Rathnure run riot
Rathnure 4-17 Hollow Rovers 0-12
Rathnure continued their impressive form in Roinn 1 of the Wexford People Minor hurling championship on Monday of last week, powering past a gutsy Hollow Rovers in Farmleigh.
Eight points is as close as anyone has got to the Blackstairs boys so far this season. While the Marshalstown-Castledockrell/Duffry Rovers combination might have been a bit further back than that, the scoreline certainly doesn't tell the whole story.
The hosts, who were missing injured county Minor Diarmuid Doyle, were right in the game coming up to half-time. Arguably they should have actually been in the lead, with Kyle Martin making a couple of fine saves, including a stunning diving stop from Cian Fitzhenry.
Without Doyle as a foil, much of the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Fitzhenry but he didn't let it weigh heavy, as the Duffry man was excellent. Indeed, most of his side's points involved him in some way, either as catalyst or scorer.
While he got help, with Jack Bates particularly impressive, Hollow Rovers simply didn't possess the depth that Rathnure boasted. It's difficult to pick out individuals in this young team with so much quality spread throughout, but Seán O'Connor was exceptional.
Yet it was the hosts who started in the ascendancy. Fitzhenry scorched away and drilled in a rocket that Martin tipped away at full stretch. Then, moments later he cut in from the left and fizzed a low bullet that the Rathnure 'keeper again stopped.
As the game settled down Hollow were restricted to a string of Fitzhenry dead-balls and a classy Conor Hennessy point. The play was a little more dynamic at the other end, where three O'Connors, Seán (four), Michael and Cathal, as well as Micheál Martin and Ben Ronan were on target.
Trailing by 0-8 to 0-6 in first-half added-time, Hollow Rovers were dealt a hammer blow when Seán O'Connor's '65 found the net. Michael Morris and A.J. Redmond knocked over the pick of the scores in the third quarter, with Rathnure still ahead, by 1-14 to 0-9, as the game entered the final 15.
That's when the pressure told. O'Connor netted from a superb Owen Lennon pass, Charlie Tector hared 40 yards to score a fantastic solo goal, and substitute David Dunphy also rattled the net to see Rathnure well clear.
Conor Coleman and Thomas Lambert picked off late scores for Hollow Rovers, who gallantly gave up a few other easy points to go for goals. However, the visitors defended impeccably under pressure to keep a clean sheet and take the win in style.
Rathnure: Kyle Martin; Stephen Martin, Philip Redmond, Ciarán Maher; Cameron O'Leary, Cathal O'Connor (0-2), Jordan Richardson; Michael O'Connor (0-1), Dylan Hogan; Charlie Tector (1-0), Micheál Martin (0-2), A.J. Redmond (0-1); Seán O'Connor (2-9, 0-6 frees, 1-0 '65), Ben Ronan (0-2), Owen Lennon. Subs. - David Dunphy (1-0) for Lennon (53), Seán Moran for Tector (55), also Brendan Foley, Adam Carty, Brian O'Neill.
Hollow Rovers: Mark Quigley; Alan Doyle, Erik Nolan, Ken Doyle; Jack Bates, John Dunne, Mark Morris; Michael Morris (0-1), Barry Doyle; Seamus Doyle, Conor Coleman (0-1 free), Seán McLoughlin; Barry Redmond, Conor Hennessy (0-2), Cian Fitzhenry (0-7, 3 frees, 2 '65s). Subs. - Thomas Lambert (0-1) for Redmond (44), also Cian Cowman, Jack Foley.
Referee: John O'Loughlin (Monageer-Boolavogue).