If only this form has come earlier! That must have been the feeling of all in the Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) club after this surprise win on Sunday, writes Jim Buggy.
In this game in the fifth round of the senior hurling league relegation threatened Erin’s Own took on reigning championship holders, Ballyhale Shamrocks in Tom Ryall Park and they pulled off the result of the round in what was a compelling clash.
The result went in favour of hard going Erin’s Own who managed to pip the champions. However, due to a run of results that went againsat them they still eneded up in the relegations semi-finals.
The Shamrocks were without former hurler of the year, Michael Fennelly and former Kilkenny star, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick which obviously didn’t help, but still there was a chance they might have made the league final has they won.
Pipped by Clara
In any event, Shamrocks were pipped by Clara for that place in the league decider, but heading into the championship is no time to be losing matches. Erin’s Own will be hoping that the boost in confidence following this victory will stand to them in the big tests that lie ahead.
The action was slow to ignite. Michael Murphy and Henry Shefflin traded points from frees. After 10 minutes Shamrocks started to gain the upper-hand.
David Hoyne opening the good run of scores with his first of the ball. He pointed! He struck again a minute later, again pointing from al most the same position to the right of goal. Richie Reid shot over his first point and Shamrocks fifth before Conor Walsh got his name on the ’board after 15 minutes.
Erin’s Own were under pressure, serious pressure. They were in danger of going under, but they clung on desperately.
Another Henry Shefflin pointed free left five between the teams. ’Comer were struggling. The winners nearly conceded a goal when Colin Fennelly played a lovely pass into the square, but Ronan Corcoran’s mis-hit the shot and the ball sailed just wide of the left hand post.
Richie Reid shot over from a well worked sideline ball. The Shamrocks were cruising when six ahead. They were looking good. Brave ’Comer fought back and ignored the scoreline. A Murphy free preceded a goal from Martin Boran.
The recently returned attack leader managed to sneak in behind the Shamrocks defence and punched the ball into the net. Hard work paid off for the goal. It the same for ’Comer’s next score. Jimmy Byrne laboured to set up Declan Dunne.
These two Shamrocks scores seemed to restore order, but Boran had other plans in mind. A slip up by the Ballyhale defence meant that Michael Murphy’s flicked ball back to Boran left the poacher unmarked. From 10 metres he made no mistake.
The score was 2-4 to 0-10 at half time, the drawn scoreline not reflecting the dominance shown by Ballyhale during the half.
In the second half the action was evenly balanced with neither side able to get more than a couple scores ahead. Conor Fogarty and Shefflin traded points from frees before T.J. and Richie Reid added minors. In the final few minutes ’Comer managed to pull two ahead, and they held on.
Scorers: Erin’s Own - Martin Boran (2-4, 0-4 frees); Michael Murphy (0-3); Conor Fogarty (0-2 frees); Aidan Moran, Declan Dunne, Jimmy Byrne (0-1 each). Ballyhale Shamrocks - Henry Shefflin (0-6, frees); David Hoyne (0-4); Richie Reid (0-3); Colin Fennelly, Mark Alyward, Conor Walsh (0-1 each); T.J. Reid (0-1, free).
Erin’s Own - Tom Brophy, Conior Delaney, Pauric Keating, Ciaran Wallace, Robert Moran, Conor Fogarty, Jerry Callinan, Aidan Moran, Peter O Donovan, Declan Dunne, Peader Boran, Michael Owens, Jimmy Byrne, Michael Murphy, Martin Boran. Sub - Martin Hawley.
Ballyhale Shamrocks - Patrick Reid, Paul Shefflin, Aidan Cummins, Alan Cuddihy, Enda Fitzpatrick, T.J. Reid, Joseph Holden, Conor Walsh, Tom Coogan, Richard Reid, Henry Shefflin, David Hoyne, Eoin Reid, Colin Fennelly, Ronan Corcoran. Subs - Mark Alyward.