Two goals scored during the closing five minutes of play gave Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) a somewhat flattering victory over a young James Stephens team in the North under-21 Roinn A hurling championship semi-final in Jenkinstown.
Victory earned the winners the ticket into the final against O’Loughlin’s Gaels on Saturday.
The Village looked really threatening when they were killed off by that late brace of goals, which arrived in the 57th and 62nd minutes. The losers had just put three scores together through Jack McGrath (all frees) to reduce the deficit and get right up on the shoulder of the opposition, 2-8 to 1-10.
However, the Castlecomer boys produced a big, big finish. Padraig Keating burst through to score a good goal, and then he repeated the act in lost time to give a rather lobsided look to the scoreline at the finish.
The losers had slightly the better of things during the first half although they were slow out of the blocks. Before they knew what hit them they wsere 1-2 down, the goal being scored by goalie Eoin Meally from a 20 metre free in the seventh minute.
The Village took off after Ray Lahart opened their account in the ninth minute. An unbroken run of points from Jack McGrath was followed by a goal from Luke Scanlon from the edge of the square in the 26th minute to leave them 1-6 to 1-3 ahead at the break.
They improved that position with a point from Robbie Hayes immediately after the turn, but Erin’s Own took over then. A goal from Andrew Carron lifted them.
With a rush of points from Padraig Keating and Darragh Brennan they looked good when leading by 2-8 to 1-7 heading into the last quarter. A hat trick of points from Jack McGrath opened up the game again as ’Stephens staged another major recovery as they had done in their previous match. Keating then nailed them with a goal from a free.
Scorers: Erin’s Own - Padraig Keating (2-6, 0-4 frees, 0-2m 65s’); Andrew Carron, Eoin Meally (1-0 each); Sean McDermott, Darragh Brennan (0-1 each). James Stephens - Jack McGrath (0-8, frees); Luke Scanlon (1-0); Robbie hayes, Ray Lahart (0-1 each).
Erin’s Own - Eoin Meally, David Moran, Ciaran Wallace, Niall McMahon, Liam Wallace, Robert Moran, Eoin Brennan, Declan Dunne, Colm Delaney, Sean McDermott, Padraig Keating, Noel Callinan, Darragh Brennan, Andrew Carron, Ciaran Brennan.
James Stephens - Gavin Costigan, Conor Browne, Paddy Duggan, Luke Hickey, Harry Wallace, David Hennessy, James Tyrrell, Jack McGrath, Niall Mullins, Matthew McWey, Ben Lahart, Robbie Hayes, Luke Scanlon, Tadhg O’Dwyer, Ray Lahart.