Dismal display punished by Naas
AIB Leinster Club Hurling Championships: Naas (Kildare) 0-14 Cloughbawn 0-9
Cloughbawn turned in a dismal display as they went down to a five-point defeat to a determined Naas outfit in this AIB Leinster Club Intermediate hurling championship quarter-final in Bellefield on Saturday.
Having enjoyed a county final success six days earlier, Cloughbawn never hit the same heights as they were totally outplayed by the Kildare Senior champions in the second 30 minutes, and it took some desperate defending to save them from a much heavier defeat.
The inadequacy of this Cloughbawn performance is best summed up in that just two of their seven points came from play, both in the opening half.
And the second period produced just two pointed frees as Naas assumed total control all over the pitch, as they bagged ten points in a dominant display after the interval to totally outplay the home side.
The heavy underfoot conditions militated against quality hurling, with the result that it came down to a lot of individual physical battles.
And it was in this department that the Naas defence shone as they completely shut out the Cloughbawn attack, while at the opposite end they had some quality forwards who picked off some excellent points both from play and frees.
Not for the first time, a Wexford side has failed to deliver in the provincial club championship, and this defeat should come as a rude awakening with regard to where club hurling is in the county at the moment.
For a Wexford club it was a familiar taste of defeat, but the manner of this one is totally unacceptable as it casts Model county hurling in a very poor light, particularly as Cloughbawn will be back playing in the Senior grade next season.
Cloughbawn enjoyed a bright start, racing into a 0-3 to nil lead inside the opening ten minutes through two Harry Kehoe pointed frees, while M.J. Furlong managed one in between from play.
But one could see that Naas were growing in confidence, particularly as the Cloughbawn attack was failing to make any impression in open play, and by the 25th minute just two points separated the sides (0-5 to 0-3).
Kehoe had pointed two further frees, while James Burke, Jack Sheridan and Shane Ryan found the target for the visitors.
Cloughbawn kept battling but there was little composure to their play as they could only manage two further Kehoe points, one from a free, to go in leading by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval.
On the resumption, Naas attacked in numbers, with points from Seán Gainey and James Burke reducing the deficit to 0-7 to 0-6 within five minutes of the re-start.
Thirteen minutes into the second-half, Burke lofted over a fine equalising point off the wing, and from here on the visitors grew in confidence and assumed control.
Thirteen minutes into the second-half a Brian Byrne pointed free had his side in front for the first time, while three minutes later - after a move started from deep in defence - James Burke finished with an excellent point from 50 metres.
In between all of this, Harry Kehoe failed to find the target with three long-range frees, and one could see that Cloughbawn were struggling to gain a foothold.
Naas, with some quality hurling, went on to lead by 0-12 to 0-7, before Cloughbawn had their opening second-half score from a 57th-minute pointed Bob Whitty free.
After Brian Byrne and substitute Joey Lawler had exchanged pointed frees, Jack Sheridan closed out the scoring with a huge 80-metre pointed placed ball.
Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, James Dempsey; Barry Kehoe, Corey Bolger, Johnny Cullen; Colm Kehoe, Páidí Cullen; Eanna Doyle, Alan Carton (capt.), Connal Flood; Bob Whitty (0-1 free), M.J. Furlong (0-1), Harry Kehoe (0-6, 5 frees). Sub. - Joey Lawler (0-1 free) for Bolger (36).
Naas: Jeff Keane; Paul Sullivan, Richie Hogan, Darach Mac Donncha; Seán Gainey (0-1), Rian Boran, Simon Leacy; Shane Broderick, John O'Malley; James Burke (0-5, 1 free), Ross Kelly, Cathal Dowling; Shane Ryan (0-1), Brian Byrne (0-3 frees), Jack Sheridan (0-4, 1 free, 1 line ball). Subs. - Michael Purcell for O'Malley (HT), Conor Dowling for Ryan (54), Mark Nevin for Burke (63).
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly).