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Saturday 25 November 2017

Stars shine after break

Starlights 2-14 Glynn-Barntown 4-5

Dean Goodison

Rory O'Connor (Starlights) is chased by John Leacy and Craig Doyle
Rory O'Connor (Starlights) is chased by John Leacy and Craig Doyle

Starlights got their Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A campaign back on track with a superb display to deservedly beat 2016 county finalists Glynn-Barntown in St. Patrick's Park on Friday.

The Enniscorthy town side showed great resilience when battling back to within a point against Shelmaliers just seven days earlier, and they were just as dogged when registering 1-11 in the second-half of this tie to take a valuable two points.

Maybe the most impressive aspect of Starlights' game was their ability to disregard the concession of goals. Time and again allowing majors could have been fatal, but the Bellefield boys really wanted this victory and their determination to get it was unrelenting.

After getting back into the game with their pace on the wings against the Shels, Starlights did a lot of their best work cutting through the centre in this contest. Liam Ryan, Nick Doyle, Richie Farrell and Dillon Redmond all had their moments, but Kevin Foley was the stand-out performer.

It wasn't just with the ball in hand that Foley excelled, it was every aspect of his game. His running off the ball pulled holes out of a shell-shocked Glynn-Barntown rearguard, and his build-up play was excellent from the off; it really was a coming-of-age showing.

Good chances came and went at both ends as the 0-2 each scoreline after 20 minutes did little to suggest the drama that was to follow. When Foley was pulled down in the 21st minute, Dillon Redmond converted the first penalty - there would be others.

Mark Fanning made a nuisance of himself at full-forward and it was his pass that sent Michael O'Regan away for a calmly-taken goal at the other end two minutes later. When Fanning fired home a rebound to his own saved penalty after RobertDempsey was fouled, Glynn-Barntown had forged a 2-3 to 1-3 half-time lead.

Foley was fouled again in 39th minute and Redmond converted another spot-kick to give Starlights a 2-5 to 2-3 lead.

The advantage lasted less than two minutes as Fanning responded in kind after he was dragged down following a fantastic pass by Rob Tierney to pick him out close to goal.

After a Redmond brace put his side 2-7 to 3-3 ahead, Glynn-Barntown were hit with the second of three major blows.

On the bumpy re-laid pitch, Michael O'Regan suffered a non-contact ankle injury that forced him off, adding to the blow of losing John Leacy at the interval.

Still, when Dempsey fired home after a quickly-taken free sent him clear, the Killurin side were in a winning position with nine minutes remaining (4-4 to 2-8).

The final, killer blow came when Brendan Doyle picked up his second yellow card.

Starlights had no problems playing against 14 men. They levelled with a Brendan Kearney free and then scored four of the last five points, with Darragh Pepper (two), Foley and Redmond all on target to get the Enniscorthy men back in quarter-final contention.

Starlights: Pa Doyle; Rory O'Connor, Tom Wall (capt.), Mel Doyle; Jack Kelly, Liam Ryan, Anthony Roche; Nick Doyle, Richie Farrell; Alan Tobin (0-1), Kevin Foley (0-3), Dillon Redmond (2-4, 2-0 pens., 0-2 frees); Ryan Mahon, Brendan Kearney (0-4 frees), Darragh Pepper (0-2). Sub. - Conor Farrell for R. Mahon, temp. (9-12).

Glynn-Barntown: Matt Doyle; Stephen Lyne, Robert Tierney, Jack Fenlon; Nigel Usher (0-1), John Leacy, Alan Cowman; Michael Doyle (capt.), Brendan Doyle; Rowan White, Michael O'Regan (1-0), James Stafford; Robert Dempsey (1-1), Mark Fanning (2-2, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Craig Doyle. Subs. - Kevin Mahoney for Leacy, inj. (31), Rioghan Crosbie for White (44), Barry Doyle (0-1) for O'Regan, inj. (46), Fionn Cooney for Stafford (53).

Referee: Fintan O'Reilly (Kilmore).

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