In a game rich in skill; absolute in commitment and sporting too, Tullogher-Rosbercon earned some Southern comfort when scoring their first win.
This intermediate hurling league tie in Bennettsbridge on Sunday throbbed from start to finish.
And until referee, John Walsh, made the final call in the 63rd minute it was there to be won or lost. The last play was a 20 metre free by St Lachtain’s (Freshford) star performer, Bill Beckett just to the left of the country end goal.
The Kilkenny intermediate player went for broke. The shot was stopped. There wasn’t even time for the puck-out.
Tullogher-Rosbercon celebrated their first win, which on the evidence on this strong showing, was a fact hard to credit.
From the off this was an engrossing contest. On one side Tullogher had mighty men - Walter Walsh, Pat Hartley, John Grennan, John Barron and others.
On the other St Lachtain’s had their equals in Brian Kennedey, Benny Quinn, Noel McGree, the magnificent Bill Beckett and others.
The head on collision between two teams intent on playing a good game and winning threw up a contest of wonderful proportions. Hurling can throw up some lovely surprises!
St Lachtain’s opened backed by the fresh breeze blowing into the country end goal. They committed a foul on the throw-in and sure striking Tullogher free taker, Cian O’Donoghue hit the spot. A reply was posted within 90 seconds by Bill Beckett.
The winners regained the lead through John Barron, made by a lovely pass from Walter Walsh, in the fourth minute. They were never caught again, but they were never too far away.
Their best position of the half was attained at the break, when a late point from Walsh, his third, left them 0-10 to 0-6 ahead.
St Lachtain’s never entertained thoughts that they might not have done enough.
They opened the second half with two points from the inspiring Beckett. Alas, there was a telling sign. Up to this their only two scores were Beckett (6) and flying midfielder, Noel McGree (2).
They needed more from more!
A chop down on Walsh earned Cian O’Donoghue a settling point for Tullogher. St Lachtain’s fobbed off the loss and claimed three of the next four to make it game on (0-12 to 0-11).
Tullogher stood firm in the face of this brazen approach. In the 45th mintue John Cotterell stole a loose hand pass and charged towards goal. He was upended.
O’Donoghue pointed from 20 metres. The same player did the same when Edmund Cullinane was fouled. And he completed a hat trick smartly before Walter Walsh upped the divide to 0-16 to 0-11.
It looked a significant move. Not in this match! Beckett took up the challenge. The next four scores were his. It was a single score game again.
Moments later a long clearance from the Tullogher defence fell in space and Edmund Cullinane galloped on to his. His whistling strike was turned over the bar spectacularly by ’keeper, Robbie Dowling.
Then came the final act, Beckett’s free. Tullogher survived!
Scorers: Tullogher-Rosbercon - Cian O’Donoghue (0-7, six frees); Walter Walsh (0-5); Edmund Cullinane (0-2); Brendan Lawlor, Moling Cotterell, John Barron (0-1 each). St Lachtain’s - Bill Beckett (0-11, six frees); Noel McGree (0-3); Barry Hughes (0-1).
Tullogher-Rosbercon - Martin Roche, John Hartley, John Grennan, Sean Murray, Anthony Cotterell, Pat Hartley, Donnacha O’Connor, Brendan Lawlor, Richie Dollard, Walter Walsh, John Cotterell, Moling Cotterell, Cian O’Donoghue, Edmund Cullinane, John Barron. Subs - Peter Meggs for R. Dollard; Eoin Mullally for P. Meggs.
St Lachtain’s - Robbie Dowling, Michael Kavanagh, Niall Phelan, Tommy Flynn, James Maher, Brian Kennedy, Benny Quinn, Mark Kavanagh, Noel McGree, John Fitzpatrick, Bill Beckett, Barry Hughes, Philip Campion, Seamus Hayes, Shane Donnelly. Subs - Michael McCormack for J. Maher; Colin Corcoran for S. Hayes.
Referee - John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).