Conahy Shamrocks 2-10
THE COMBINATION of two county greats proved decisive as the Emeralds (Urlingford) got the better of Conahy Shamrocks to grab their second win in the intermediate hurling league.
Friday’s clash in Freshford was lit up by the power play of Derek Lyng and Aidan Fogarty. Both were terrific, particularly Lyng who shot points from all angles during the opening half.
Led by the duo it was no surprise that the Emeralds were very much in the ascendancy during the opening half. Remarkably, though, the Urlingford side only led by two points at the interval.
Although Conahy were out-hurled in the opening half its ability to plunder two crucial goals left the side with every chance in the second half.
The first Conahy goal was down to the industry and determination of Declan Buggy. He won the ball against two Emeralds defenders 30 yards from their goal and soloed impressively to crash the ball to the net.
The second Conahy goal was a stroke of luck attached to it. Emeralds goalkeeper Alan Guilfoyle misjudged the flight of the ball from a long range free, the sliotar bouncing off his hands into the goal.
It was a welcome break for Conahy who were really under the cosh at the time.
The first half was ultimately about the men from Urlingford and Lyng and Fogarty in particular.
As early as the third minute Lyng almost got through for a goal, but his effort went wide. That near-miss was to herald a traumatic first half for the Conahy rearguard.
The Shamrocks played with little enthusiasm and work-rate in the opening 30 minutes. The looseness of the marking between the two 50 metre lines contributed to many of the Urlingford scores. At half-time Emeralds led by 0-9 to 2-1.
The second half, though, saw a major transformation in Conahy’s play and attitude. Although the Emeralds continued to dominate, again primarily through Lyng and Fogarty, they had to battle much harder now for every score.
Four points was the biggest margin between the teams during the second half, so the Urlingford side could never rest on their laurels. Conahy kept in touch through the accuracy of Shane Brennan and a mighty effort from one hundred metres from Declan Buggy, the outstanding Conahy player over the 60 minutes.
A switch which saw Denis Kelly and David Healy swap positions midway through the second half improved Conahy defensively. Still, the Emeralds attack did manage to score two late crucial points through Jamie Ryan and Conor Martin (free) to lead by three points as the game ebbed to a conclusion.
Two late points from frees from Shane Brennan left the minimum between the sides, but time ultimately ran out on Conahy.
They may have felt they deserved something from the game after an excellent second half display but the Emeralds were the better side throughout the field, even if the concluding stages were uncomfortable for both the players and their supporters.
SCORERS: Emeralds - Derek Lyng (0-7); Conor Martin (0-6, 0-4 frees); Aidan Fogarty (0-2); Padraig Phelan, Jamie Ryan (0-1 each). Conahy Shamrocks - Shane Brennan (0-6, 0-5 frees); Declan Buggy (1-2); Paraic Harding (1-0); Donal Brennan, Gavin Nolan (0-1 each).
Emeralds - A. Guilfoyle, T. Moriarty, P. Doheny, E. Moriarty, J. Doheny, P. Phelan, B. Troy, B. Campion, F. Tobin, I. Grant, A. Fogarty, C. Martin, E. Ryan, D. Lyng, J. Ryan.
Conahy Shamrocks - A. O’Keeffe, S. Og Brennan, D. Healy, J. Mullan, P. Mullan, D. Kelly, P. Harding, G. Kavanagh, D. Brennan, A. Healy, P. Buggy, P. Vickery, G. Nolan, D. Buggy, S. Brennan. Sub: M. Bergin.
Referee - S. Cleere (O’Loughlin Gaels).