Goals the difference as speedy Gusserane storm past Ferns
Permanent TSB Junior Hurling Championship: Gusserane 4-12 Fern-St Aidan's 0-11
While the old adage of 'goals win games' is a mite too simplistic, they were the difference as Gusserane ripped past Ferns and into the semi-final of the Permanent TSB Junior Hurling Championship in Bree on Saturday afternoon last.
The thing about goals is that they don't usually just happen. There's a reason why they are scored; a mistake, a great piece of individual skill or sometimes even luck. However, in this instance speed kills and it certainly finished off Ferns' title aspirations.
The youthful Gusserane attack is hard to keep quiet for sixty minutes. Ferns did a very decent job of it but the New Ross District side are always going to create chances at this level. How clinical they are in their semi-final, and potential final, will dictate if they take this title or not.
It took Sean 'Mini' Ryan mere minutes to nab the first goal. He seized on a sloppy pass in the Ferns defence but still had plenty to do when he got possession. His legs did the hard work, racing away from the cover and calmly firing low past Niall Byrne.
While the breeze slightly aided Gusserane in the first half, it flipped to predominantly a crosswind pretty early on. They didn't have too many problems with the elements as Sam Wall wafted over dead-balls and Mark Rossiter picked off a couple of nice points.
William Cullen's frees kept Ferns in touch at the break (1-9 to 0-5). When Tomás Hawkins sent over a booming effort just four minutes after the interval the lead was trimmed to five. However, Mark O'Neill ghosted in to net moments later and his side were able to keep their opponents at arm's length thereafter.
Ryan and O'Neill added further goals early in the final quarter and, while they didn't score in the last eleven minutes, Gusserane were relatively comfortable in the closing stages and will fancy their chances in the last four.
GUSSERANE: Michael Ryan; Reggie Browne, Paul Wall (capt.), Jack O'Connor; Gavin Sheehan, Shane Cullen, Liam Dillon; Graham Cullen, Adrian Redmond; Gary O'Grady, Mark Rossiter (0-2), Mark O'Neill (2-1); Sam Wall (0-8, 7 frees), Padraig Conway, Sean Ryan (2-1). Subs: Ken Cahill for Browne (44), Fintan Ryan for O'Grady (44), Cathal Somers for Conway (50), Jack Burford for S. Wall (53), Donal Kiely for S. Cullen (55).
FERNS: Niall Byrne; Brian O'Neill, Colm Whelan, Peter Nolan (capt.); Jack O'Hagan, Tomás Hawkins (0-1), Padraig Walsh; Derek Thorpe, P.J. O'Neill; Paddy O'Leary (0-1), Eddie Cullen (0-8 frees), Ben Cowman; Conor Jordan (0-1), Anthony Dwyer, Ciaran Doran. Subs. - Aaron Cahill for O'Hagan (38), Keith Breen for Cowman (38), Conor Doran for B. O'Neill (52), Patrick Tonks for Walsh (55).
REFEREE: Gearoid McGrath (St James').