St Lachtain’s (Freshford) qualified for the final of the minor hurling league Roinn A when they got the better of James Stephens in a highly entertaining and competitive semi-final at Tom Ryall Park, winning by 2-12 to 1-11.
James Stephens were first off the mark and landed three early points through Diarmuid Cody (2) and Jack McGrath (1). Ale Rafter and Liam Hickey replied with Lachtain’s points before Cody replied with another point.
Two Shane Donnelly points for the Freshford side was followed by a Jack McGrath point to leave his side ahead by 0-5 to 0-4 midway through the half. The city side were creating a lot of scoring opportunities and their efforts were rewarded when Diarmuid Cody worked his way through for a fine goal.
St Lachtain’s upped the tempo and by the 25th minute the game was all square after Liam Hickey had been put through for a goal after good work by Ale Rafter. A fine Odhran Waldron point left the sides level at 1-5 each.
Luke Scanlon restored The Village lead when he landed a great point from out near the sideline, but this was quickly followed by Lachtain’s points from Donnelly and Rafter to leave the winners ahead by 1-7 to 1-6 at the interval.
On the resumption Diarmuid Cody had scores level for the third time when he pointed another free. The lead was short lived. Odhran Waldron shot Lachtain’s second goal to give his side the lead which they never surrendered.
With defences generally on top, both sides had to work hard for scores before Cody and Hickey exchanged points. Additional pointed frees were exchanged by McGrath and Hickey to leave Lachtain’s three ahead midway through the half.
The standard of hurling was top quality as both sides strived to gain the upper-hand. Diarmuid Cody landed another
pointed free and with four minutes remaining he went for broke with a 20 metre free when he shot for goal. His effort was well saved.
In the 58th minute Jack McGrath left the minimum between the sides when he pointed, but the Freshford side finished the stronger with three unanswered points to give them a deserved victory. They now meet the Rower-Inistioge in the final.
Scorers: St Lachtain’s - Liam Hickey (1-4, two points frees); Shane Donnelly (0-4, 0-2 frees); Odhran Waldron (1-1); Ale Rafter (0-3). James Stephens - Diarmuid Cody (1-6, 0-4 frees); Jack McGrath (0-4, three frees); Luke Scanlon (0-1).
St Lachtain’s - Darren Brennan, Dara Quinn, Criomhtain Bergin, Killian Hughes, Colin Corcoran, James Maher, Paul White, Simon Rafter, Shea Burke, Shane Donnelly, Ale Rafter, Jack Boland, Liam Hickey, Odhran Waldron, Eamonn Hennessy. Sub - Ben Lyng.
James Stephens - Alan O’Byrne, Ben Hickey, Paddy Duggan, Ben Lahart, James Tyrrell, Jack McGrath, Dylan Drennan, Luke Scanlon, Richie Drennan, Davy Jordan, Jack Cotter, Paul Lynch, Cormac Connolly, Diarmuid Cody, Dylan O’Shea.
Referee - Pat Hayes (Graigue-Ballycallan).