Major revival spurs Bannow
Bannow-Ballymitty 4-13 Horeswood 1-21
Bannow-Ballymitty produced a rousing second-half fightback to edge out a shell-shocked Horeswood in a high-octane Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship Group A encounter in O'Kennedy Park in New Ross.
The eventual winners trailed by 1-15 to 1-6 at the break and looked to have a mountain of Everest-like proportions to climb but, inspired by a virtuoso performance from Kieran Butler, they somehow dragged themselves from the foothills back to the summit.
Butler may be better known for his exploits in the big ball game, but he showed that he knows his way around the hurling field too, contributing 3-3 from play in a barnstorming display.
He was ably assisted by sharpshooter Pat Fitzharris, who helped himself to 1-8, with seven points of his handsome tally coming from placed balls.
Horeswood looked in complete control in the first-half, racing into a 0-9 to 0-1 lead by the 15th minute.
Seán Nolan, Declan Murphy and Michael O'Hanlon scored two points apiece, with David Larkin, David Murphy and Paddy Murphy also finding the range, with the sole Bannow-Ballymitty response coming from James McCormack, who has been lining out with Cavan in the Lory Meagher Cup.
Kieran Butler opened his account in the 17th minute, but Horeswood stretched their lead to 0-12 to 0-2 with points from Barry Hearn, Seán Nolan and Craig Murphy.
However, Butler threw Bannow-Ballymitty a lifeline on 20 minutes when he broke free and rifled the ball to the corner of the net.
Pat Fitzharris kept last season's beaten semi-finalists in touch with his accuracy from placed balls, but they were hit with a right hook to the solar plexus in the 28th minute when Declan Murphy gathered a John Bradley pass and drove the ball beyond goalkeeper Kevin Doyle to help Horeswood to a nine-point advantage at the break.
The deficit was down to just two points within ten minutes of the re-start though, with Kieran Butler bagging 1-1 and Pat Fitzharris also getting the green flag waving.
Butler's goal came with 37 minutes on the clock, taking his chance with a aplomb after being teed up by Fitzharris, and the latter showed his finishing skills two minutes later when he steered home a Nicky Doyle delivery to make it 1-15 to 3-7.
It was point for point thereafter and Horeswood held on to that precarious two-point advantage until the 57th minute when Butler pounced for his third goal, plundering possession and knocking the ball over the line to seal a stirring comeback.
Bannow-Ballymitty: Kevin Doyle; John Mernagh, John O'Leary, David White; Nicky Doyle, Art Sweetman, Darragh Murphy; Pat Fitzharris (1-8, 0-7 frees), Mark Wallace; Richie Walsh, Gary Morton, James McCormack (0-2); Gary Jordan, David Currid, Kieran Butler (3-3). Sub. - Donal McLoughlin for Jordan.
Horeswood: Eoin Mythen; Gavin Murphy, Shane O'Hanlon, Eamonn O'Sullivan; Danny Byrne, Barry Hearn (0-1), Mossy Kent; Paddy Murphy (0-1), David Larkin (0-1); Seán Nolan (0-6), Michael O'Hanlon (0-7, 5 frees), Declan Murphy (1-3); David Murphy (0-1), John Bradley, Craig Murphy (0-1). Subs. - Dylan Whitty for Kent, Leigh O'Brien for S. O'Hanlon, Jim Wall for Bradley.
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).