Tuesday 17 September 2019

Stars in big bother

O'Regan leads Glynn-Barntown charge

Glynn-Barntown attacker Michael O'Regan considers his options as Ryan Mahon (Starlights) moves in
Glynn-Barntown attacker Michael O'Regan considers his options as Ryan Mahon (Starlights) moves in
Alan Tobin of Starlights holds on to the ball as Rob Tierney (Glynn-Barntown) challenges

Alan Aherne

Starlights will have a dreaded relegation final to contend with in the coming weeks after a late comeback ultimately came up short against Glynn-Barntown in this Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A contest in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

Glynn-Barntown 2-10 Starlights 0-15

The Michael O'Regan-inspired winners were the superior side up to the 54th minute when their second goal stretched their lead to 2-10 to 0-9, but they seemed to think all the hard work was done and were lucky to avoid a sharing of the spoils in the end.

Starlights had sprung a host of fresh legs off the bench and three of the new arrivals contributed four points between them. And they reeled off six scores without reply in the last six minutes plus four of added time, but Glynn-Barntown held on to forge a second win and leave qualification for the last eight in their own hands ahead of their fifth group outing against holders St. James' in a repeat of the 2014 Intermediate decider.

This was a fourth straight loss for Starlights, and the main thorn in their side was Glynn-Barntown full-forward Michael O'Regan who was simply unstoppable in the first-half before setting up both goals after the break.

The supreme accuracy of the big number 14 was evident after a mere 20 seconds, and he accounted for all of their five opening points from play in the first quarter. It was simply a case of give the ball to O'Regan and let his accurate boot do the rest for the wind-aided Killurin crew.

Starlights eventually reacted by bringing wing-forward Kevin Foley back to offer some support to Kevin Courtney, but their rivals instructed Nigel Usher to follow him so for a while the leaders were effectively playing with four in the full-forward line.

Free-taker Darragh Pepper had managed the sole Starlights score in the 13th minute to make it 4-1, with O'Regan responding with his fifth before midfielder Brendan Doyle took some of the scoring pressure off his colleague.

The impressive James Stafford then stretched the lead to 7-1 before a first Starlights point from play by captain Jason Russell in the 20th minute was followed by another converted Pepper free.

However, an O'Regan free and a second score from Stafford left Glynn-Barntown ahead by 0-9 to 0-3 at the break, and the simple question was would Starlights - who had won the toss - be able to do better with the wind in their favour?

And while the Enniscorthy side did outscore their rivals by 0-12 to 2-1 on the re-start, the problem was that they left it just a little too late to really find their groove.

Ricky Fox kicked a neat point via the outside of his right boot inside 90 seconds before O'Regan responded from a free, and nine scoreless minutes followed before Fox narrowed the gap.

Sixty seconds later Glynn-Barntown pounced for a key score as O'Regan set up Nigel Usher whose low shot squirmed under the body of netminder Lee Murphy for a goal (1-10 to 0-5).

It was a big setback for Starlights but they responded well with four points on the trot from Pa Doyle, Ben Edwards, Dillon Redmond and Alan Tobin.

Just as the momentum was building though, Glynn-Barntown broke upfield towards the Clonard end, with Nigel Usher and Michael O'Regan combining to play substitute Craig Doyle in for an ultimately decisive second goal.

The value of that score was fully underlined when the final whistle sounded ten minutes later as a spirited Starlights had pulled back points from Jack Kelly, Alan Tobin, Ryan Mahon, Ricky Fox (two frees) and Darragh Pepper (free) to leave them just one adrift in a game featuring no fewer than 57 frees, 32 to the losers.

Glynn-Barntown: Luke Rafter; Stephen Lyne, Rob Tierney, Pádraig Donnelly; James Stafford (0-2), John Leacy, Nigel Usher (1-0); Michael Doyle (capt.), Brendan Doyle (0-1); Rioghan Crosbie, Alan Cowman, Matthew Joyce; Barry Doyle, Michael O'Regan (0-7, 2 frees), Robert Dempsey. Subs. - Craig Doyle (1-0) for Joyce (45), Jack Fenlon for Lyne (49), Kevin Mahoney for Barry Doyle (53), Eoin Raftery for Tierney, inj. (56), Ian Moran for Dempsey (59).

Starlights: Lee Murphy; Mel Doyle, Kevin Courtney, Rory O'Connor; Ben Edwards (0-1), Jack Kelly (0-1), Dillon Redmond (0-1); Liam Ryan, Jason Russell (capt., 0-1); Kevin Foley, Tommy Foley, Ricky Fox (0-4, 3 frees); Darragh Pepper (0-3 frees), Eamonn Furlong, Tomás Mahon. Subs. - Ryan Mahon (0-1) for T. Foley (37), Alan Tobin (0-2) for Furlong (40), Pa Doyle (0-1) for Russell (41), Conor Ronan for O'Connor (42), Anthony Roche for T. Mahon (46).

Referee: Fintan O'Reilly (Kilmore).

Wexford People