Erin’s Own of Castlecomer qualified for the quarter-finals of the senior hurling championship when they overcame Fenians of Johnstown in Freshford on Saturaday., winning by 1-14 to 1-10, writes Jim Buggy.
The sending off of Aidan Moran didn’t help the ’Comer cause after he was adjudged to have pulled wildly at the throw-in. The dismissal set up the game to be an intense and hard fought battle, similar to the matches these teams produced against each other in recent years.
From the first free after 30 seconds, Fenians ’keeper P.J. Ryan struck the game’s first score from a placed ball. From the resulting puck-out, J.J. Delaney charged up field from centre-back, caught the dropping ball and sent it straight back over the ’Comer crossbar. Conor Tobin, who started at centre-forward, shot over his side’s third and Fenians were looking like they wouldn’t be held.
Erin’s Own were shocked by the dismissal of one of their most influential players, but they grabbed a foothold in the game quickly. Switching Eoghan Mealey to left half back and Conor Fogarty to midfield they started to find their way in the match.
Damien Fogarty opened ’Comer’s account, his free splitting the posts from 80 yards. Target man Anthony Owens shot over his first a minute later, adding another soon after that. After 10 minutes the sides were level. Kieran Grehan pushed Fenians into the lead with a great strike from midfield.
P.J. Delaney, a late change at ful- forward, slapped over from close in to push Fenians two ahead. Tom Brophy’s quick puck-out dropped to Jimmy Byrne, his lofted pass found Declan Dunne who was brought down to win a ’Comer penalty.
Martin Boran stepped up and slammed the ball home. Boran shot over a free a minute later. Anthony Owens, who was proving hard to handle looked a real mean in attack for Erin’s Own. P.J. Delaney was proving equally dangerous, however, forcing a fine save from Brophy before Willie Brennan managed to poke the ball home, coming in unmarked at the far post.
Conor Fogarty ventured up field to slot over his first point in reply. The game slowly descending into a real dogfight with hard tackles going in thick and fast. Martin Boran shot over his first from play and ’Comer led by two at half-time, 1-7 to 1-5.
Conor Tobin opened the second half with a bang, pointing quickly after the restart before converting another free, drawing the side’s level once again. Anthony Owens pointed after a well worked 1-2 with Michael Murphy before another Boran free was converted. The following puck-out caught ’Comer on the hop, leaving them exposed at the back and Willie Brennan was fouled for a Fenians penalty. P.J. Ryan blasted the ball over the bar before sprinting back to his own goal.
Again the quick puck-out wound up with Martin Boran, allowing full-back J.P. Grehan to showcase his goalkeeping skills with a smart stop. Damien Fogarty converted the resulting 65 before shooting over a second a minute later. Paul Quinlan pointed for Fenians before there was a dry spell for both sides, neither creating any clear cut chances.
Both sides failed to score for nearly 10 minutes before Martin Boran and Conor Fogarty pointed one after the other. Conor Tobin lobbed in the last free of the game, but his dangerous dipping shot was knocked over by Tom Brophys stick, leaving ’Comer four points to the good and into the quarter-finals.
Scorers: Erin’s Own - Martin Boran (1-4, 1-2 frees); Anthony Owens (0-4); Damien Fogarty (0-3, frees); Conor Fogarty (0-2); Peadar Boran (0-1).
Fenians - Conor Tobin (0-4, 0-2 frees); Willie Brennan (1-0); P.J. Ryan (0-2, frees); Paul Quinlan, P.J. Delaney, Kieran Grehan, J.J. Delaney (0-1 each).
Erin’s Own - Tom Brophy, James Mullins, Pauric Keating, Peter O’Donovan, Gerry Callinan, Damien Fogarty, Conor Fogarty, Jimmy Byrne, Aidan Moran, Declan Dunne, Peadar Boran, Eoghan Mealey, Martin Boran, Anthony Owens, Michael Murphy. Subs - Robert Moran, Eddie Brennan.
Fenians - P.J. Ryan, Declan Garrett, J.P. Grehan, Eoin Phelan, John Henderson, J.J. Delaney, Conor Tobin, Ciaran Beehan, Cathal Ryan, Eugene Grehan, Paul Quinlan, Kieran Grehan, Willie Brennan, P.J. Delaney, Tommy Bowe.