Although never headed, Galmoy had to withstand a strong fightback by Blacks and Whites in this absorbing junior hurling championship quarter-final.
In a tight game at Palmerstown on Sunday, which produced only nine scores from play, Galmoy were always the sharper. They opened with the breeze and displayed the greater hunger early on.
Their first score came from Padhric Gray and their second was an opportune ball cut off the ground from 30 metres by Phil Russell. Russell added a third minute free, won by Niall Doherty, before Galmoy hit four wides in succession.
The losers got off the mark when Niall Kennedy pointed a free, won by Michael Maloney, who worked hard. Their second came in the 18th minute from an acute angle by team captain, John Lennon, after they had spurned two chances from placed balls.
Russell added Galmoy’s fourth from a free in the 22nd minute before they again struck a number of wides. John Phelan was playing very well in defence with Niall Doherty mopping up everything around midfield.
For the Skeough side, corner back Joseph Kelly was having a stormer, but their forwards were making no inroads against a resolute defence. They switched Michael Maloney and Emmet Foley in a bid to win more ball, but Foley found Jason Stanley in a rich vein of form at full-back and gained little.
Niall Kennedy pointed another free in the 28th minute, but Stephen Murphy sent the resultant puck out straight down the middle to Phil Russell, who immediately negated Kennedy’s strike. Galmoy were playing with purpose and were rewarded when Tom Phelan strode forward to strike their sixth point to leave them 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the break.
The winners were full value for the lead and should have tacked on a few more points. Neither side threatened the opposing goalkeeper, although John Murphy did pluck at least three balls from just under his crossbar.
Blacks and Whites had use of the wind for the new half, but it was Galmoy who began well. Niall Doherty won a free which Phil Russell pointed.
They extended their lead when Stephen Murphy struck a long free out of defence. The ball was collected and pointed by Stephen Delaney. ’Whites then staged a mini resurrection and each member of their full-forward line won a free, all of which were pointed by Niall Kennedy (0-8 to 0-6).
For Skeough, John Lawlor and Paul Murphy were sending good ball forward while Edward Murphy stormed into the game and fielded impressively. Galmoy captain John Phelan sent a clever low ball for Phil Russell to score and arrest the slide.
In the 47th minute Edward Murphy sent in a long ball and after a goalmouth tussle, Michael (Crow) Maloney one handed the sliotar to the Galmoy net to level the issue, 0-9 to 1-6.
Given that ’Whites had the wind as well as a strong forward momentum, it was expected they would push on. Strangely, that goal was their last score.
Galmoy were denied a penalty when Phil Russell was downed in the square. This sparked them into a fiery finish. Noel Doherty pointed off his left before Russell pointed a 40 metre free following over carrying by a defender.
Peter (Chap) Cleere, although injured, was sprung from the Skeough bench but it was the men in blue who finished the stronger. They won two more frees. Russell converted to send Galmoy through to the semis.
Niall Doherty, John Phelan, Jason Stanley and Phil Russell impressived for the winners while ’Whites were best served by Joe Kelly, Edward Murphy, John Lawlor and Paul Murphy.
SCORERS: Galmoy - Phil russell (0-9, six frees); Tom Phelan, Noel Doherty, Stephen Delaney, Padhric Gray (0-1 each). Blacks and Whites - Niall Kennedy (0-5, frees); Michael Maloney (1-0); John Lennon (0-1).
Galmoy - Stephen Murphy, Michael Murphy, Jason Stanley, Paul Delaney, Tom Phelan, Brendan Phelan, John Phelan (capt), Niall Doherty, Donnacha Gray, Phil Russell, Nigel Stanley, Noel Doherty, Stephen Maher, Stephen Delaney, Padhric Gray. Subs - Frank Phelan for Stephen Maher; Brendan Delaney for Padhric Gray.
Blacks and Whites - John Murphy, Padraig Joyce, James Brennan, Joseph Kelly, Edward Murphy, Aidan O’Dowd, Martin Kelly, John Lawlor, Paul Murphy, Sean Kealy, Niall Kennedy, Emmet Foley, John Lennon, capt, Michael (Crow) Maloney, Jamie Byrne. Subs - Michael (Mo) Maloney for Jamie Byrne; Tommy Farrell for Sean Kealy; Peter (Chap) Cleere for Emmet Foley.
Referee - Eoin Hayes (Thomastown).