Fethard find a way in the foul weather
Under-14s maintain winning start
Fethard maintained their unbeaten start to the New Ross Standard Coiste na nOg Under-14 football championship with a hard-fought victory over hosts Clongeen in awful conditions on Thursday.
Fethard 1-8 Clongeen 1-2
The pounding rain relented enough to allow the game to go ahead, but underfoot conditions were slick, meaning it was extremely difficult for both sides to show the quality they undoubtedly possess.
That said, several stars from each side did step up to the plate, particularly for the visitors in a solid first-half. At the back Andy Lu was dominant under the high ball while Kevin Whelan and Josh Wallace were the basis of most attacking moves from deep.
Dylan Whelan was impressive with his driving runs proving difficult for Clongeen to deal with, but Cian Byrne stole the show with an awesome display of shooting, into small goals, in slippery conditions.
The attacker ended with 1-5 to his name and was a constant thorn in a robust, clever Clongeen rearguard. Apart from what Byrne scored, the home side defended to a high level with Seamie Kiely, and later Stephen Dundon, impressive between the sticks.
In the full-back line Niall Doherty and John Whelan superbly marshalled the troops who funnelled back to help out, and it was really only the excellent attacking play of Fethard that allowed the visitors to score enough for victory.
The seasiders started on the front foot with a Byrne point within three minutes. Clongeen hit back when Seán Chapman was fouled, and he picked himself up and coolly slotted the levelling dead ball.
Yet, that proved to be the home side's only score of the first-half as Fethard flooded forward. Byrne notched his second from the left wing and added an even classier score three minutes later to give his side a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
Dylan Whelan scored from a well-taken free before Byrne found the net with a low, skidding shot. Two further points from Byrne sandwiched a Kevin Wallace free as Fethard went in at the break leading by 1-7 to 0-1.
Things were different in the second-half with Clongeen coming a lot more into the game. Robbie Rochford drilled a low shot wide at one end while Stephen Dundon, now in goal, made an excellent stop from Seán Walsh at the other.
Bryan Culleton did point for the 'Geeners but the home side were indebted to Dundon again as he saved Walsh's low shot over the crossbar. James Butler drilled in a goal with seven minutes remaining to put just six between the sides, but that wasn't enough to prevent a solid Fethard win.
Fethard: Jimmy Molloy; Mark Wall, Andy Lu; Harry Nunan, Kevin Wallace (0-1 free), Josh Whelan; Jamie Blake, Dylan Whelan (0-1 free); Cian Byrne (1-5, 0-1 free), Eoin O'Dowd, Seán Walsh (0-1); Rory Whelan, Oisín O'Leary.
Clongeen: Seamie Kiely; Niall Doherty, John Whelan; Cian McGee, Michael Dundon, James Whelan; James Butler (1-0), Stephen Dundon; Louis Doherty, Robbie Rochford, Bryan Culleton (0-1); Seán Chapman (0-1 free), David Corish.
Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).