Rapps rule in poor weather
In horrid conditions, Rapparees forged a victory over a gallant Craanford outfit to take the New Ross Standard Under-14 hurling Division 2 shield in St. Patrick's Park.
Rapparees 2-8 Craanford 2-4
The Bellefield boys needed all their guile and class to get the better of Gorey District opponents who performed superbly in the driving ran. It's a game that could really have went either way but late points from Matt Kinnaird and Jack Walsh ensured the plaque made the short trip across town.
It was a franetic match, played at a great pace from the off. Both sides went out to attack and get their scores but the slippery underfoot conditions certainly took something away from the quality of striking that both are capable of producing.
That said, the best of the weather was in the early stages and during that time, Rapparees built an early advantage. Captain fantastic Jack Kirwan picked off the first three points, including a fine effort from play on the right wing.
When Michael McGrath added his first score, after a 30-metre dash and a fine finish, Rapparees had a 0-4 to nil lead.
However, Craanford started to find their feet and, shortly after Regan Treacy did well to bat Jack Fleming's shot away, Pat Doyle claimed possession and pointed.
Tracey saved again from Pádraig Donohue a couple of minutes later before a period of frantic hurling and courageous defending followed. It only ended when McGrath's long-range free went all the way to the Craanford net in the 23rd minute.
Sensing blood, Rapparees added another long-range goal moments later through Jack Kirwan and suddenly they led by 2-4 to 0-1. Yet Craanford hit back immediately with a classy Donohue goal from Pádraig Tobin's feed and followed it with a Jack Fleming minor.
Leading by 2-4 to 1-2 at the break, Rapparees set about padding their advantage in the second period. Two Kirwan frees certainly helped as the first ten minutes passed without too many nervous moments for the leaders.
Craanford were always going to have a spell and it came between the 37th and 42nd minutes. Pat Doyle's pull to the net after great work by Joseph Conroy started the fightback, and when the major provider added two frees himself it was game on (2-6 to 2-4).
Yet the Enniscorthy town side are made of stern stuff and they soon tightened up in defence. They didn't concede again but did add late points from Kinnaird, and a superb Jack Walsh effort, to run out four-point winners.
Rapparees: Regan Tracey; Tommy McVeigh, Mikey McVeigh, Seán Leacy; Matt Kinnaird (0-1 free), Ronan Kervick, Bill Peare; Michael McGrath (1-1, 1-0 free), Stephen San Augustin; Oisín Pepper, Jack Kirwan (capt., 1-5, 0-4 frees), Jack Walsh (0-1); Jeff Buckley, Adam Sheridan, Christopher O'Leary. Subs. - Jack Kehoe for Leacy (35), Jordan Sharlott for Buckley (40), Bill Collins for O'Leary (44), also Darragh Doyle, Shane Williams, Lee O'Connor, Scott Mitchell, Niall Kehoe.
Craanford: Dean Wadding; James Doyle, Aidan Kavanagh, Maurice Tobin; Kevin Hyland, Aodán Whitty, Brendan Greene; Joseph Conroy (0-2 frees), Patrick Kavanagh; Brendan Tobin, Pádraig Tobin, Jack Fleming (0-1); Pádraig Donohue (1-0), Pat Doyle (1-1), Ciarán Lynch-Doyle. Subs. - Ciarán McLoughlin for Lynch-Doyle (35), also Darragh Montague, Seán Doyle, Thomas Tobin.
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).