Saturday 16 December 2017

Oulart to face Ferns

Brendan Furlong

David Redmond and his Oulart-The Ballagh colleagues will meet Ferns St. Aidan's next in the Pettitt's SHC after overcoming the Conor McDonald-inspired Naomh Eanna on Saturday
David Redmond and his Oulart-The Ballagh colleagues will meet Ferns St. Aidan's next in the Pettitt's SHC after overcoming the Conor McDonald-inspired Naomh Eanna on Saturday

Two intriguing games have been thrown up in the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship semi-finals, with reigning champions Oulart-The Ballagh pitted against Ferns St. Aidan's.

There is something for everyone as double-chasing Glynn-Barntown have been paired with Cloughbawn, a side that still could emerge as the surprise packets of the title race.

Could it really happen? Can Ferns shock the titleholders, having lost their final group game to Buffers Alley, struggling with injuries, but still showing enough fighting qualities to shock St. Martin's with a last-gasp goal in the quarter-final?

Oulart-The Ballagh will hear plenty of patronising talk between now and the semi-final about their ability to hold on to the Dr. Bob Bowe Cup, but they have been showing a good mental attitude right through the campaign having maintained their one hundred per cent record.

Having said that, Cloughbawn and Naomh Eanna apart, they have not been seriously tested.

Ferns will be praised for their heroics against St. Martin's and their changed pattern of hurling. Given their injury problems, they took the game on man to man, and it was this new-found direct style which eventually got them over the line.

Trainer Mick Laffan seems to have got it right but their games with Midleton and coaching sessions under Jerry Wallace brought rich dividends.

While Ferns may have gone back to basics, Frank Flannery and his Oulart-The Ballagh charges are meeting the required demands to cope with the opposition so far, particularly with their timed substitutions which played a key role in their defeat of Naomh Eanna.

It means that Flannery is enhancing his Wexford managerial prospects with each passing game.

Not for the first time a club is left in the running for the Senior double, with underdogs Glynn-Barntown coming up against Cloughbawn in the second semi-final.

Based on their hurling tradition, Cloughbawn are a side capable of still providing a shock but they will need to play with greater composure and power when this game comes around.

Seeing off Cloughbawn is not beyond the powers of Glynn-Barntown who are in the last four for the third year running, but they will need to unveil a superior forward strategy, an area where they have struggled in the majority of games to date.

Meanwhile, the power of Wexford hurling could yet be seen in a lower grade following the coming together of neighbours and arch-rivals, Oylegate-Glenbrien and Crossabeg-Ballymurn, in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate semi-final.

This is a game where utter defiance will be to the forefront from each club. It will be interesting to see the odds in the days before the game which is sure to attract a huge attendance.

In the second semi-final, Adamstown continue their bid to return to Senior ranks, meeting Craanford.

Semi-final pairings (fixtures were due to be made last night, Monday) - Pettitt's SHC: Oulart-The Ballagh (holders) v Ferns St. Aidan's; Cloughbawn v Glynn-Barntown.

The Courtyard Ferns IHC: Oylegate-Glenbrien v. Crossabeg-Ballymurn; Craanford v. Adamstown.

Top Oil IAHC: Taghmon-Camross v. Fethard; St. James' v. Duffry Rovers.

JHC: Gusserane v. Bannow-Ballymitty; Shelmaliers v. Rapparees.

JAHC: Monageer-Boolavogue v. Kilmore; Cloughbawn v. Glynn-Barntown.

JBHC: Adamstown v. Wexford District winners; Rapparees v. Craanford.

Wexford People

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