Sunday 21 January 2018

Oulart survive big scare

Dean Goodison

The outstanding Garrett Sinnott is tracked by Barry Carton
The outstanding Garrett Sinnott is tracked by Barry Carton

Oulart-The Ballagh responded to adversity like all great champions do, but Cloughbawn might feel that this Pettitt's Senior hurling championship Group B tie in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday was one that got away from them.

Oulart-The Ballagh 2-16 Cloughbawn 1-18

The victors were not at their best, that is clear. They sleepwalked through the first quarter, slowly came to life but never reached anything like the intensity levels they are capable of. Still, it's another win on the board against a team which is hard to beat and always ready to play at full tilt.

Cloughbawn might be perennial underdogs but if they keep these performances coming that tag will no longer be valid. They are a side which demands you meet them face on and match their intensity, otherwise you are certainly in for a long afternoon.

Oulart-The Ballagh are probably the only team in the county who could have overturned the funk they started in against this Cloughbawn outfit. Harry Kehoe picked off four points in the first 16 minutes while a superbly-worked team goal, scored by Alan Carton, after excellent build up play by Connal Flood and Billy Wickham, emphasised their keen start (1-4 to 0-1).

Nicky Kirwan had an uncharacteristic three missed frees under his belt in the first 15 minutes but slowly Oulart-The Ballagh began to find their feet. Garrett Sinnott was exceptional and his first two points got his side back into the contest.

After Des Mythen grabbed his second point, Rory Jacob, dropping deep to dictate play, fired a long ball into Martin Og Storey's vicinity that the powerful forward ran on to and smashed with a pulled stroke high into Noel Carton's net.

Two more Sinnott points got Oulart-The Ballagh level (2-6 each) with six minutes left in the half, but Cloughbawn finished the stronger. Indeed, between the 26th and 31st minutes the Castleboro side added six points with the breeze to take a 1-12 to 1-7 interval lead.

M.J. Furlong, free to sit off and take possession with Jacob further out the field, nailed two of those scores from his own half. Alan Carton, Barry Carton, Bob Whitty and Connal Flood were also on target as Cloughbawn led.

Oulart-The Ballagh only added four scores in the third quarter but one of those was an opportunistic goal from Kirwan after Conor O'Leary's long ball broke off Peter Murphy into his path.

Back came Cloughbawn to lead with points from Flood and Alan Carton as the game entered the last 14 minutes.

Three white flags in a row, with Rory Jacob and Sinnott (two) on target, coupled with the introduction of Billy Dunne, helped Oulart-The Ballagh into their first lead of the day in the 49th minute. But they were soon hauled in again when Harry Kehoe scored for the eighth time.

Murphy and Jacob put their side two ahead, as did Kirwan in the 58th minute after Carton responded. Harry Kehoe again cut the gap to one in added time but Oulart-The Ballagh hung on to take the points.

Oulart-The Ballagh: Conor O'Leary; Conor Goff, Keith Rossiter, Barry Kehoe; Kevin Sheridan, Paul Roche, Eoin Moore (0-1 free); Michael Jacob, Tommy Storey; Rory Jacob (0-3), Garrett Sinnott (0-6), Peter Murphy (0-2); Des Mythen (0-2), Nicky Kirwan (1-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 '65), Martin Og Storey (1-0). Subs. - Billy Dunne for Sheridan (47), Sheridan for R. Jacob, temp. (57-59).

Cloughbawn: Noel Carton; Gavin Murphy, Tomás Furlong, M.J. Furlong (0-2); Barry Kehoe, Páidí Cullen, Corey Bolger; Barry Carton (0-1), Davin Murphy; Harry Kehoe (0-9, 8 frees), Colm Kehoe, Connal Flood (0-2); Billy Wickham, Alan Carton (1-3), Bob Whitty (0-1). Sub. - Martin Kehoe for Wickham (31).

Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).

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