First Minor defeat for boys in blue
Hosts Rathnure overcame a four-point deficit with eight minutes remaining to end Oylegate-Glenbrien's unbeaten run in the Wexford People Coiste na nOg Minor hurling Premier championship on Wednesday.
Rathnure 5-14 Oylegate -G'Brien 3-10
The visitors came into the game with three wins on the bounce to start the season including an impressive first round victory over St. Martin's. With six points they still hold the joint lead in the table with their conquerors, as well as the Piercestown/Murrintown side.
Rathnure, who won the Division 2 title two years ago at Under-16 level, had come into the game with an away loss to Taghmon-Camross in their previous outing, two months earlier, but they showed few ill-effects as they stormed away in the final few minutes.
While replacement Conor Doyle wasn't at fault for any of the goals, the disruption of losing Eddie Mernagh between the posts with 15 minutes remaining, with his side leading by 2-10 to 1-9, can't have done Oylegate-Glenbrien any favours.
It had been a competitive first-half but gave no indication of the goal-fest that was to follow in the second period. The sides were level (0-8 each) at the break with James Tobin (five) and Ciarán O'Connor (three) on target for Rathnure, while Seamus Casey (five), Doyle (two) and Damien Reck replied for Oylegate-Glenbrien.
The boys in blue made a break for it early in the second-half with Casey finding the net from Fiachra Hourihane's pass and Shane Reck adding a second after a powerful run through the heart of the hosts' rearguard.
With points from O'Connor added in, Rathnure got within a point when Peter Farrell's long ball found its way to hat-trick hero Rory Higgins and he found the net.
When substitute Mike Kelly's point-blank effort was brilliantly saved by Farrell, Hourihane was on hand to turn in the rebound. However, leading by 3-9 to 1-11 with twelve minutes to go, the visitors would only add one further point in the time remaining.
Almost out of nowhere Brian Quigley ignited the fightback with a superb goal out of nothing from fully 25 yards out. Mere seconds later Higgins added his second major after a long Ciarán O'Connor ball picked him out (3-11 to 3-9).
Higgins completed his treble with a flicked goal after a mis-hit Ciarán O'Connor free dropped short, and Seán O'Connor completed the comeback with a well-taken fifth goal for his side deep into added time.
Rathnure: Peter Farrell; Eoghan Byrne, Denis Maher, Donal McGahan; Cathal O'Connor, Brian Quigley (1-0), Niall Dillon; Eoin Higgins, Thomas Furlong; Rory Higgins (3-2), Seánie Redmond, Ciarán O'Connor (0-7, 3 frees, 1 '65); Paddy Flynn, James Tobin (0-5), Seán O'Connor (1-0). Subs. (not used) - Michael O'Connor, Philip Redmond, Darragh Reddy, Dylan Hogan.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Eddie Mernagh; Lee Kehoe, Kieran Lambert, Joe Foley; Steven Ring, Damien Reck (0-1), Conor Hill; Michael Reck, Shane Reck (1-0); Fiachra Hourihane (1-0), Patrick Cullen, Conor Doyle (0-2); Adam Casey, Seamus Casey (1-7, 0-4 frees), Jack Reck. Subs. - Tom White for A. Casey (31), Mike Kelly for Mernagh, inj. (45), also Pierce Murphy, Cormac Quirke, Adam Shanahan, Evan Kelly, Marc Doyle, Ryan Hill.
Referee: Martin Armstrong (HWH-Bunclody).