Good scoring Pat’s are top of hit parade in the North

St Patrick’s 0-19

St Patrick’s 0-19

Galmoy 2-9

IT MAY no longer be a stepping stone to the junior county final, but this Northern hurling decidere, played before a large crowd in Freshford on Sunday, was contested with championship fervour.

No quarter was asked or given by two sides who are well familiar with each other. In the end St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) won because they were slightly the better outfit. They also had two aces in Brian (Brook) Phelan and centre-back Geoff Brennan.

‘Brook’ was excellent at midfield against three different opponents. He hit five classy points from play in the second half, but he also brought an amount of ball out of defence when needed most. Geoff Brennan fielded consistently all through and dominated all the way.

Galmoy sorely missed the presence of captain Phil Russell, whose season has ended by a cruciate knee injury. Eamonn Corcoran did well to keep county minor, Kevin Kelly scoreless from play, while Michael Brennan was also very influential.

Galmoy began well. After Joe Dollard saw his shot come back into play off the upright, James Dunne pointed. Stephen Maher added his first point after a brief solo. St Patrick’s had their opening two scores from Kevin Kelly (frees).

The first goal

Thomas Phelan and Brian (Tom) Phelan then exchanged points before young Kelly put St Patrick’s ahead from another free.

In the 11th minute the first goal arrived. A St Patrick’s defender seemed to lose the flight of the sliotar in the evening sun and allowed a Stephen Maher shot to go all the way to the net. While this goal was a tonic for Galmoy, it was Pat’s who hit the next three points.

Joe Brennan won a close in free and duly pointed before turning provider for his brother Michael to level the game. The winners went ahead when Seoirse Kenny set up Brian (Tom) Phelan for a neat point.

Galmoy responded when Stephen Maher fielded a huge free by Liam Drennan and split the posts while Noel Doherty put Galmoy ahead from a placed ball, 1-5 to 0-7.

St Patrick’s switched their wing-backs with Kieran Delaney going to police the speedy Stephen Maher, who had notched 1-2 from play. They also swopped Seoirse Kenny and Brian (Tom) Phelan in the pivotal forward positions. Galmoy switched Martin Phelan out to midfield with Nigel Stanley moving to full-forward.

Kevin Kelly levelled again when he converted a free. In the 25th minute, Martin Phelan shot to the net from a free and Galmoy went three ahead. They had a let off at the other end when Seoirse Kenny broke through but unfortunately kicked the ball wide.

A minute later Liam Drennan grabbed a tricky hopping ball and delivered downfield to Tom Phelan, who in turn set up Martin Phelan for a point.The hard-working Jody Phelan closed the first half scoring, courtesy of a Brook Phelan pass: Galmoy 2-6, St Pat’s 0-9.

Pat’s more determined

Geoff Morrissey had been dominant at full-back with James Gannon doing well at midfield for the winners, but their attack promised a lot more than it delivered. The Ballyragget selectors rung the changes at the break, introducing Robbie Healy at right half back with Michael Gannon taking up position between the post.

Gannon had a steadying influence henceforth. Galmoy had done well to lead at the break with Niall Doherty having a steady sweeping game at centre-back and Stephen Maher going well up front.

St Patrick’s resumed more determined and had the lead wiped out within five minutes. A poor clearance gifted Brian (Brook) Phelan his first point. Joe Brennan then won a free which Kevin Kelly pointed before Brennan took a pass from his brother Michael and brought the sides level, 0-12 to 2-6.

Noel Doherty and Kevin Kelly exchanged frees before Brook Phelan gave St Patrick’s the lead they were never to relinquish. From here to the end ‘Brook’ dominated the game, striking three more points from play and letting his hurling outspeak his quiet demeanour.

The margin between the sides was never more than two points up to the closing five minutes as Noel Doherty kept Galmoy in touch with two further points. It was 0-16 to 2-8 when Liam Drennan saved excellently from Kevin Kelly in the 53rd minute.

The closing two scores fell to ‘Brook’ Phelan and Joe Brennan as Ballyragget deservedly took the spoils

After years of top class match programmes being produced for Northern finals by Ned Buggy and Liam Dewberry it was really very disappointing that no programme was available this time. Spectators at the Southern final, in contrast, were treated to an excellent publication.

Galmoy - Liam Drennan, Brendan Delaney, Brendan Phelan, Michael Harte, Eamonn Corcoran, Niall Doherty, Michael Brennan, James Dunne (0-1), Nigel Stanley, Stephen Maher (1-2), Noel Doherty (0-4, 0-3frees), Thomas ‘Bawn’ Phelan (0-1), Donnacha Gray, Martin Phelan (1-1, 1-0 free), Joe Dollard. Subs - Phil Brennan for J. Dollard; Phil Doyle for M. Harte.

St Patrick’s - Liam Lacey, John Mooney, Geoff Morrissey, Paddy Cahill, Kieran Delaney, capt, Geoff Brennan, Stephen Roberts, James Gannon, Brian (Brook) Phelan (0-5), Jody Phelan (0-1), Brian (Tom) Phelan (0-2), Kevin Kelly (0-7, frees), Michael Brennan (0-1), Seoirse Kenny, Joe Brennan(0-3, one free). Subs - Michael Gannon for L. Lacey; Robbie Healy for S. Roberts; Alan Ruth for Brian (Tom) Phelan; Eoin Bergin for S. Kenny.

Referee - John Bennett (Tullogher-Rosbercon).