Doyle's late heroics
Marshalstown-Castledockrell 2-14 Oulart-The Ballagh 2-13
When everyone was awaiting the final whistle, a dramatic late Diarmuid Doyle goal four minutes into additional time put this game to bed as it handed Marshalstown-Castledockrell a one-point victory over a shell-shocked Oulart-The Ballagh in this Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group A game in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Sunday.
This was a game which contained all the qualities of old - battling displays from both sides, heavy physical contact, quality hurling and attacking play - so it was always going to end in some drama and it was Marshalstown-Castledockrell who provided the storming finish to snatch victory with the second-last stroke.
Oulart-The Ballagh looked on the verge of collecting both points, after particularly after Colm Bennett had sent a 20-metre free from in front of goal wide three minutes into stoppage time.
But Marshalstown-Castledockrell cast this setback to one side as they launched one final attack on the puck-out.
Eoin Bennett latched onto a breaking ball on the right wing and sent a high delivery to the right of goal, where it fell to Diarmuid Doyle close to the end line. He took the gamble to rifle a low shot to the net from an acute angle, beating the advance of 'keeper James O'Toole to send the sideline into raptures as referee David O'Leary blew full-time on the puck-out.
It was as dramatic as it comes but few would begrudge Marshalstown-Castledockrell their moment of glory as they fought right to the end, getting just reward.
The first-half saw the accuracy of Pad Mythen from frees keeping Oulart-The Ballagh in front, with county Minor Diarmuid Doyle being equally on song for the opposition as they fought to remain in contention, although a 21st-minute Cormac Finn goal helped Oulart-The Ballagh into a 1-8 to 0-7 interval lead.
But the tempo of the game stepped up considerably on the resumption. Marshalstown-Castledockrell re-started with a fine Diarmuid Doyle point from way out on the wing, while on 33 minutes, midfielder Michael Morris drove through the centre of the defence and laid the ball off into the path of Joe Kelly who sent a ground shot to the net, bringing the sides level (1-8 each).
This set the scene for a torrid closing quarter, but with Peter Sutton crashing home a 42nd-minute goal, giving his side a 2-9 to 1-11 lead, one expected Oulart-The Ballagh to push on.
However, the opposition refused to buckle as they bounced back for some fine points through Diarmuid Doyle and Michael Morris, leaving the sides deadlocked (2-11 to 1-14) with four minutes left.
When substitute Daryl Gray and Pad Mythen lofted over points it looked as if Oulart-The Ballagh had secured victory, but then came that late surge and dramatic Doyle strike to give Marshalstown-Castledockrell that dramatic victory.
Marshalstown-Castledockrell: Mark Brennan; John Frayne, Darragh Kehoe, Ken Doyle; David O'Connor, Colm Bennett (0-1 free), Mark Morris; Michael Morris (0-1), John Cullen (0-1); Michael Kelly, James Finn, James Farrell (0-1); Eoin Bennett, Joe Kelly (1-0), Diarmuid Doyle (1-10, 0-5 frees, 0-1 '65). Sub. - Mark Kehoe for J. Kelly.
Oulart-The Ballagh: James O'Toole; Seán Murphy, Dennis Morton, Ian Storey; Kevin Nimmo, Ben O'Connor, Niall Redmond; Pad Mythen (0-7, 4 frees), Darren Nolan (0-2); Peter Sutton (1-2), Tomás Dunne (0-1), Adam Nolan; Cormac Finn (1-0), Nicholas Cullen, Mick O'Dowd. Sub. - Daryl Gray (0-1) for O'Dowd.
Referee: David O'Leary (Rathnure).