Nolan inspires HWH-Bunclody
HWH-Bunclody 0-14 Duffry Rovers 1-9
Aidan Nolan produced one of the most inspirational performances of the year as his tally of 0-8 steered HWH-Bunclody into the semi-finals of the Amber Springs/Ashdown Park Hotels Intermediate football championship with a 0-14 to 1-9 victory over District rivals Duffry Rovers in Friday's hotly-contested quarter-final played at an overcast Bellefield.
It is hardly surprising that this derby was finely balanced until Matty Flynn-O'Connor was sprung from the bench to fire low to the net on 48 minutes after being set up by the industrious Robert Frayne.
That green flag gave Duffry Rovers a 1-9 to 0-9 lead as they hoped to push on. But they failed to score again as instead Nolan assumed the role of hero when he took it upon himself to carry the Carlow border men into the last four.
The county hurler showed unerring accuracy from three frees between the 50th and 54th minutes to restore parity, while he also fired over an awe-inspiring point from play a minute from time to propel them in front once more.
But it was his free one minute later that stole the show as he confidently stroked over from a distance right at the limit of his range for a game-clinching score that was befitting of any stage.
Earlier, Peter Atkinson was a menace at full-forward, and he kicked two fine points from play to help HWH-Bunclody into a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead, with four of the Duffry's tally at that juncture coming from Johnny Flynn-O'Connor (three frees).
Both sides squandered genuine goal chances either side of the break, as Bobby Larkin pushed Nolan's rasper onto the post, while Frayne darted in only for his shot to whistle past the post.
The supply line into Atkinson had almost entirely dried up in the second-half, and HWH-Bunclody looked in a spot of bother when Flynn-O'Connor netted, only for Nolan to step up to the mark in impressive fashion.
HWH-Bunclody: Patrick Kavanagh; Billy Kelly, John Atkinson (0-1), Adam Hogan; Colm Farrell (0-2), Martin O'Connor, Peadair Cowman; Seán Kenny, Aidan Nolan (0-8, 6 frees); Josh Martin, Eoin Kelly, Keith O'Hara; David Reck, Peter Atkinson (0-2), Edward Dunbar (0-1). Subs. - Enda Slevin for O'Connor, O'Connor for B. Kelly (black card), John Dunne for Martin, Mark Sheehan for O'Hara, Kevin Dunne for Reck, James Moorhead for Slevin.
Duffry Rovers: Bobby Larkin; Thomas Dunne, Craig Casey, Liam Pender; Feargal Kenny, Aidan Byrne, John Dunne; Johnny Flynn-O'Connor (0-6, 5 frees), Eamonn Doyle; Tim Bowler (0-1 free), Donie Doyle, Cian Fitzhenry (0-1 free); Gavin Watchorn, Robert Frayne (0-1), Alan O'Neill. Subs. - Stephen Watchorn for O'Neill, Matty Flynn-O'Connor (1-0) for G. Watchorn, Donie O'Connor for S. Watchorn.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).