Thursday 23 November 2017

Oylegate make a tame exit

Meath men reverse outcome from 2012 with fine show

Alan Aherne

Meath Senior three-in-a-row winners Kiltale maintained their recent dominance over Wexford sides with this most emphatic of victories over a very disappointing Oylegate-Glenbrien outfit in the AIB Leinster Club Intermediate hurling championship quarter-final at the superb St. Loman's Park, Trim, venue on Saturday.

Kiltale (Meath) 2-24 Oylegate-Glenbrien 2-8

Given how this one-sided contest unfolded, it's hard to credit that the boys in blue prevailed by two points (3-12 to 2-13) when the teams last met in Navan four years ago.

However, Kiltale have improved beyond all measure since slipping up in their local championship the following year.

They recently completed a three-in-a-row, and Trim has proved a happy hunting ground for them as they beat Shamrocks there by 3-15 to 1-10 in 2014, followed by a win over Naomh Eanna at the same venue twelve months ago (2-13 to 1-13).

Indeed, they have contested the last two Leinster finals, only to be foiled by Kilkenny sides Mullinavat and Bennettsbridge by margins of three and four points respectively. Their acid test comes next therefore, as they will host Carrickshock in the semi-final on Saturday week.

Oylegate-Glenbrien knew they were in for a tough time of it from the off as Kiltale picked off three early points from the prolific Ross Ryan and Jack Regan (two, one free), two young men with plenty of inter-county experience.

And it proved a false dawn when the visitors' first attack of note ended with the equalising goal in the seventh minute.

Damien Reck delivered a handpass from the left corner to Conor Heffernan who beat Meath Senior netminder Shane McGann with a composed finish.

Kiltale replied within a matter of 60 seconds though, as the low-lying sun deceived Oylegate-Glenbrien goalkeeper John Foley and Peter Durnin's speculative strike from the right ended up in the net (1-3 to 1-0).

The locals built steadily on their supremacy with unanswered points from Jack Regan (free), Ross Ryan, Durnin and captain Mark O'Sullivan, with the opposition unable to match their pace and drive.

Seamus Casey missed a handy free but then redeemed himself with Oylegate-Glenbrien's first point after he latched on to a rare stray Kiltale clearance (1-7 to 1-1).

Podge Doran was very well contained until near the end, even though his first direct opponent, David Donoghue, was forced off with a shoulder injury in the 28th minute.

The full-forward did kick one attempt across goal for the last of his side's seven first-half wides midway through the second quarter, and all they could muster before the break was a long-range point from Jim White who later departed through injury.

Meanwhile, Kiltale were capable of picking off points from all areas, with support players arriving at pace and handpasses given to men in full flight who duly hit the target.

Further points from Jack Regan (three frees) and outstanding midfielder Anthony Forde left them clear by 1-11 to 1-2 at the interval and, although there was plenty of time left, Kiltale were simply playing too well to be caught.

Seamus Casey may have landed the first point on the re-start from a '65, after Conor Heffernan came close to adding a second goal, but the Meath men responded emphatically with a burst of 1-4 in eight minutes.

Wing-forwards James Kelly (two) and Mark O'Sullivan really came into their own with fine points, and Jack Regan chipped in too before the sides experienced contrasting fortunes in front of the posts.

Kiltale wing-back Stephen Donoghue cleared a Conor Heffernan pull off the line before O'Sullivan and Anthony Forde combined to pick out Ross Ryan for a brilliant goal after a throw-in which widened the gap to 2-15 to 1-3.

Oylegate-Glenbrien did manage to cancel that score immediately, as Podge Doran won a Robert O'Connor delivery and rattled the roof of the net.

It was never going to alter the end result though, as Regan posted a superb point from the left sideline before substitute Conor Doyle responded (2-16 to 2-4).

A Podge Doran shot was given as a point by a linesman after dithering by the umpires, but Oylegate-Glenbrien were left chasing shadows as Kiltale added six more in eight minutes from James Kelly, Mark O'Sullivan, Kelly again, substitute Kevin Ryan, Peter Durnin (free) and Ross Ryan.

Podge Doran caught a Mark Kavanagh delivery in that period but his one-handed strike under pressure was blocked and Kiltale dealt with the threat.

And although Conor Heffernan, Jamie Reck and Kieran Lambert managed consolation points, Doran was denied another goal by a good Shane McGann save while Anthony Forde and Peter Durnin (free) left a massive 16 points between them at the end.

Sadly, it was an accurate reflection of a complete mis-match, but Kiltale's overall display had to be admired.

Oylegate-Glenbrien: John Foley; Bryan McCormack, Michael Heffernan, Fergus Heffernan; Fergal Doran, Jim White (0-1), Shane Reck; Damien Reck, Mark Kavanagh; Robert O'Connor, Jamie Reck (0-1), Seamus Casey (0-2, 1 '65); Conor Heffernan (1-1), Podge Doran (capt., 1-1), Ciarán Hourihane. Subs. - Conor Doyle (0-1) for White, inj. (39), Barry Dunne for O'Connor (42), Pa Cullen for Hourihane (36), Kieran Lambert (0-1) for Casey, inj. (52), Ciarán Dagger for F. Doran (59).

Kiltale: Shane McGann; Iarla Hughes, David Donoghue, Ciarán Ennis; Stephen Donoghue, Ronan Ryan, Eamon Ryan; Anthony Forde (0-2), Pádraig Kelly; Mark O'Sullivan (capt., 0-3), Cathal McCabe, James Kelly (0-4); Peter Durnin (1-3, 0-2 frees), Jack Regan (0-8, 5 frees), Ross Ryan (1-3). Subs. - Pádraig Donoghue for D. Donoghue, inj. (28), Kevin Ryan (0-1) for P. Kelly (44), Fearghal McCabe for Regan (48), Chris Reilly for Ennis (51), Shane Lenehan for J. Kelly (54).

Referee: Michael O'Sullivan (Kilkenny).

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