Clincal Lachtain’s win battle of Saints

St Lachtain’s 2-16

St Lachtain’s 2-16

St Patrick’s 2-12

SAINT Patrick’s learned a valuable lesson at the weekend - make the most of your scoring chances when you get them.

The Ballyragget men gave a solid display in an entertaining tussle with St Lachtain’s in Lisdowney on Sunday, but it was the more clinical, efficient Freshford men who made off the spoils.

Patrick’s looked to be heading towards a big scalp when they led by four points after 20 minutes (1-3 to 0-2). However, some cool-headed play from Lachtain’s paid off. By the break they were only a point in arrears, then hit a double whammy inside 60 seconds on the cusp of the final quarter to stride away.

Captain Bill Beckett led by example, rifling a shot past Patrick’s netminder Michael Gannon and defender Stephen Staunton, who tried to make the block on the line.

Within a minute Freshford had the green flag flying again. Launched by Jim Costelloe’s clearance out of defence, Liam Hickey won possession in midfield and then burst away. Showing a clean pair of heels to the Ballyragget defence he sped down the left flank before floating a cross for the unmarked Stephen Farrell to hammer to the net.

Patrick’s were swift on the offensive, but although they created chances they failed to finish a number of them. Barry Staunton had an opportunity to rattle the net when he sped on to Brian Phelan’s crossfield ball but he failed to make the right connection, as did Seoirse Kenny on the follow-up.

Still, the Ballyragget men ploughed on. Half-back Geoff Brennan and midfielders Brian Phelan and Kevin Kelly drove plenty of possession towards their forwards, but they had to work hard to get past a Lachtain’s defence led by Michael and Mark Kavanagh.

Hit target

Relentless, they finally hit the target on 17 minutes. Brian Phelan’s ball from midfield was taken down by Seoirse Kenny and released to Conor Delaney, who made no mistake with a sweet shot inside Jimmy Meagher’s left post.

Bill Staunton tacked on a point for Pat’s, but they quickly spurned another great chance. Delaney looked certain to get his second goal when Kevin Kelly played him clean through but he lashed his shot into the ground, the bounce taking the sting out of the sliotar and making it easy for Meagher.

Those spurned goal chances - added to five wides inside the opening 17 minutes - looked costly when Lachtain’s rattled off four points in three minutes. Beckett bagged a brace and teed up Stephen Farrell for another, while marauding wing-back Brian Kennedy sped down the left to split the posts.

Patrick’s picked up the pace after that, with Barry Staunton and Joe Brennan pointing, but more goal chances were spurned - Delaney and Kenny saw shots spill loose rather than hit the net. As for Lachtain’s, Shane Donnelly and Beckett (free) ensured they were breathing down the leaders’ necks by the break (1-6 to 0-8).

Drama

Sensing how close the game was, St Patrick’s broke quickly from the restart. Bill Staunton capped his move into full-forward with a point. Sixty seconds later they grabbed their second goal, but not without its share of drama. Joe Brennan sped through and seemed to be fouled en route to goal. The Lachtain’s defence thought so, especially when the whistle sounded. They paused for a split-second but Brennan continued on, forcing the sliotar home.

The goal stood, much to the consternation of a Freshford side who now trailed by five (2-7 to 0-8).

Instead of sinking, the goal seemed to steel Freshford. Beckett led the way, followed by two from James Maher, the latter a fine score after he won a midfield battle on 39 minutes.

Kevin Kelly tried to arrest the charge, converting three frees to cancel out points from Beckett and Noel McGree, but the two-goal salvo, to which Beckett added two more points, all but flattened St Patrick’s.

Sub Michael Brennan had a great chance to haul his side back into the game, but Meagher made a super save to keep his side in the clear. Joe Brennan scooped the rebound over, but another Beckett free from an acute angle ensured Lachtain’s established a large enough lead to see them to the final whistle safely.

SCORERS: St Lachtain’s - Bill Beckett (1-9, 0-8 frees); Stephen Farrell (1-1); James Maher (0-3); Brian Kennedy, Shane Donnelly, Noel McGree (0-1 each). St Patrick’s - Kevin Kelly (0-6, frees); Joe Brennan (1-2); Conor Delaney (1-0); Bill Staunton (0-2); Jody Phelan, Barry Staunton (0-1 each).

St Lachtain’s - J. Meagher, M. Cormack, Michael Kavanagh, T. Flynn, Mark Kavanagh, N. Phelan, B. Kennedy, N. McGree, J. Maher, D. Brennan, B. Beckett, J. Fitzpatrick, L. Hickey, S. Farrell, S. Donnelly. Subs: J. Costelloe for Cormack, 35 mins; P. Guinan for Fitzpatrick, 39 mins.

St Patrick’s - M. Gannon, J. Mooney, J. Morrissey, S. Staunton, K. Delaney, G. Brennan, S. Roberts, B. Phelan, K. Kelly, Barry Staunton, Bill Staunton, J. Phelan, C. Delaney, S. Kenny, J. Brennan. Subs: J. Gannon for J. Phelan, 40 mins; M. Brennan for Barry Staunton, 40 mins; R. Healy for Delaney, 54 mins; E. Bergin for Bill Staunton, 57 mins.

Referee - D. O’Sullivan (John Lockes).