Kilmuckridge survive scare
Spirited Ramsgrange revival made victors earn crown
There was plenty of late drama in this Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Roinn 'C' hurling decider in Innovate Wexford Park on Tuesday as Kilmuckridge were made earn their win over a determined Ramsgrange outfit.
Kilmuckridge 2-10 Ramsgrange 3-4
It truly was a game of two halves whereby both teams sparkled for 25 minutes each, ensuring a nail-biting conclusion in which the result could have gone either way.
Playing with the wind, Kilmuckridge were the first to score when wing-forward Jack Redmond buried the ball into the top corner of the net after intense early pressure from his team. Nifty inside forward Michael Butler had three points on the board not long after and points from a long Shamey O'Hagan free and a nice effort from Cormac Walsh saw the Alley boys open up an early eight-point lead.
David Maleady and Jack Twomey made life for the Ramsgrange forwards very hard in the opening half and the confident goalkeeping of Cian O'Connor ensured that no easy scores were gifted. Ramsgrange's Tomás Barron led the charge time and time again to no avail.
Keelan Foley nearly had a first-half goal for his team when he ran from deep, but instead he had to be content with a point when he blasted a dangerous ball just over the bar. Before the half played out Kilmuckridge had the final say. The silky pair of Cormac Walsh and Michael Butler engineered a second killer goal to send their team into the break leading by 2-5 to 0-1. The second-half saw a complete turnaround in Ramsgrange's fortunes as they fought tooth and nail to regain lost ground. A pair of well-taken points from midfielder Ben McPhillips and a narrow angled effort from Josh Keating-White set the stage for a comeback
The comeback was well and truly on when Sam Wallace gave the Kilmuckridge defence the slip and grabbed an important goal. Three Michael Butler frees kept Ramsgrange at a safe distance but not for long as the commanding Kilmuckridge lead was blown apart with a second Sam Wallace goal and a Pádraig Barron major that rattled the leaders to the core. With minutes remaining, there was now just one point between the teams.
More nervous moments followed when Ramsgrange had two chances to lob in long-range frees in search of a winner, and one of these drifted narrowly wide. Kilmuckridge rallied under this renewed pressure and somehow centre-forward Eoin O'Meara got a shot off to expand the lead to two.
With the clock run down, fittingly, star forward Michael Butler scored a sublime point off the post to seal a nervy win for the north Wexford boys and a return to the top grade after a two-year absence. Unfortunately for Ramsgrange, it was another disappointing result after losing the same final to Kennedy Park last year, but the spectacular improvement in their overall game and skills over the space of one year points to hard work paying off.
Kilmuckridge: Cian O'Connor, Ed Harney, Owen McNulty, James Reilly, David Maleady, Jack Twomey, Shamey O'Hagan, Cillian Larkin, Adam Doyle, Jack Redmond, Eoin O'Meara, Michael Butler, Cormac Walsh, Dylan McEvoy, Harvey Warren, David Hearne, Seán Kirwan.
Ramsgrange: Alfie Eite, Mark Whitty, James Nolan, Daniel Behan, Sam Wallace, Josh Keating-White, Pádraig Barron, Ben McPhillips, Tomás Barron, Keelan Foley, Shane Dunne, Ciarán McPhillips, Darragh McPhillips, Aidan Shannon, Bobby Nolan, Jamie Foley, Owen Murphy, Joe McPhillips, Jack Nolan, Peadar O'Connor, Colum Fitzgerald.