Tara Rocks recover to account for Ferns
Having trailed by five points at the interval, Tara Rocks turned in a much-improved second-half display to eventually emerge with a deserved six-point victory over Ferns St. Aidan's in this Junior hurling championship Group B game in Ballygarrett, writes Brendan Furlong.
Tara Rocks 4-11 Ferns St. Aidan's 2-11
It was through the opening 30 minutes that Ferns played their best hurling with Colm Whelan and Peter O'Toole particularly prominent in midfield, while Seán Walsh, having his final outing prior to a tour of duty in the Lebanon, was dominant at centre-back which in turn led to a quality supply of ball to the attack.
After Tomás Owley had pointed the Rocks in front inside two minutes, Ferns bounced right back with three quick points through Eddie Cullen, Pádraig Walsh and Anthony Dwyer.
Approaching the end of the opening quarter, Cormac Whitmore sent a fine ground shot to the net, giving his side a 1-1 to 0-3 lead, but this was to be shortlived as three minutes later Ferns responded with a goal from Paddy O'Leary.
They went on to control the remainder of the half, leaving them with a 1-9 to 1-4 interval lead.
After the sides continued to trade points on the resumption, a 42nd-minute goal from Niall Breen sprang Tara Rocks to life, and with ten minutes remaining they had bolted into a 2-11 to 1-11 lead, with only Eddie Cullen points keeping the opposition in touch.
The game was still very much in the balance entering the closing five minutes, but a goal from substitute Paddy Phelan gave the Rocks some breathing space and left them leading by 3-11 to 1-11.
Almost immediately though, an Andy Cash goal at the opposite end one minute from the finish once again reduced the deficit to three points, but when Joe Bolger found the net on 60 minutes the Rocks secured the points.
It capped a positive start to the championship for the north county side as they had beaten near neighbours Naomh Eanna in their first tie.
This was a reversal for Ferns, but they do have two points on the board from their opening day victory over St. Mary's (Rosslare).
Tara Rocks: Aaron Redmond; Murt Sheehan, Gary Owley, Damien Tobin; Liam Fitzpatrick, Colin Breen, Rhys Owley; Niall Breen (1-1), Mossy Owley (0-1); Gearóid O Súilleabháin, Patrick Fortune, Declan Breen (0-4, 3 frees); Brendan Hobbs (0-3), Joe Bolger (1-2), Cormac Whitmore (1-0). Subs. - Lee Owley for Fortune, Paddy Phelan (1-0) for O Súilleabháin.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Pádraig Dunbar; Peter Nolan, Niall Maguire, Paul Lancaster; Jack O'Hagan, Seán Walsh, Patrick Breen; Colm Whelan, Peter O'Toole; P.J. O'Neill (0-1), Pádraig Walsh (0-1), Eddie Cullen (0-8, 3 frees, 1 '65); Paddy O'Leary (1-0), Niall Byrne, Anthony Dwyer (0-1). Subs. - Andy Cash (1-0) for Breen, Ciarán Doran for Byrne.
Referee: David Owens (Askamore).