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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Gorey set up dream meeting

AIB Leinster Club SHC: Naomh Eanna 3-18 Camross (Laois) 2-16

Brendan Travers (front, right) gave a storming display at full-back in the absence of his suspended colleagues, Peter Travers and Eoin Molloy
Brendan Travers (front, right) gave a storming display at full-back in the absence of his suspended colleagues, Peter Travers and Eoin Molloy

Alan Aherne

The Naomh Eanna men were severely depleted for their maiden voyage into the AIB Leinster Club Senior hurling championship in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, on Sunday, but they bounced back emphatically from a shaky start to defeat Camross with more comfort than the five-point margin may suggest and set up a mouth-watering home semi-final clash with Ballyhale Shamrocks on November 18.

Corner-backs Peter Travers and Eoin Molloy joined Cathal Dunbar on the list of suspended players as a result of incidents after their disallowed late goal against Tullogher-Rosbercon in football eight days earlier, with the attacking ace having to serve a one-game ban in this competition - not next year's first round in Wexford - after the DRA received the clarification they sought from county semi-final referee Justin Heffernan.

And while William Cullen was a straight swap for Dunbar in attack, with Darragh Hughes moving back out to the left flank from the corner, only stalwart captain Brendan Travers retained his starting position in defence from their triumphant last outing.

Tom Stafford came in for Peter Travers in the right corner, with Eoin Conroy operating on the left.

Eoin Molloy's replacement, Lee Kinsella, lined out at centre-back, with Seán Doyle going to the right flank to pick up the dangerous Zane Keenan while Jack Cullen moved wings to the left.

It was a game to remember for one of their unsung attackers, David O'Brien, who availed of all the Camross attention afforded to Conor McDonald to pick off an impressive 2-2 in the first-half.

His contribution to the victory was immense, while midfielder Aodhán Doyle did a superb job linking defence to attack, with Brendan Travers making up for the absence of his usual full-back colleagues with a storming display.

Although O'Brien put Gorey ahead after 27 seconds, they looked nervous over the next seven minutes as Camross responded with five points on the trot, including three placed balls from Keenan who was held scoreless from play.

A good interception and pass by Brendan Travers set up Charlie McGuckin for a settling point, and it was a different Naomh Eanna team entirely once they struck for an equalising goal in the twelfth minute.

Darragh Hughes aimed a delivery towards Conor McDonald who gathered possession at the second attempt, and his handpass was flicked to the net by David O'Brien under the body of netminder Thomas Dunphy (1-2 to 0-5).

A Pádraig Doyle free then put Gorey ahead for the first time, but they were caught napping in the 15th minute when their five-man line was beaten by a Zane Keenan placed ball taken from just outside the 20-metre mark (1-5 to 1-3).

There was a first rate response, though, with Naomh Eanna outscoring their more seasoned rivals by 2-7 to 0-3 over the remainder of the half. Indeed, they registered 3-8 of their 3-10 tally up to the interval from play, whereas a mere 0-3 of the 1-8 Camross haul arrived from the same source.

A big turning point arrived just after that goal for the two-in-a-row Laois champions when a Lorcan Burke delivery was broken by Mark Dowling towards full-forward Dean Delaney whose first time pull was superbly saved by Barry Kinsella.

Keenan did add the next point from a long-range free, but Naomh Eanna thundered into the game thereafter and never looked back after adding two excellent goals.

David O'Brien pointed from an Aodhán Doyle pass before a long free by Seán Doyle was tipped into his path by the third of the brothers, Pádraig, and he duly added his second goal (2-4 to 1-6).

Naomh Eanna's tails were up as Darragh Hughes, Conor McDonald and Pádraig Doyle (free and play) added points, with Camross captain Niall Holmes pulling one back before their net rattled again in the 26th minute.

Goal number two had arrived because the Laois team's defenders were all drawn towards McDonald for that Seán Doyle free, but they couldn't get close enough to him to prevent a smashing strike in the 27th minute.

There was a slight block on a Jack Cullen delivery, and McDonald read the flight of the ball better than anyone else as he raced out in front of Malvin Moloney before refusing the option of a handy point by crashing a piledriver to the net past Thomas Dunphy (3-8 to 1-7).

Charlie McGuckin and Pádraig Doyle points were sandwiched by one from a Zane Keenan free, and all Naomh Eanna had to do was keep their side of the scoreboard ticking over on the re-start.

And they accomplished this without ever looking in any sort of trouble, sharing 16 points with their rivals who did also manage a consolation goal in added time when Oisín Bennett swept home the rebound after an initial shot by fellow substitute Darren Gilmartin was saved by Barry Kinsella.

The lively Charlie McGuckin could have finished the contest completely in the 34th minute when a beautiful floated pass by Aodhán Doyle found him unmarked to the right of the posts, but he fired across goal for one of his side's nine wides (Camross had seven).

It was 3-14 to 1-12 by the end of the third quarter, with Pádraig Doyle ('65 and play), Gary Molloy and Darragh Hughes (free) adding the Gorey points.

And although that Doyle score from long range in the 44th minute was their last from play, they always kept Camross at arm's length as the centre-forward converted three more late frees while Hughes also registered again from a placed ball.

Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Tom Stafford, Brendan Travers (capt.), Eoin Conroy; Seán Doyle, Lee Kinsella, Jack Cullen; Aodhán Doyle, Gary Molloy (0-1); Charlie McGuckin (0-2), Pádraig Doyle (0-9, 5 frees, 1 '65), Darragh Hughes (0-3, 2 frees); David O'Brien (2-2), Conor McDonald (1-1), William Cullen. Subs. - Jack Cushe for W. Cullen (44), Conor Hughes for O'Brien (56), John O'Brien for D. Hughes (60+1).

Camross: Thomas Dunphy; Andrew Mortimer, Malvin Moloney, Joseph Phelan; Lorcan Burke, Andrew Collier, Dwane Palmer; Matthew Collier, Tomás Burke; Ciarán Collier (0-1), Niall Holmes (capt., 0-3, 1 free), Zane Keenan (1-8, 1-7 frees, 0-1 '65); Mark Dowling (0-1), Dean Delaney, Eoin Gaughan (0-1). Subs. - Oisín Bennett (1-1) for Delaney (HT), Liam Delaney for M. Collier (49), Gearóid Burke for T. Burke (50), Darren Gilmartin (0-1) for Dowling (54).

Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny).

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