Four first half goals gave Bennettsbridge a huge lift and sent them on their way to a comprehensive victory over Galmoy in this well contested junior hurling championship quarter-final in Jenkinstown on Saturday.
Hugh O’Neill lined out at full-forward and he proved to be a niggling thorn in the side of the Galmoy defence from the off. He was on fire from the off. He hit 2-2 from play during that all action first half barrage.
Nicky Cleere too, was in great form, with his shooting from both from play and from placed balls of the highest order.
In truth the Bennettsbridge men were on top all over the field, and with their half back line in particular dominating in the air under all puck-outs, they supplied a constant stream of possession to their eager forward division.
After O Neill’s early two big strikes the ’Bridge grabbed their third goal when Brian Lannon flicked home despite falling at the same time. At the end of the quarter the winners led by 3-5 to 0-3.
Writing on wall
The writing was already on the wall for the losers. Galmoy did have a golden goal chance in the second minute of the game but Donncha Gray’s shot, after a good run, lacked conviction. Tom Corcoran and Tom Phelan picked off a few points from time to time while Phil Russell converted two frees.
As well as surviving on meagre possession in that period, Galmoy were off target on too many occasions, striking a total of seven wides in the first half when scores were vitally required.
Bennettsbridge had their fourth goal when Sean Morrissey struck to the top corner of the net to leave it 4-12 to 0-6 at the interval.
Galmoy conceded no further goals after the break and fought gamely to get back into the game, but it was always an uphill struggle. They never gave up, with Noel Doherty and Niall Doherty doing most to save face.
It was a Noel Doherty run and pass that set up substitute Padhric Gray for a 52nd minute goal and when Phil Russell one handed a low shot to the net a minute later after a good one-two between the Doherty brothers, the scoreboard looked marginally better.
On this performance Bennettsbridge will take some beating in the remainder of the championship. They have a physically big team with many players who are very good to field the ball in the air.
Scorers: Bennettsbridge - Hugh O’Neill (2-3); Nicky Cleere (0-8, six frees); Sean Morrissey (1-4); Brian Lanon (1-1); James Moran (0-3); Darragh Wafer, Kevin Blanchfield, Liam Blanchfield (0-1 each). Galmoy - Phil Russell (1-3, 0-3 frees); Noel Doherty (0-4, two frees); Padhric Gray (1-0); Jason Stanley, Niall Doherty, Thomas Phelan, Stephen Maher (0-1 each).
Bennettsbridge - Enda Cleere, Sean Weymss, Paul O’Neill, Cormac Wafer, Jason Cleere, Enda Morrissey, Aidan Cleere, Darragh Wafer, Kevin Blanchfield, Sean Morrissey, James Moran, Nicky Cleere, Liam Blanchfield, Hugh O’Neill, Brian Lannon. Subs - Patrick O Neill for B. Lannon; Edward Murphy for A. Cleere; Edward Fitzgerald for N. Cleere; Dylan Walsh for S. Morrissey andWilliam Murphy.
Galmoy - Stephen Murphy, Brian Doherty, Paul Delaney, Brendan Phelan, Jason Stanley, Niall Doherty, John Phelan, Thomas Phelan, Stephen Maher, Tom Corcoran, Nigel Stanley, Phil Russell, Donncha Gray, Noel Doherty, James Dunne. Sub - Frank Phelan for B. Doherty; Padhric Gray for J. Dunne.
Referee - Denis O’Sullivan (John Lockes).