Shamrocks sweep to a most impressive victory
Shamrocks 5-12 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 1-8
Shamrocks produced a hurling masterclass in the second-half to simply blow Rathgarogue-Cushinstown away in Group B of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate championship in O'Kennedy Park in New Ross on Sunday.
John O'Connor shone as brightly as the blistering sun overhead during that 30 minutes of complete supremacy for the Enniscorthy outfit, helping himself to a superb hat-trick of goals.
When the sides switched ends tied at 1-6 apiece a real contest looked to be on the cards, but it was one-way traffic after the interval, with Shamrocks adding 4-6 to their tally while their opponents could only muster two points.
Admittedly the warning signs were there in the first-half and Shamrocks would have been disappointed to go in level at the break, given the balance of play, but few would have predicted the complete capitulation of the New Ross District side after the interval.
The men in the green and white hoops couldn't have dreamt of a better start, with Harry Goff splitting the posts from the left wing and Ronan Gahan bursting through and burying the ball in the net inside 45 seconds.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown managed to gain a foothold with Daire Bolger (free) and Matthew Cody firing over either side of a John O'Connor point.
Brandon O'Connor stretched the lead back out to four on twelve minutes but, having looked second best for the opening quarter, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown suddenly sprang to life with a scoring spurt to take the lead by the 22nd minute.
Liam O'Shea got the ball rolling with a long-range point, Bernard Furlong added another, and they got their noses in front when Daniel Martin Carroll touched the ball to the net to put his side ahead for the first and only time (1-4 to 1-3).
Shamrocks would have felt slightly deflated when turning around to shoot into the scoreboard end deadlocked at 1-6 each, but any sense of frustration was quickly swept away.
As they had in the first-half, they put 1-1 on the board in the opening minute, with a Harry Goff point quickly followed by a John O'Connor goal, when he collected a pass from Ronan Gahan and planted the ball in the corner of the net.
Shamrocks then put the game to bed with a devastating purple patch, scoring three goals in as many minutes.
In the 42nd minute Jack Moorehouse collected a booming delivery from goalkeeper Jamie Dagg and buried it to the onion sack, and seconds later the green flag was waving again.
This time Moorehouse was the provider, teeing up John O'Connor, who calmly stroked the ball beyond Colin Whelan.
A minute later O'Connor was celebrating again, finishing off a good move involving Moorehouse and Harry Goff to put Shamrocks 5-8 to 1-6 ahead.
A brace of points from Bob Jacob stretched the advantage further, and it wasn't until the 55th minute that Jason Dunne finally stopped the rot for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown with their first point of the half.
Matthew Cody followed it up with a pointed free but Mick Weafer and Harry Goff replied for Shamrocks to add further gloss to their handsome victory.
On this evidence, the Enniscorthy side have a lot of potential.
Shamrocks: Jamie Dagg; Philip Freeman, Michael Weafer (0-1), Barry Dobbs; Anthony Wallace, George Jacob, Darragh McDonald; Bob Jacob (0-4, 2 frees), Cyril Thorpe; Brandon O'Connor (0-2), Harry Goff (0-3), Ronan Gahan (1-0); John O'Connor (3-2), John Thorpe, Maurice Casey. Subs. - Podge Doyle for Freeman, Jack Moorehouse (1-0) for J. Thorpe.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Colin Whelan; Colm Murphy, Peadar Cody, Ollie Bolger; Eoghan Whelan, Bryan Cody, Liam O'Shea (0-1); Robert Murphy, Peter Asple; Daire Bolger (0-2, 1 free), Bernard Furlong (0-1), Matthew Cody (0-2, 1 free), Aaron Ryan (0-1), Daniel Martin Carroll (1-0), Jason Dunne (0-1). Sub. - Ricky McGrath for E. Whelan.
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).