Emeralds (Urlingford) booked their place in the intermediate hurling semi-finals in style when they breezed past fancied St Lachtain’s (Freshford).
Kilkenny star, Aidan Fogarty was the main performer for the winners. He dictated the flow of the game from the start, and he hurt the opposition at every turn.
The Emeralds team simply out played St Lachtain’s all over the field. Freshford had started the better of the two sides. They were highly fancied and they really looked the part when they started confidently. However, they flattered to deceive.
Shane Donnelly opened the scoring with a well taken point. Brian Troy pointed a massive effort from wing back before an Aidan Fogarty score from a free pushed Emeralds ahead in the seventh minute.
The action was sluggish at the start, but Shane Donnelly sparked life into proceedings in the eight minutes. A hopeful ball forward sailed over the heads of last line defenders, Damien Fitzgerald and Joey Doheny to Donnelly, who rifled the sliotar to the net.
He celebrated with delight, and things were looking good for St Lachtain’s. When the Urlingford management switched the impressive Brian Troy to the corner to mark Donnelly, the latter was kept in check.
Francis Clohessy and Bill Beckett both pointed from the centre forward area, but the tide had already started to turn Emeralds way. Aidan Fogarty pointed a free and Pa Doheny shot over with a lovely long range effort to leave the teams on level terms.
Before the break the now strong moving Emerald were to put over another five points, the first two coming from Aidan Fogarty placed efforts. He then made it three in-a-row, the third from play, using his pace to scald his marker.
Pa Doheny robbed possession and struck gold with a lovely strike from way out before a Bill Beckett free put Freshford’s third on the ’board. Another Fogarty free struck home so that at the break Emeralds led by 0-11 to 1-3, which was a good position bearing in mind their ordinary start.
Even when playing against the breeze, St Lachtain’s had looked the weaker of the two teams by this stage. Emeralds, who were without Derek Lyng, were by far the sturdier team. Even the younger members of the back division seemed to have a special hardness just for this derby tie.
Eoin Moriarty epitomised the spirit, keeping his man on a tight rein and showing steel in the tackle. Their cool headedness seemed to upet the Freshford forwards, who lacked cohesion.
They lacked any steel in their defence, which surprised.
Only for a defensive error, Emeralds would have been further ahead. Their midfield dominated for most of the half. Emeralds made one change at the break, bringing on the classy Conor Martin.
He picked up possession straight from the throw-in. Taking it past three opponents he side-stepped the last man and shimmied until he was free and slotted over for a great individual score.
Pa Doheny followed up with a long range free before Noel McGree bulled his way through the Emeralds defence to shoot a point. A Fogarty solo and score continued the Emeralds impressive restart. Brian Campion added another also.
Beckett pointed a free and after 37 minutes Emeralds were seven ahead. Substitute Paul Guinan had a chance at goal, but ’keeper Shane Moriarty rushed his effort and Guinan failed to capitalise on the chance. The big impact came from nothing; a long hopeful ball dropped in to target man Alan Guilfoyle, who was being held up well by Michael Kavanagh.
The ball fell to ground and Guilfoyle whipped on it, sending the sliotar flying over the line. Liam Hickey gave the Emeralds a scare just after Guilfoyles goal, bearing down on goal before he was rushed by the full back line. Shooting early, his effort ricocheted off the post and fell to sub Steven Farrell.
His ground effort was knocked out for a 65 which Becket pointed. In the 48th Michael Kavanagh was shown a straight red, which hurt the losers. With the extra man, Emeralds pushed on strongly. Padraig Phelan pointed from midfield.
Brian Kennedy responded for the losers before a second goal by Guilfoyle flattened the Freshford challenge. Another long ball, this time a free, dropped into the packed square. Guilfoyle whipped and the ball neatly into the bottom corner of the net.
Aidan Fogarty added a point from a free before Freshford enjoyed a slice of luck. James Maher cleared a ball out of defence, dropping it towards ’keeper Shane Moriarty. The ball popped out of the guardian’s hand, and while he caught it again and cleared he had stepped over the line, apparently.
Fogarty popped over another free and Emeralds were steady again after a brief hiccup. Clohessy added a massive score on the hour mark, a sky high ball ball eventually dropping over bar to prompt roars of delight from the Urlingford crowd.
Joey Kavanagh rounded off the scoring. Emeralds were over the moon with delight at the final whistle. Having dumped one of the favourites out of the championship they now feel they have a real chance of success. And why not?
Scorers: Emeralds - Aidan Fogarty (0-9, 0-7 frees); Alan Guilfoyle (2-0); Francis Clohessy, Pa Doheny (0-3 each); Brian Troy, Conor Martin, Brian Campion, Padraig Phelan, Joey Kavanagh (0-1 each). St Lachtain’s - Shane Donnelly (1-1); Bill Beckett (0-4, 0-3 frees); James Maher (1-0); Noel McGree, Brian Kennedy, Liam Hickey (0-1 each).
Emeralds - Shane Moriarty, Thomas Moriarty, Damien Fitzgerald, Joey Doheny, Eoin Moriarty, Pa Doheny, Brian Troy, Padraig Phelan, Shane Norton, Conor Martin, Francis Clohessy, Cathal Walsh, Brian Campion, Alan Guilfoyle, Aidan Fogarty. Subs - Joey Kavanagh.
St Lachtain’s - Robbie Dwling, Niall Phelna, Michael Kavanagh, Tommy Flynn, James Maher, Brian Kennedy, Brendan Quinn, Noel McGree, Mark Kavanagh, Liam Hickey, Bill Beckett, Barry Hughes, Philip Campion, Colin Corcoran, Shane Donnelly. Subs: Simon Rafter, Paul Guinan, Johnny Fitzpatrick, Steven Farrell.
Referee - Pat Dunphy (Carrigeen).