Ice-cool Murphy edges tight battle

AN INJURY-TIME free, scored from all of 90 metres, by Stephen Murphy gave Galmoy victory by the slimmest of margins, 0-13 to 1-9 over Naomh Brid in this all-county junior hurling league tie.

AN INJURY-TIME free, scored from all of 90 metres, by Stephen Murphy gave Galmoy victory by the slimmest of margins, 0-13 to 1-9 over Naomh Brid in this all-county junior hurling league tie.

On a difficult night for precision play, scores were at a premium all through. In fact, neither side managed to score from play in the second half, with rival placed ball specialists Stephen Murphy and Peter Shaw sharing 10 pointed frees equally.

Naomh Brid lined out minus a number of regulars but in Peter Shaw they had a real livewire who won most of the frees which he himself duly converted. It was no surprise to learn that this sharpshooter is a first cousin of Tullaroan’s Tommy Walsh. Centre-back Eddie Keane also had an excellent outing, striking a multitude of clearances over the hour.

Galmoy were dependent on Stephen Murphy’s accuracy. Noel Doherty had a good opening half with three points from play, but was less conspicuous when moved to full forward.

Galmoy had three points on the board before Shaw opened the Naomh Brid account in the eighth minute, followed immediately by his first pointed free. Noel Doherty pointed off his left for the hosts before Stephen Murphy grabbed a long delivery and did likewise. Murphy added a free following a foul on Nigel Stanley before the only goal of the evening in the 17th minute.

Naomh Brid’s Eddie Keane drove in a long delivery which was won at pace by corner-forward Cathal Coughlan. He rounded his marker with ease, striking a bullet-like shot to the net to reduce the margin to the minimum.

Although Galmoy had been dominant thus far, Naomh Brid were now right back in the game.

Raising their game, Joe Dollard responded for Galmoy. By the 23rd minute, Noel Doherty had won three frees for Galmoy. In taking the third of those, Stephen Murphy’s shot came back off the crossbar to the grateful Doherty who split the posts.

Naomh Brid had now moved Cathal Coughlan to centre-forward in a bid to thwart the influence of Niall Doherty. Peter Shaw pointed from a midfield free and then from play, following another long delivery from Eddie Keane, to leave just one point in it at the break (Galmoy 0-8, Naomh Brid 1-4).

Naomh Brid’s goalkeeper James Kehoe had been very active during that first half as he fielded a number of Galmoy deliveries which dropped short. He also deprived Stephen Murphy of a goal and again after the break stopped a Noel Doherty effort. Johnny Nevin at full-back was also in tremendous form, showing the younger generation how to attack the ball from the front as he continuously cleared his lines.

Galmoy had another goal chance in the 39th minute but Joe Dollard’s one-handed flick came back off the crossbar. At the other end Naomh Brid never threatened the Galmoy goal in the second half. However Peter Shaw roamed around midfield and the half-forward area throughout, winning some vital frees and converting impressively. Gavin Doherty was introduced for Galmoy in the 38th minute and immediately won a free which Stephen Murphy drilled over. Shaw immediately responded, levelling proceedings after Cathal Coughlan had drawn the foul.

The remainder of the game was evenly balanced and with the sides level a minute into injury time Niall Doherty won a free well inside his own half. It wasn’t easy, but Stephen Murphy’s shot was true and unerring to send Galmoy into a playoff against Dicksboro.

Others who impressed for the winners were Brian Doherty and Michael Harte, who served their side well in defence. Naomh Brid midfielders Gary Dunne and Alan Brennan did well, particularly in the second half.

SCORERS: Galmoy - Stephen Murphy (0-8, 0-7 frees); Noel Doherty (0-3); Stephen Delaney, Joe Dollard (0-1 each). Naomh Brid - Peter Shaw (0-9, 0-7 frees); Cathal Coughlan (1-0).

Galmoy - L. Drennan, B. Doherty, B. Phelan, M. Harte, J. Stanley, Niall Doherty, M. Brennan, N. Stanley, E. Corcoran, M. Phelan, Noel Doherty, S. Delaney, T. Phelan, S. Murphy, J. Dollard. Sub: G. Doherty for Dollard, 48 mins.

Naomh Brid - J. Kehoe, D. Kelly, J. Nevin, J. Byrne, E. Fitzgerald, E. Keane, J. Cahill, G. Dunne, A. Brennan, C. Brennan, E. Ryan, P. Shaw, C. Coughlan, A. Nolan, B. Lawlor.

Referee - J. Guinan (St Lachtain’s).