Goal-den Murphy hands Glen the spoils

Glenmore 4-8

Glenmore 4-8

St Lachtain’s 0-14

GLENMORE moved closer to securing safety status, not to mention gaining an automatic championship quarter-final spot and ending as group winners after Eoin Murphy’s hat-trick proved decisive in beating an understrength St Lachtain’s at a showery Thomastown on Friday.

It was a deserved victory for the South Kilkenny men who displayed the greater hunger inspired by a magnificent defence.

Fergal Freyne was imperious at full-back and never gave an inch, while the experience of Mark Phelan and Richie Mullally along with Michael and John Cody all performed solidly as they withstood the pressure from the opposition.

St Lachtain’s best player Bill Beckett opened the scoring with a great point from 70 yards from play after just 17 seconds, then exchanged frees with Murphy before pointing from play again in the fourth minute.

The scoring run continued through Jimmy Meagher and a Murphy 65, but Glenmore were in front courtesy of a massive slice of good fortune in the seventh minute.

Centre-back John Cody gathered possession on his own 70-yard line and sent a long range effort towards goal. Thomas Delaney gathered the sliotar, but it slipped through his fingertips – the Glen were ahead.

Caught fire

Denis Lennon pointed the leveller in the 11th minute, before Eoin Murphy caught fire.

Murphy found himself in space and unmarked, before he unleashed a low shot. Delaney got a piece of the ball, but couldn’t keep it out (2-2 to 0-5).

The Aylwards, Ger and Mark, added points to stretch the Glenmore initiative, but they weren’t to score for the next 19 minutes as a few stoppages occurred. This included Glenmore having to change their goalkeeper as Paul Fitzgerald went off and Sean Kirwan deputised.

St Lachtain’s enjoyed a spell of possession, but a point from play by the impressive Barry Hughes in the 25th minute was their only reward.

As it was, Glenmore finished the half with an injury-time blitz of 1-2.

Murphy’s second goal came in the 32nd minute when a long puck-out from sub-keeper Kirwan was laid off by Ger Aylward, allowing Murphy to hammer home his shot with an emphatic finish.

With Darren and Ger Aylward adding points, all of a sudden Glenmore held a nine-point lead at the interval (3-6 to 0-6).

Victory was effectively sealed four minutes into the restart when a low shot driven in by Shane Doherty led to a mix-up in the St Lachtain’s goal. Enter Murphy, who was on hand to make the space and sweep home a low shot to stretch the lead to a dozen (4-7 to 0-7).

To their credit Lachtain’s, the 2009 intermediate champions, battled away. They never gave in, but the margin was too big a gap to close.

They did outscore Glenmore by 0-7 to 0-1 from the 35th minute onwards as Beckett (four frees), Denis Lennon, Jimmy Meagher and Barry Hughes all found their range, but the gap was too big to bridge.

SCORERS: Glenmore – Eoin Murphy (3-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65); John Cody (1-0); Ger Aylward (0-2); Darren Aylward, Mark Aylward (0-1 each). St Lachtain’s – Bill Beckett (0-7, 0-5 frees); Barry Hughes, Jimmy Meagher, Denis Lennon (0-2 each); Brian Kennedy (0-1).

Glenmore – P. Fitzgerald, Mark Phelan, F. Freyne, M. Cody, P. Mullally, J. Cody, R. Mullally, D. Aylward, C. Foran, G. Aylward, C. Foran, Michael Phelan, M. Aylward, E. Murphy, S. Doherty. Subs: S. Kirwan, E. Vereker.

St Lachtain’s – T. Delaney, M. Cormack, M. Kavanagh, T. Flynn, S. Hayes, B. Kennedy, P. Mullan, M. Farrell, B. Hughes, N. Hickey, D. Brennan, B. Beckett, J. Meagher, S. McGree, D. Lennon. Subs: N. Phelan, L. Hickey, S. Donnelly.

Referee – E. Mansfield (Cloneen).