Hogues march on
Clongeen leapfrogged and bow out
Ballyhogue withstood a late Clongeen fightback to leapfrog their opponents and take the final qualifying place on offer in Group A of the Ashdown Park/Amber Springs Hotels Intermediate football championship in Cushinstown on Friday.
Ballyhogue 1-16 Clongeen 2-9
Leading by 1-14 to 1-4 in slick conditions, the Bree boys got a bit sloppy. Clongeen kept chipping away and a string of scores pulled the New Ross District side within three with a few minutes remaining.
However, Ballyhogue refused to let their place in the quarter-finals slip away. On the two occasions their opponents closed the gap to one kick of the ball, they responded within a couple of minutes to re-establish a four-point lead and close out the match.
Most of the damage was done in the first-half. While the wind was not directly blowing down the field, it was certainly favouring the side playing into the Ballinaboola end, namely Clongeen.
However, they managed just three scores, all coming in the first eight minutes.
Ger Foxe nabbed two of those, and Paul Curtis the other one, as Clongeen held a 0-3 to 0-2 advantage.
Edward Galavan had a couple of points on the board early but it became the Shane Doyle and Noel Roche show for the remainder of the half as the county Under-21s shared the next six points.
That gave Ballyhogue an 0-8 to 0-3 interval lead, although they did survive a scare when Myles Roche saved from Foxe's low shot. A pacey run and audacious lobbed finish over Ricky Rochford by Seán Ring helped extend that advantage to nine.
Donal Whelan hit the net at the other end, after Paudie Cahill's initial shot was blocked, but it didn't start the revival (1-9 to 1-4). Instead, Ballyhogue kicked the next five scores with Roche grabbing three of them.
Ten points down, Clongeen made a fight of it with Paudie Cullen clinically firing home from Colm Byrne's handpass.
The 'Geeners got to within three with four minutes remaining but late scores from Roche and Shane Murphy ensured that their opponents advanced.
Ballyhogue will now meet the winners of Group B in the quarter-finals.
They will go in as underdogs but lively ones and will be far from a pushover. Clongeen's season is now over, having finished fifth in the table.
Ballyhogue: Myles Roche; Tomás Moriarty, Seán Rochford, Arthur Dunne; James Parle, Richard Dunne, Graham Parker; Shane Byrne, Syl Byrne; Tony Ryan, Shane Doyle (0-4), Conor Byrne; Seán Ring (1-0), Edward Galavan (capt., 0-3), Noel Roche (0-8, 4 frees). Subs. - Dylan Dalton for Ryan (31), Shane Murphy (0-1) for A. Dunne, inj. (41), Daniel Pim for C. Byrne (50), Mick Condon for Ring (60).
Clongeen: Ricky Rochford; Stephen Curtis, Anton Stafford, Barry Foxe; Jamie Keating, Paudie Cahill (capt.), Donal Whelan (1-0); Paudie Cullen (1-2, 0-1 free), Enda Murphy; Robert Farrell, Paul Curtis (0-2), Leon Stafford; Ger Foxe (0-4, 3 frees), Colm Byrne, Jamesie Rochford. Subs. - Páraic Curtis (0-1) for Stafford (31), Cathal Murphy for E. Murphy (31).
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).