Holders ease clear
Comfortable derby win for Oulart
Holders Oulart-The Ballagh started their Pettitt's Senior hurling championship defence with a clinical performance against Buffers Alley in the Group B opener in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
Oulart-The Ballagh 3-12 Buffers Alley 0-11
It's been a long run of hurling for the Leinster winners but with their new breed, the likes of Murtha Doyle and Billy Dunne, adding freshness to the starting line-up, they proved too good for their neighbours from Monamolin.
The Alley put in a sensational showing last August to claim a draw with their big rivals, a result that gave all the Senior sides a boost. Yet despite keeping it tight for a good stretch in this contest they never looked like repeating the trick.
There were just three points between the sides after 41 minutes as Oulart-The Ballagh led by 3-5 to 0-11. A quick glance up at the final score will show that Buffers Alley failed to score again and that's a fair reflection on how the game finished, with the champs strangling the life out of their opponents.
The underdogs opened the scoring in the third minute with a nice score from Ciarán Kenny and maybe sensing that they needed something special, went low with a 20-metre free Andrew Kenny free shortly after.
Conor O'Leary saved that attempt, as well as a couple more in garbage time at the end of the game when the Alley were trying to cut the deficit in chunks. Other than that the Oulart-The Ballagh stopper was untroubled, demonstrating the strong showing of the full-back line.
Even after that goal attempt came and went, the Gorey District side added points from Ross Donohoe and Tomás O'Leary to move into an early 0-3 to nil lead. A Nicky Kirwan free opened his side's account in the ninth minute.
Rory Jacob drove in from the right and fed Murtha Doyle who danced outside a defender and smashed past Oliver O'Leary in the eleventh minute. From that score forward Oulart-The Ballagh were never headed.
Yet, following three Andrew Kenny points, the score was level after 26 minutes. Parity proved fleeting for the Alley as a powerful run from Tommy Storey ended with him off-loading to Garrett Sinnott and the experienced forward smashed his shot to the roof of the net.
Leading by 2-3 to 0-7 at the break, and with the breeze in the second period, Oulart-The Ballagh added a third goal five minutes after the resumption. This time the ball popped out of a scramble in the Buffers Alley goalmouth, right to the waiting Kirwan who pulled to the net.
A five-point lead shrunk to 3-5 to 0-11 after 41 minutes but Buffers Alley floundered. Oulart-The Ballagh started a devastating run to the finish line with a Billy Dunne point in the 43rd minute, and began the final quarter with two quick scores from Kirwan and Sinnott.
They continued to motor and added four more points, through Peter Murphy, Kirwan (two) and the evergreen Rory Jacob in the final eleven minutes to begin their 2016 campaign with a resounding victory.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Conor O'Leary; Barry Kehoe, Keith Rossiter, Eoin Moore; Conor Goff, Kevin Sheridan, Michael Jacob; Tommy Storey, Billy Dunne (0-1); Garrett Sinnott (1-1), Des Mythen, Peter Murphy (0-3); Murtha Doyle (1-0), Rory Jacob (0-3), Nicky Kirwan (1-4, 0-4 frees). Sub. - Tomás Dunne for Storey (53).
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Paudie Reidy, Willie Doran, Barry Kenny; Seán Murphy, Ciarán Kenny (capt., 0-1), John Farrell; Pat Kenny, Kevin Roche (0-1); Seán Og Whelan, Ross Donohoe (0-2), Tomás O'Leary (0-2); Paul O'Leary, Shane Grannell, Andrew Kenny (0-5, 3 frees). Subs. - Bobby Kenny for P. O'Leary (43), Rob O'Leary for Whelan (52).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').