Double dream still alive
HWH-Bunclody 3-17 Adamstown 1-14
HWH-Bunclody's dream of an historic championship double remains a live prospect as they advanced to the semi-finals of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship with an impressive 3-17 to 1-14 victory over an off-colour Adamstown side in Sunday's slow-burning quarter-final played amid brilliant sunshine at Bellefield.
Generally, victory is often predicted by dominating the middle third, and the Carlow border side struck up perfect harmony in that crucial sector as the consistent accuracy of Billy Kelly, and the box-to-box running from Aidan Nolan, combined for a tally of 1-14 - which was the same total that Adamstown's entire team managed.
The black and ambers will be the first to admit that they were well below-par in the opening half-hour, at the end of which they trailed by 0-11 to 0-5 having failed to score from play, but they did pick up significantly after the break to make things very interesting with seven minutes to go.
Indeed, whatever dressing-down they received at the interval appeared to have had the desired effect as Tony French registered their first score from play just over a minute in, before Liam Stafford fed Seán Barden, who absorbed a couple of challenges before flighting to the Bellefield Road net to reduce the gap to 0-12 to 1-7 after 35 minutes.
French accounted for Adamstown's next four scores (two frees), while Peter Atkinson and Nolan were among the ripostes for Bunclody as the two-point cushion remained entering the home strait.
However, the complexion changed significantly when Nolan emerged from a ruck before slapping beyond the near post on 54 minutes, while Atkinson nipped in to follow Seán Kenny's hanging delivery to the net four minutes later (2-16 to 1-12).
John French saw red for a frustrated tackle in injury time, before Jason Cowman sealed the win with a late goal.
Earlier, a perfectly-measured sideline cut from Aidan Nolan and an effort from mid-range by Eoin Kelly were probably the pick of the scores for Bunclody.
Meanwhile, a rampant Atkinson picked off a nice brace, and Billy Kelly scored six (five frees) as they built that 0-11 to 0-5 half-time ascendancy.
HWH-Bunclody: Art O'Neill; David Reck, Colm Farrell, Martin O'Connor; Enda Slevin, Seán Kenny, Conor Crean; Billy Kelly (0-10, 6 frees), Aidan Nolan (1-4, 0-1 line ball); Edward Dunbar, Eoin Kelly (0-1), Conor Hendrick; Peter Atkinson (1-3), Ronan Roberts, Kevin Dunne. Subs. - Jason Cowman (1-0) for Hendrick (HT), Podge Kehoe for Dunne (37), Cathal Doyle for Roberts (45).
Adamstown: Paul Delaney; John Whelan, P.J. Carroll, Brendan Furlong; James Breen, Shane O'Gorman, Michael Furlong; Johnny Connors, Lorcan French (0-1); Tony French (0-12, 8 frees, 1 '65), Liam Stafford (0-1), Seán Barden (1-0); John French, Paudie Barden, Harry Cosgrave. Subs. - M.J. Cooper for Cosgrave (34), Shane White for P. Barden (34).
Referee: Niall McDonald (Crossabeg Ballymurn).