A FIRST half exhibition of accurate shooting helped St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) get the better of Bennettsbridge in the junior hurling championship on Saturday.
Played in ideal conditions in Clara, the Saints won the toss and elected to start with the breeze at their backs. This proved to be a good decision, as they had stormed into a seven-point lead (0-9 to 0-2) after the first quarter.
By the 23rd minute St Patrick’s had increased that lead into double figures (0-12 to 0-2). Even at this early stage they looked set for victory given that Bennettsbridge were now conceding too many frees.
Pat’s were impressive
St Patrick’s were impressive in their accuracy in the opening half, and didn’t register their first wide of the game until the 24th minute. At half-time they were still ten points to the good (0-14 to 0-4).
Aided by the breeze Bennettsbridge started the second half faced with an uphill battle to get back into the game. By the three-quarters stage they had reduced the arrears to eight points (0-15 to 0-7), but the game was ended as a contest when Ballyragget full-forward Bill Staunton fired home two goals in the space of five minutes.
Now backed by a 14-point cushion, the Saints were never in danger of being caught, eventually cruising into the next round with 11 points to spare.
Bennettsbridge will be disappointed with this result as they had put in a big effort in training this year. However, they have a young panel and will have benefited from this year’s campaign. St Patrick’s on the other hand would look to have a sporting chance of winning silverware in the near future.
St Patrick’s - Michael Gannon, John Mooney, Geoff Morrissey, Stephen Staunton, Kieran Delaney, Geoff Brennan, Stephen Roberts, Brian ‘Brook’ Phelan, James Gannon, Kevin Kelly, Seoirse Kenny, Jody Phelan, Michael Brennan, Bill Staunton, Joe Brennan. Subs: Eoin Bergin, Robert Healy, Alan Ruth, Sean Mooney.
Bennettsbridge - Enda Cleere, James Dowling, Richie Walsh, Paul O’Neill, Cormac Wafer, Patrick O’Neill, Eddie Fitzgerald, Daragh Wafer, Edward Murphy, Aidan Cleere, Brian Lannon, Nicky Cleere, Enda Morrissey, Garret Hickey, Hugh O’Neill. Subs: Syd Kelly, Tom Kiely, John Hayes.
Referee - John Bennett (Tullogher-Rosbercon).