Wind blows Emeralds over finish line

Emeralds1-16

Emeralds1-16

Glenmore0-18

CLEVER use of the elements helped the Emeralds (Urlingford) open their intermediate hurling league account with a win – but Glenmore made sure they didn’t breeze to victory. When it all boiled down to it, the North Kilkenny side’s use of the wind in the first half proved vital, as they prevailed by the skin of their teeth at Palmerstown on Sunday evening.

Emeralds were a force to be reckoned with in the opening 30 minutes. With Conor Martin and Aidan Fogarty running the show, they rattled off the scores and marched in at half-time boasting an eight-point advantage (1-11 to 0-6).

It was a little different after the restart, as the resurgent Southerners billowed back into action.

Led by the sharp-eyed Alan Murphy – he scored 14 frees – they whittled the deficit to the bare minimum with time running out, but Emeralds held their nerve. Pa Doheny relieved the pressure, ending a run of five unanswered Glenmore points by getting on the end of a fine 58th minute move involving Joey Doheny, Padraig Phelan and Aidan Fogarty to score what proved to be the winner.

Scruff of neck

Emeralds were anything but nervous in the opening half, as they took the game by the scruff of the neck.

After 11 minutes, they were five points (0-6 to 0-1) to the good, Padraig Phelan (2) highlighting their dominance with two points from midfield as they put the shackles on Glenmore.

Alan Murphy was Glenmore’s only scorer in the opening quarter, converting two frees. He made it three by the 16th minute, but within seconds his side were staring at a seven-point gap. Aidan Fogarty picked up a breaking ball and used his pace to cut through the Glenmore defence. The shot didn’t have the power that was expected of it, but the end result was just was Emeralds wanted as the sliotar found the inside of Davy Aylward’s right hand post.

Glenmore, forced to live off scraps in the first half, did recover slightly through Patrick Murphy – their first scorer from play – and Alan Murphy (65, free), but Emeralds were on a roll, rattling off points through Fogarty (free), Phelan and Pa Doheny (2) to take a sizeable lead in at half-time (1-11 to 0-6).

Chip away

Emeralds retained most of that lead into the second half, but the concession of a series of frees allowed Alan Murphy to chip away at the deficit. He didn’t disappoint, shooting six to take his overall tally to 11 points and reduce the Emeralds lead to five (1-14 to 0-12).

A Conor Martin free gave Emeralds some breathing space in the 47th minute, five points in eight minutes saw Glenmore reel them in. Alan Murphy grabbed three, with Patrick Murphy making it a one-point game when he played a one-two with Michael Phelan and split the posts from 45 metres out.

Glenmore were on fire now but Emeralds weren’t finished, as Doheny proved with that valuable 58th minute point. Alan Murphy did pull a score back, adding his 15th point of the night in the dying seconds, but Emeralds held on.

Emeralds - Shane Moriarty, Thomas Moriarty, Damien Fitzgerald, Fergal Tobin, Shane Norton, Brian Troy, Joey Doheny, Jamie Ryan, Padraig Phelan (0-3), Conor Martin (0-5, 0-3 frees), Aidan Fogarty (1-3, 0-1 free), Pa Doheny (0-3), Brian Campion, Alan Guilfoyle (0-1), Eoin Moriarty (0-1).

Glenmore - Davy Aylward, James Cody, Fergal Freyne, Mark Phelan, Ciaran Foran, Eoin Murphy, John Cody, Michael Cody, Patrick Murphy (0-2), Alan Murphy (0-15, 0-14 frees, 0-1 65), Michael Phelan, Ger Aylward, Mark Aylward (0-1), Emmet Vereker, Liam Hennessy.

Referee - John Kennedy (Ballyhale Shamrocks).