St LACHTAIN’S (Freshford) got the under-21 Roinn A hurling championship off to a winning start when they held out against Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) in a cracking quarter-final at bitterly cold Jenkinstown on Saturday, winning by 2-16 to 4-6.
With less than 10 minutes left Lachtain’s seemed to have the game wrapped up. They led by nine points, but ’Comer put in a storming finish and put the winners defence under tremendous pressure. The deficit was reduced to three points before Shane Donnelly landed the insurance point in the third minute of injury-time.
Erin’s Own had the assistance of the stiff breeze which blew into the scoreboard end in the opening half. It was Freshford who laid down an early marker and landed three points courtesy of Stephen Farrell (2) and James Maher. In the sixth minute Erin’s Own got a lucky break when a shot came back off the upright and Andrew Carron was on hand to round his marker and crashed the ball into the net.
Stephen Farrell edged the winners ahead with a pointed free, and then followed a scoreless spell of 12 minutes before Farrell again took a big hand in proceedings when he fielded a centre and rifle to the net. This left Lachtain’s ahead by 1- 4 to 1- 0 with 20 minutes gone.
A Shane Donnelly pointed free was followed by ’Comer points by Ciaran Brennan and Eoin Brennan before Liam Hickey and Declan Dunne exchanged pointed frees. These exchanges left the interval score at St Lachtain’s 1– 6, Erin’s Own 1– 3.
When the winners returned for the new half they had to line out without chief marksman Farrell, who was hampered by a groin injury. Within two minutes Eoin Meally landed an opportunist goal and tied the game up. Three unanswered Lachtain’s points were followed by a Shane Donnelly goal to edge his side six points clear.
Declan Dunne pointed two frees to keep Erin’s Own in touch before Brian Kennedy replied with a pointed free. Midway through the half the ’Comer side let a great opportunity slip to reduce the lead when one of their forwards gained possession inside the Freshford defence. However, his attempted shot for goal was sliced. Following this let off Lachtain’s landed four unanswered scorers to give them a nine point lead with under 10 minutes remaining.
Erin’s Own refused to concede. Eoin Meally pointed and substitute Darragh Brennan got through for a good goal. Then Declan Dunne tried for another goal from a close in free, but the effort was saved. Liam Hickey lifted the siege temporary when he converted a free before another ’Comer substitute, Shane Rice, scored to leave just three points between the sides when he fired home Erin’s Own fourth goal with one minute of normal time remaining.
With three minutes of injury-time being played the losers tried hard for the all important score to tie up the game before Shane Donnelly took a good pass to fire over the insurance point to put his side into the North semi-final in which they await the winners of the Clara/Barrow Rangers/O’Loughlins quarter-final.
Scorers: St Lachtain’s - Stephen Farrell (1-3, one point free); Shane Donnelly (1-4, one point free); Liam Hickey (0-5, three frees); James Maher (0-2); Brian Kennedy, Denis Lennon (0-1 each). Erin’s Own - Eoin Meally (1-1); Andrew Carron, Darragh Brennan, Shane Rice (1-0 each); Declan Dunne (0-3 frees); Eoin Brennan, Ciaran Brennan (0-1 each).
St Lachtain’s – Darren Brennan, Fintan White, Lactain Kennedy, Criomhtan Bergin, Brendan Quinn, Brian Kennedy, Simon Rafter, Philip Campion, James Maher, Alenander Rafter, Stephen Farrell, Liam Hickey, Denis Lennon, Colin Corcoran, Shane Donnelly. Subs - Jack Boland, Paul White.
Erin’s Own – Stephen Daly, Noel Callinan, Podge Keating, Liam Wallace, Sean McDermott, Robert Moran, Eoin Meally, Declan Dunne, Ciaran Wallace, Eoin Brennan, Ciaran McDermott, Ciaran Brennan, Michael Dwyer, Martin Hawley, Andrew Carron. Subs - Shane Rice, Darragh
Brennan, Caomhan Dunne.
Referee – Paddy Bowden (Lisdowney).