Gorey full of potential
Naomh Eanna 3-22 Taghmon-Camross 0-12
St. Martin's have been pre-ordained as likely Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier champions in most quarters, but Naomh Eanna seem to have the raw materials to give them a very good run for their money.
The Gorey crew chalked up their second successive commanding victory in their own back yard on Tuesday, qualifying for the semi-finals with an easy win over Taghmon-Camross who will only be losing one player at this level in 2018.
A strong side in their own right, Naomh Eanna have been boosted even further with the inclusion of two isolated players with inter-county experience in Niall Hughes (Tara Rocks) and John Doyle (St. Patrick's).
This duo contributed five points from play between them in a routine stroll for the north county lads who outscored their rivals by 2-9 to 0-1 in the second quarter to establish an unassailable 2-16 to 0-5 interval lead.
The accurate free-taking of Luke Sinnott had kept Taghmon-Camross in touch up to the 15-minute mark when they trailed by 0-7 to 0-4, but the game turned into a one-way procession once Gorey goaled for the first time.
Gary Molloy's delivery from the right flank was caught by Gearóid Cullen who drove a low shot to the net, leaving Naomh Eanna firmly in the driving seat (1-8 to 0-5).
Darragh Hughes was prolific in his point-taking from placed balls for the home side, with Aodhán Doyle, John Doyle and Niall Hughes also chipping in before a piece of sublime skill led to their second goal in the 30th minute.
Jack Cullen's centre seemed to be veering right and wide until corner-forward Eoin McGuckin did superbly to keep it in play with a deft flick of his hurl, setting up Seamus O'Donnell for a handy finish from close range.
Taghmon-Camross resumed without the injured Ian Carty, probably as a precautionary measure ahead of the weekend's Senior football action.
They battled on gamely, with goalkeeper Jack Dunne converting a monster free and county full-forward Stephen O'Gorman contributing three more from play, but they matched their seven second-half points with a similar tally of wides.
Naomh Eanna didn't over-exert themselves playing into the breeze and were able to give five substitutes a run without ever looking under threat.
Their third goal was drilled home by Darragh Hughes in the 38th minute from a left-wing Eoin McGuckin cross, and they ended up with a 19-point winning margin despite the absence of influential county Minor Eoin Molloy through injury.
Naomh Eanna: Ross Murphy; Jack Cushe, Daniel Sunderland, Shane Stokes; Kevin Harrington, Gary Molloy, Jack Cullen (0-1); Aodhán Doyle (0-2), Niall Hughes (0-2); Michael Molloy, Darragh Hughes (1-12, 0-9 frees, 0-1 '65), John Doyle (0-3); Seamus O'Donnell (1-0), Gearóid Cullen (capt., 1-1), Eoin McGuckin. Subs. - Ben Egan (0-1) for McGuckin (45), Eddie O'Brien-Murphy for G. Cullen (46), Nathan Byrne for M. Molloy (51), Eoghan Kennedy for G. Molloy, inj. (54), Alan McPartland for O'Donnell (57).
Taghmon-Camross: Jack Dunne (0-1 free); Declan Carroll, David O'Keeffe, Darragh Winters; Adam Winters, Ian Carty, Barry Og McGrath; Shane Doyle, Stephen Stafford (capt., 0-1); Anthony Roche, Eoin McLoughlin, Luke Sinnott (0-7, 5 frees, 2 '65s); Cathal Doyle, Stephen O'Gorman (0-3), Shane Lacey. Subs. - Anthony Doyle for Carty, inj. (HT), Adrian Doyle for C. Doyle (49).
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).