Conahy Shamrocks pulled off a surprise but deserved victory over neighbours St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) in the second round of the intermediate hurling league on Sunday (2-12 to 1-11).
Both sides fielded without a number of regulars due to a combination of injuries and emigration. The greater desire from the Conahy players during the second half was a telling factor in their victory.
St Patrick’s played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half but for the opening20 minutes there was little between the sides.
During the closing 10 minutes of the half the Ballyragget men took a firm grip on the game and a Barry Staunton goal was just reward for a dominant period of play.
Throughout the first half the Conahy defence stood up manfully to the challenge from their neighbours.
Excellent goalie Andy O’Keeffe was safe and dependable while the full-back line coped admirably with the constant pressure.
Before St Patrick’s scored their goal just a point separated the sides.
By half time that margin had risen to six with a brace of points from Brian ‘Brooky’ Phelan and a majestic effort from 100 metres from Ballyragget defender Paddy McEvoy.
Conahy got off to the best possible start in the second half with a pointed free from Kieran Mooney.
However, the side’s momentum was stopped very quickly when Kevin Kelly scored two points from frees.
Like St Patrick’s during the opening half, Conahy was now beginning to waste possession with some bad wides when playing with the breeze.
The turning point in the game came midway through the second half when Conahy scored a brace of goals.
The first came from Paul Buggy who initially had to work hard to gain possession before scoring.
The second came courtesy of substitute Paraic Nolan who availed of a mix up in the St Patrick’s defence to score.
Conahy now led for the first time in the game and points followed from Kieran Mooney (’65) and an excellent long range effort from Paddy Mullan.
Confidence sky high
The St Patrick’s response was another pointed free from Kevin Kelly which left just two points between the sides.
Conahy’s confidence was now evident as they went in search of another score. They might well have had a brace of goals in the closing stages but excellent goal keeping from Michael Gannon in the St. Patrick’s goal kept the ball out.
Points in the closing stages from Shane Brennan and another pointed free from Kieran Mooney ensured that Conahy left Lisdowney with two valuable league points.
Conahy’s six defenders were excellent over the 60 minutes, while the strong breeze saw a minimal amount of play in the middle of the pitch.
Attack worked hard
The Conahy attack worked very hard in the second half and their efforts were rewarded with some excellent scores.
Despite playing very well at times, St Patrick’s will be disappointed with their overall performance.
The side’s work ethic, which has been its hallmark for the past few years was absent during the second half.
Paddy Cahill, Michael Brennan, Bill Staunton, Kevin Kelly and Joe Bergin were best for St Patrick’s.
Scorers: Conahy Shamrocks - Paul Buggy (1-0); Paraic Nolan (1-0); Kieran Mooney (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-2 65s’); Alan Healy (0-2), Shane Brennan (0-2, 0-1 Free); John Mullan (0-2); Declan Buggy, Paddy Mullan (0-1 each). St Patrick’s - Kevin Kelly (0-5, frees); Joe Brennan (0-2); Barry Staunton (1-0); Brian ‘Brooky’ Phelan (0-2); Bill Staunton, Paddy McEvoy (0-1 each).
Conahy Shamrocks - Andy O’Keeffe; Nicholas Feehan; Donal Brennan; Thomas Nolan; Padraig Harding; Kieran Mooney; Gary Kavanagh; Paddy Mullan; Philip Cass; John Mullan; Declan Buggy; Peter Vickery; Alan Healy; Paul Buggy; Shane Brennan. Sub – Paraic Nolan.
St Patrick’s - Michael Gannon; Paddy Cahill; Paddy McEvoy; Robbie Healy; Kieran Delaney; Michael Brennan; Brian Mulhall; Bill Staunton; Kevin Kelly; Eoin Bergin; Niall Staunton; Joe Brennan; Barry Staunton; Brian ‘Brooky’ Phelan; Conor Delaney. Subs – John Staunton; Jody Phelan; Mary Staunton & Stephen Staunton.
Referee – Pat Dunphy (Carrigeen).