TWO CLUBS that share their under-age resources ended up sharing the points in this county junior hurling league tie in Galmoy on Saturday.
Helped by the breeze, Galmoy set the early pace. By the end of the first quarter they led 0-5 to 0-1 thanks to three Phil Russell frees and a point each from Martin Phelan and James Dunne. The hard-working Philly Lonergan posted Windgap’s lone reply.
That all changed in the 18th minute, when Eamonn Hawe was fouled in the small square. Windgap won a penalty, with Niall Doran sending a scorcher to the roof of the net. That looked like sparking Windgap into life but Phil Russell (free) and Martin Phelan extended Galmoy’s lead.
Niall Doran kept Windgap in touch with another free, while minor player Sean Foley reduced the margin to the minimum with a fine point from the right wing. Noel Doherty then, with his hand, doubled on a long delivery from Michael Brennan to cleverly put the sliotar over the bar, but referee Eugene Ryan disallowed the score.
Philly Lonergan was edging his midfield battle on Phil Russell but when Russell switched over to the other wing, he quickly popped over two important points - Windgap reacted by assigning Sean Foley to detail the dangerous Russell.
Windgap had a few goal chances at the other end but Liam Drennan was equal to the task, his clearances regularly landing on his own full-forward line. With time running out Niall Doran pointed another Windgap free but within a minute Russell shot a similar score to leave Galmoy three to the good at half-time (0-10 to 1-4).
Barely a minute into the new half, a fresh air shot from Eamonn Corcoran resulted in a foul on Windgap’s Eoin Cody 40 metres from the Galmoy goal. Niall Doran’s low trajectory shot went all the way to the Galmoy net to level the game.
Suddenly, Windgap took heart. Cody then pointed the southerners into the lead. A minute later Phil Russell went low from a close range free, but his shot was blocked. James Dunne levelled affairs from the rebound before Phil Brennan put Galmoy ahead again with a trademark left handed point. The game had now become a closely-fought encounter with every sliotar fiercely contested in the true tradition of two proud clubs. Conor Lonergan restored parity once more with Russell replying from a placed ball following a foul on Martin Phelan. Eamonn Hawe pointed straight off the puck-out at the other end and two Niall Doran frees put Windgap ahead (2-9 to 0-13) at the three-quarter mark.
When Noel Doherty fielded a huge Drennan delivery he set up Phil Russell for a good point. Two minutes later the same two players again combined with Russell turning provider this time for Doherty to level the game once again.
It was Galmoy’s turn now to push on and try to seal the game. A foul on Michael Brennan gave Russell another free and a good move between Niall Doherty and Stephen Delaney set Noel Doherty up for what seemed the decisive score as Galmoy now led by two points.
But Windgap responded in style and put huge pressure on the home defence. It yielded three late frees which Niall Doran easily pointed. With two minutes of injury-time elapsed Windgap seemed to have done enough.
There was one more twist, however. Michael Brennan won a free in his own half but when Davy Power expressed his feelings to the referee, the sliotar was moved up. Now in scoring range, Phil Russell pointed confidently to give his side a share of the spoils.
Michael Brennan was Galmoy’s best player. He was superb throughout and received most support from Phil Russell, Liam Drennan, Brendan Phelan and Niall Doherty. For Windgap, Matthew Enright was strong all through at centre-back. Niall Doran was deadly from placed balls, with Philly Lonergan and Noel Power also working hard.
Galmoy - Liam Drennan, Jason Stanley, Brendan Phelan, Michael Harte, Eamonn Corcoran, Niall Doherty, Michael Brennan, Phil Russell (0-11, 0-8 frees), James Dunne (0-2), Donnacha Gray, Martin Phelan (0-2), Thomas Phelan (Bawn), Phil Brennan (0-1), Stephen Delaney, Noel Doherty (0-2). Sub: Thomas Corcoran for Gray.
Windgap - James Murray, Vincent Landy, Noel Power, James Mackey, Peter Landy, Matthew Enright, Davy Power, Cian Ryan, Philly Lonergan (0-1), Sean Foley (0-1), Conor Lonergan (0-1), Eoin Cody (0-1), Tommy Lonergan, Niall Doran (2-7 frees), Eamonn Hawe (0-1). Sub: Tommy Fleming for Ryan.
Referee - Eugene Ryan (Fenians).