Mooncoin blasted out of the blocks and swept St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) in front of them like a raging Saharan sand storm in this most engaging intermediate hurling league clash in Ballyhale, writes Barrie Henriques.
By the 20th minute the Southerners were sitting on a lead of eight points, which was somethat that was certainly beyond the expectations of their most ardent following. Granted, they were favoured by a stiffening breeze.
However, during the closing 10 minutes of the half St Pat’s made valiant efforts to redress the differential. Brian ‘Brookie’ Phelan moved from full-forward to midfield. Joe Brennan adopted a more roaming role, and things started to happen, big things.
Michael Grace opened the scoring with a nice Mooncoin point. A great save by Patrick Kinsella from Conor Delaney in the second minute was important for Mooncoin. Points by the superb Ray Wall (2) and Keith Kirwan (2) saw Mooncoin lead by 0-5 to 0-2 after 11 minutes.
A strong gallop through the Pat’s defence by Cormac Fleming forced a tremendous save from goalie Michael Gannon, but Michael Grace, following Fleming closely, lashed the rebound into the Ballyraggett net.
‘Brookie’ started to weave a bit of magic in his new manor. Joe Brennan became much busier. Suddenly St Pat’s were a changing team. There was a greater urgency about them. They were driving forward in wave after wave of attack.
At half time, Mooncoin looked comfortable when they led by 1-9 to 0-5.
With the breeze, St Patrick’s had reduced the Mooncoin lead to a mere two points by the 46th minute. Joe Brennan (0-4, two frees) and Barry Staunton worked magic for the cause. Ray Wall halted proceedings with a Mooncoin point, but Brennan again threw down the gaultlet with a smashing point.
Nudge and a goal
In the 56th minute a huge delivery from Geoff Brennan landed in the Mooncoin area. Kieran Delaney seemed to get a nudge to force the ball over the line for a goal. Eoghan Bergin shot maroon boys ahead in the 59th minute. Ray Wall levelled matters.
Joe Brennan forced Ballyragget ahead in the 62nd minute, but again Wall levelled matters.
Scorers: Mooncoin - Ray Wall (0-8, six frees); Michael Grace (1-2); Keith Kirwan (0-2); Eoin Henebry (0-1). St Patrick’s - Joe Brennan (0-8, five frees, one 65); Kieran Delaney (1-0); Eoghan Bregin (0-2); Conor Delaney, Brian ‘Brookie’ Phelan, Barry Staunton (0-1 each).
Mooncoin - Paddy Kinsella, Tommy O’Hanlon, Niall Mackey, Conor Brophy, Eoin Crowley, Cormac Daly, Sean Wall, Ray Wall, Stephen Crowley, Cormac Fleming, Seamus Kearns, Eoin Henebry, Keith Kirwan, Diarmuid Mackey, Michael Grace. Subs - Jamie McGrath for Stephen Crowley; Danny Purcell for Cormac Fleming; Niall Madden for Eoin Crowley.
St Patrick’s - Michael Gannon, Paddy Cahill, Stephen Staunton, Robbie Healy, Sean Mooney, Geoffrey Brennan, James Gannon, Brian “Brookie” Phelan, Bill Staunton, Joe Brennan, Niall Staunton, Jody Phelan, Conor Delaney, Eoghan Bergin, Barry Staunton. Subs - Kieran Delaney for Jody Phelan; Mark Staunton for barry Staunton.
Referee - M.O’Sullivan (Shamrocks).