The battle of the basement teams in Group 1 of the intermediate hurling league saw Tullogher-Rosbercon deservedly take the two points at the expense of Conahy Shamrocks on Sunday in Bennettsbridge.
The winners had the advantage of a stiff breeze in the opening half, yet as the game entered the closing stages of the half the margin between the sides was down to the minimum.
But all this changed in the 24th minute when Conahy squandered an easy goal-scoring opportunity. A goal at that stage would have given the Northerners the lead for the first time, and they would also have the advantage of the breeze in the second half.
Instead, the Tullogher defence cleared the ball and in a resultant attack shot an excellent point. Further points followed, yet a five point advantage at the internal did not seem insurmountable for Conahy.
Played second fiddle
The Northerners played second-fiddle to their opponents for much of the first half, but an excellent goal from Alan Healy gave them a major boost. Conahy’s joy was short-lived. Not long afterwards Walter Walsh picked up possession on the wing and breezed past two Conahy defenders to shoot to the net.
After a narrow four point loss to St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) in their opening league game, Tullogher were determined not to lose twice in succession to a Northern opponent. They held the upper hand in most areas of the pitch and had real leaders in a few key positions.
Conahy must have realised it was not going to be their day as the breeze dropped significantly at the start of the second half. Tullougher again started well and an eight-point gap separated the sides after five minutes.
It was starting to look bleak for Conahy midway through the second half when the team eventually brought some urgency to their play. Constant attacks on the Tullogher goal yielded a couple of points, but the stout defending of John and Pat Hartley ensured that the Conahy scores were kept to a minimum.
At the other end of the field Walter Walsh was proving a real handful for Conahy, although the switching of Martin Fitzpatrick to mark the burly attacker in the second half worked well for the Northerners.
John and Pat Hartley plus Walter Walsh were outstanding for the winners, but the performance of Liam Barron was equally significant. His accuracy from placed balls, plus his astute positioning for Conahy’s first half puck-outs, were a big factor in his side’s success.
Jamie Mullally was another Tullogher player to make a big impression, scoring a couple of excellent points.
Two defeats to date see Conahy now firmly rooted at the bottom of their group. The Northerners never displayed the same urgency as their opponents and they paid the price.
Peter Dollard and Denis Kelly defended stoutly over the 60 minutes.
Damien Webster was excellent at midfield for Conahy, while Shane Brennan and Alan Healy were best in a disappointing attack. Martin Fitzpatrick was also excellent all through, particularly when switched to defence to mark Walter Walsh in the second half.
Scorers: Tullogher-Rosbercon - Liam Barron (0-8, 0-6 frees); Walter Walsh (1-2); James Mullally (0-4); Anthony Cottrell (0-1). Conahy Shamrocks - Shane Brennan (0-7, 0-6 frees); Alan Healy (1-0); Martin Fitzpatrick, Declan Buggy, John Mullan (0-1 each).
Tullogher-Rosbercon - Martin Roche, Declan Grennan, John Hartley, Terence Croke, Molling Cottrell, Pat Hartley, John Grennan, John Cottrell, John Murphy, Walter Walsh, Liam Barron, Anthony Cottrell, James Mullally, John Barron, Paraic Ryan.
Conahy Shamrocks - Andy O’Keeffe, John Mullan, Peter Dollard, Thomas Nolan, Paddy Mullan, Denis Kelly, Paraic Harding, Damien Webster, Gary Kavanagh, Martin Fitzpatrick, John Feehan, Shane Brennan, Alan Healy, Paul Buggy, Paraic Nolan. Subs - Gavin Nolan, Declan Buggy, Micheál Lawlor, Eoin Carroll.
Referee - Sean Brennan (James Stephens).