IT WAS at the finish that Castlecomer Community School lost the point that ultimately led to a sharing of the spoils, but it was their poor shooting at the start that really cost them a victory over St Brendan’s CS (Birr) in this opening round game in the Leinster colleges senior hurling Roinn A league when the teams finished level at 0-11 each.
It was as if the goalposts were on castors early on, the ’Comer boys just could not find them. Seven wides were run up before they shot their opening point after 12 minutes. By the break the misses were a huge 13 , but the Cats were still good enough to lead by 0-7 to 0-4.
Birr struggled for a good portion of the closing half, but when they went for broke and sent centre-back Emmet Nolan up to lead their attack, they began to motor. A good fightback from arrears of 0-4 to 0-9 in the 36th minute ended with solid free taker, Keith Bergin shooting the equalising point in the 58th minute following a foul on the ever involved Nolan.
The ’Comer officials were unhappy with a late call that went against them and helped Birr escape, but in truth, the awful early shooting hurt Castlecomer much more. Pity, because they have a decent enough team, with commanding full-back, Nicholas Feehan, Eoin Brennna, Ciaran Wallace, Podge Delaney, Shane Kinsella and Rian Holden all handy looking hurlers who could enjoy a decent season.
The visitors to Castlecomer opened the scoring through the the neat striking Conor Doughan. Before wind assisted Castlecomer to register through Podge Delaney they clocked up seven wides, with the lively Shane Kinsella perhaps the most unlucky of the shooters. There was an exchange of points after that before Rian Holden, following a foul on Delaney, shot the Noresiders in front for the first time in the 18th minute (0-3 to 0-2).
They motored on from there, but they weren’t at all flattered by their interval lead of 0-7 to 0-4.
Elements didn’t help
The backing of the elements didn’t help Birr all that much as the opposition continued to dominate after the turn. Shane Rice and Delaney, following a cross from the right by Kinsella, tipped over points to underline Castlecomer’s dominance (0-9 to 0-4).
Birr registered just once, through James Hardiman, during this quarter but they got on top in the closing quarter. They pared back the arrears to the minimum in the 53rd minute before ’Comer dug out a point from a 65 by Conor Delaney (0-11 to 0-9). The visitors kept driving forward, and a brace of late frees from Keith Bergin earned them a draw that sent them home happy.
Scorers: Castlecomer CS - Rian Holden (0-3, two frees, one 65); Podge Delaney (0-3); Shane Rice, Shane Kinsella (0-2 each); Conor Delaney (0-1, 65). Birr CS - Keith Bergin (0-6, five frees); Conor Doughan (0-2, one free); James Hardiman, Craig Taylor, Shane Ryan (0-1).
Castlecomer CS - Jason Shore (St Martin’s); Paddy Brennan (St Martin’s), Nicholas Feehan (Conahy Shamrocks), Liam Cass (Conahy Shamrocks); Andrew Dowd (Erin’s Own), Eoin Brnenan (Erin’s Own), Philip Cass (Conahy Shamrocks); Ciaran Wallace (ERin’s Own), Dean Shortall (Cloneen); Podge Delaney (Cloneen), Shane Rice (Erin’s Own), Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own); Shane Kinsella (St Martin’s), Rian Holden (Erin’s Own), Adrian Farrell (St Martin’s). Subs - Oliver Feehan (Conahy Shamrocks), Mark Maguire (Cloneen).
Birr CS - B. Hogan, B. Loughnane, B. Donnelly, N. Bergin, J. Hardiman, E. Nolan, D. Mahon, P. Guinan, S. Dunne, A. McCormack, C. Doughan, C. Taylor, J. Carroll, K. Bergin, C. Freeman. Subs - S. Ryan, P. Horan.