Tuesday 23 January 2018

Saints pip 14-man Mellows

Dean Goodison

St. James' snagged an unconvincing win with three points in the final four minutes against 14-man Liam Mellows in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group A at St. Patrick's Park on Sunday.

St. James' 0-13 Liam Mellows 1-9

The Coolgreany side played the whole of the second-half a man light after Aaron Condren picked up a straight red card just before the interval and were hanging on grimly until St. James' late salvo.

There was nothing between the sides in the early stages as four Brendan Halpin frees were matched at the other end by a brace from Matthew O'Hanlon and points from Andrew Walsh and Robbie Barron.

After Shane Murphy and Yusuf Frih exchanged points, Liam Mellows grabbed the game's only goal when a Halpin line ball was sucked in by Richard Farrell before the powerful attacker turned and smashed past John McDonald.

Further scores from Frih, Gavin Stamp and Halpin followed as the Gorey District side made the most of the light breeze at their backs. However, moments after Murphy pulled a point back, Condren got his marching orders.

With five points between the teams at the interval (1-8 to 0-6), they swapped frees early in the second period. However, that 34th-minute Halpin dead ball would be his side's final score of the contest.

The comeback was slow progress for Ramsgrange as they closed to within three at the end of the third quarter following minors from Barron and Murphy (1-9 to 0-9). When Murphy nailed his fifth score in the 50th minute, the gap was down to two.

Halpin missed three tricky frees in a row as the second-half progressed and that misfortune would ultimately cost his side. Kevin O'Grady cut the gap to one in the 56th minute before O'Hanlon levelled the tie.

With their tails up and their opponents wilting, St. James' pressed on and grabbed the winner in the 59th minute when Robbie Barron burst through the middle to score. The win leaves the victors with three points from their two games and in good position to reach the quarter-finals.

St. James': John McDonald; Brian Molloy, Jason Barron, Tomás Walsh; Daniel Keating, Liam Murphy, David Doyle; Mark Molloy (capt.), Robbie Barron (0-3); Alan Walsh, Matthew O'Hanlon (0-3), Andrew Walsh (0-1); Graeme Molloy, Shane Murphy (0-5, 4 frees), Jack O'Brien. Subs. - Paul Barron for L. Murphy (31), Kevin O'Grady (0-1) for O'Brien (48), Mark Myler for T. Walsh (56).

Liam Mellows: Seán Roche; Stephen Maloney (capt.), Conor Cleary Aaron Condren; Ian Reeves, Danny Gardiner, Joe Gardiner; Colin Kennedy, Risteárd Kinsella; Brendan Halpin (0-6 frees), Richard Farrell (1-0), Yusuf Frih (0-2); Conor Carty, Colm Morris, Gavin Stamp (0-1).

Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).

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