Cleere points ’Bridge to victory

Bennettsbridge 2-15

Bennettsbridge 2-15

Barrow Rangers 1-14

CONCEDING frees proved to be Barrow Rangers’ downfall as Bennettsbridge scored a hard-earned but deserved win in the all-county junior hurling league.

Rangers were guilty of conceding needless frees throughout the game in Paulstown, errors which were duly punished by the accurate Aidan Cleere.

The ’Bridge men got a welcome boost after just five minutes when full-forward Damien Grimes broke through for a goal. Play in this half was of the stop-start variety, with most of the scores coming from placed balls. There were a couple of noteworthy scores from play from Cleere (BB) and Dermot Maher (BR), but that early goal helped Bennettsbridge take a five-point lead in at the break (1-8 to 0-6).

The second half started with the teams trading points, Cathal Kenny (BR) and Patrick O’Neill (BB) swapping the opening scores before Derek McEvoy and Aidan Cleere did likewise. Rangers roared back into the game when newly introduced full-forward Tom Brophy used his height and strength to good effect to score a fine goal on 38 minutes. The ’Bridge men hit back, however, limiting the damage of that goal with swift points from Aidan Cleere and Cormac Wafer.

Brophy reduced the deficit with a fine point before the defining score in the game fell to Bennettsbridge with 45 minutes on the clock. Centre-forward Seamus Moran pushed the winners into an unassailable lead when an angled shot went unaided to the net to stretch lead to six points. Rangers tried hard, shooting points from Cathal Kenny and Martin Bambrick, but two Aidan Cleere frees quickly rubbed those out.

Although Cathal English and Cathal Kenny (2) reduced the deficit to a goal Bennettsbridge kept that extra step ahead when they were awarded a free on 59 minutes which was duly converted by Aidan Cleere.

Right at the death Rangers were awarded a 25 minute free. A pile-driver of a shot from Dermot Maher came back off the crossbar - with it went their last chance of saving the game.

Best for Bennettsbridge were Aidan Cleere, Seamus Moran, Cormac Wafer, William Murphy, Edward Fitzgerald and Darragh Wafer. For Rangers none tried harder than Patrick Purcell, Thomas Brennan, John Kealy, Cathal Kenny, Dermot Maher and Tom Brophy.

SCORERS: Bennettsbridge - Aidan Cleere (0-9); Seamus Moran (1-1); Damien Grimes (1-0); Cormac Wafer (0-2); Patrick O’Neill, Darragh Wafer, Nicholas Cleere (0-1 each). Barrow Rangers - Cathal Kenny (0-8); Tom Brophy (1-1); Martin Bambrick, Dermot Maher, Cathal English, J.J. Staunton, Derek McEvoy (0-1 each).

Bennettsbridge - E. Cleere, P. O’Neill, R. Walsh jnr, S. Nolan, W. Murphy, E. Fitzgerald, D. Kealy, P. O’Neill, D. Wafer, N. Cleere, S. Moran, A. Cleere, C. Wafer, D. Grimes, T. Kiely. Sub: D. Walsh.

Barrow Rangers - I. Holden, J. Hughes, J. Kealy, P. Purcell, J. Holden, T. Brennan, S. McEvoy, C. Kenny, W. Hennessy, M. Bambrick, D. Maher, C. English, D. Staunton, P. Barcoe, J.J. Staunton. Subs: T. Brophy, D. McEvoy.

Referee - Sean Brennan (James Stephens).