Goal-hungry Gusserane run riot against Fethard
Gusserane 6-5 Fethard 1-6
Whatever about the identity of the winners, the margin of victory was certainly a surprise under the Tom Somers Park floodlights on Saturday when Gusserane delivered a clear statement of intent by crushing near neighbours Fethard in the Greenstar Under-21 football Premier 'A' championship quarter-final.
The Roinn 1 titleholders were in goal-hungry mood as they hit their keen Ross District rivals for six, chalking up more goals than points on an evening when their entire tally was amassed from open play.
The four-week wait since their five-point first round win over Forth and Bargy Gaels was clearly no deterrent, and on this form they will provide strong opposition for HWH-Bunclody or St. Martin's in the semi-final.
The absence of county Senior Mikie Dwyer was an extremely big blow for Fethard, although it didn't look like their attack would miss him early on as Richie Waters kicked a fine point from close to the right sideline before adding a second from a free.
Ricky Rowe had a goal chance in between with his first-time swing at an Aaron Murphy pass, but vocal netminder Micheál Ryan kept it out.
Once Gusserane settled it was clear that they were in the mood to inflict serious damage at the other end, with Sam Wall drifting outfield to leave plenty of room for his fellow forwards to exploit inside.
Their first goal in the eleventh minute had a hint of good fortune about it, as Kevin O'Donohoe seemed to have lost control of Adrian Redmond's popped pass but managed to slap it to the net with an outstretched hand.
O'Donohoe added another 1-1 before the first quarter was over, with his second goal from a kick off the ground taking a wicked deflection via a defender to leave netminder Evan Rowe wrong-footed (2-1 to 0-2).
Although Jimmy Sutton pulled back a point for the Wexford People Minor Premier champions of three years ago, they continued to struggle and trailed by 3-3 to 0-3 at half-time.
Seán O'Connor pointed before Gavin Sheehan struck the side-netting after a long solo run, but the kick-out led to that third Gusserane goal.
Tommy Ryan's mark and pass gave Mark Rossiter a clear drive at the posts down the middle, and his well-taken solo strike was embellished further by an inswinging Jack Culleton point from the right just before the interval.
Fethard needed goals to stand any chance on the re-start, and that's why they resumed with a full-forward line of Joe Sutton, Richie Waters and Adam Swan, all proven score-getters.
However, the supply was poor as Gusserane held sway in the middle third, and early points from Seán O'Connor and Sam Wall stretched their advantage to eleven points.
It was emphatically game, set and match for the home side in the 44th minute when Mark Rossiter cut in from the right and delivered his shot with such power that it warmed the hands of Evan Rowe before ending in the roof of the net (4-5 to 0-3).
Richie Waters (free) stopped the rot, and Joe Sutton took the bare look off Fethard's side of the scorecard with a goal in the 52nd minute, but Gusserane were hungry for more.
Kevin O'Donohoe netted for the third time with an instinctive swing after a grounded Mark Rossiter did all of the hard work by somehow managing to get a pass away.
Joe Sutton and Richie Waters closed Fethard's scoring with points, but Gusserane finished on a high.
A John Roche delivery dropped short, but Seán O'Connor got his hand to the ball before netminder Evan Rowe, and it ended in the net despite Aaron Murphy's valiant effort to keep it out.
Gusserane will have home advantage again for the semi-final on Saturday week.
Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Eoghan Foran (capt.), Mark O'Neill, Eoin Ryan; Donal Kiely, Gavin Sheehan, Jack Burford; John Roche, Tommy Ryan; Jack Culleton (0-1), Mark Rossiter (2-0), Adrian Redmond; Kevin O'Donohoe (3-1), Seán O'Connor (1-2), Sam Wall (0-1). Subs. - Oisín Foran for Culleton (49), Stephen Whelan for E. Ryan (51), Eoin Codd for T. Ryan (54), Donal Kinsella for O'Donohoe (56).
Fethard: Evan Rowe; Seán Sutton, Seán Donohoe (capt.), Colm Ryan; Martin Doyle, Christopher Molloy, James Dillon; Danny Johnston, Daire Barden; Richie Waters (0-4, 2 frees), Joe Sutton (1-1), Adam Swan; Aaron Murphy, Ricky Rowe, Jimmy Sutton (0-1). Sub. - Adam Waters for S. Sutton (HT).
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).