the boys in blue as the sides met in 2012 when Oylegate-Glenbrien won by 3-12 to 2-13 in Páirc Tailteann before flopping to Clara from Kilkenny who have since gone on to much greater heights.

Oylegate-Glenbrien: John Foley; Bryan McCormack, Fergus Heffernan, Michael Heffernan; Shane Reck, Jim White, Fergal Doran; Mark Kavanagh (0-1), Damien Reck (0-4, 1 free, 1 '65); Eoin O'Mahoney (0-1), Jamie Reck, Seamus Casey (0-4, 3 frees); Peter Nolan (0-1), Podge Doran (capt., 1-0), Conor Heffernan (0-1). Subs. - Marty Kelly (0-1) for White, inj. (14), Ciarán Hourihane for M. Heffernan, temp. (49-51), Hourihane for Nolan (51), Robert O'Connor (0-1) for C. Heffernan (51), also Eddie Mernagh, Kieran Lambert, Aidan Murphy, Conor Doyle, Pa Cullen, Barry Dunne, John Lambert, Ciarán Dagger, Ciarán O'Brien, Shane Lambert, Stephen McCormack, Daithí O'Mahoney, Anthony Doyle, Brian Doran.

Adamstown: Paul Delaney; Brendan Furlong, M.J. Cooper (0-1 free), Ian Bradley; P.J. Carroll, Shane O'Gorman (capt., 0-1 free), Vinnie Doheny; Michael Furlong, Johnny Connors; John French (0-2), Lorcan French (0-3 frees), Liam Stafford (0-1); Tomás Harrington, James Breen (0-1), Tony French. Subs. - Seán Barden for Harrington (HT), Barry Power (0-1) for T. French (39), John Whelan for I. Bradley, temp. (42-45), Patrick Whitty for J. French (43), Harry Cosgrave for Whitty (57), also Paul Cooper, Paudie Barden, J.P. Furlong, Ian Stafford, James Furlong, Patrick Delaney, Tomás French, Eamonn Lawlor, Liam McDonald, Michael Curtis.

Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').

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