A DOUBLE blast of goals from Diarmuid Mackey during the opening half proved all important as Mooncoin secured their intermediate hurling status and advanced to the championship quarter-finals by beating Tullogher-Rosbercon in Mullinavat by 2-14 to 0-15, writes John Knox.
Mackey struck in the third and 15th minutes, the latter from a 45 metre free that was misjudged by the ’keeper before the ball fell into the net, to fire his side 2-2 to 0-5 in front in what was a spicy enough encounter at times on Sunday.
Immediately after the second goal Michael Grace rifled over a nice point from the right wing to give breeze backed and somewhat unsure Mooncoin a lift they needed. The winners found a more assured stride after that, but it was never an easy journey as the teams tore into each other, and literally that during three bouts of fisticuffs during the closing period.
While the fighting among the players was one thing, the clash produced another black mark through the constant incursions on to the field by two Mooncoin officials, despite numerous requests from linesmen to desist. It looked awful, and showed absolute disrespect to the match officials in the way their pleas were ignored, constantly.
Fight against drop
Tullogher, who now face a fight against the drop back to junior level, opened the scoring when their star player and centre-back, Pat Hartley, blasted over a fine point from 50 metres. Mackey’s first goal followed.
He finished from the edge of the square at the Waterford end after a determined Danny Purcell burst took the ball into the danger area. Tullogher hit back for points from John Barron and Moling Cotterell to draw level (1-0 to 0-3) and the teams were still together nearing the end of the quarter, 1-2 to 0-5.
Mackey’s second goal arrived after that, and then Grace’s point. From there to the rest eight points were equally divided as the teams went at it hell for leather. Mooncoin showed 2-7 to 0-8 in front at half-way.
Mackey posted another point shortly after the break to help settle nerves, and there was real fire in the winners play, especially in defence, throughout this half. The sextet played very well, showing real aggression, but in a disciplined manner as they thundered into every contest for the ball.
Tullogher just couldn’t break down the defence, and they were restricted to a mere three points from play during the half. County star, Walter Walsh, was swallowed up every time he contested the ball as the opposition snuffed out any potential trouble spot.
After the aforementioned Mackey point the losers hit back for a minor from a free by Liam Barron. Mooncoin shot four wides during this period as they spurned the chance to open out a gap that might have knocked a bit of the fight out of the opposition.
The divide generally alternated between three and five points, but it went to the half dozen mark in the 54th minute when Diarmuid Mackey converted a 65 (2-13 to 0-13).
Tullogher continued to chase with all their might and back-to-back points from John Barron and Pat Harley left them in with a shout as the clock ticked down. Jamie McGrath hit a sweet Mooncoin point on the turn nearing the finish that drew an excited response from the good size crowd.
It was Mooncoin’s day. There was an assurance and commitment that ran right through the team that just had to be admired. The Mackeys’, O’Hanlon, Wall, Daly, Kearns and company were star performers.
Pat Hartley was wonderful for the losers, and he received good support from Peter Meggs during the opening half, Liam and John Barron and Terence Croke.
Scorers: Mooncoin – Diarmuid Mackey (2-3, 1-1 frees, point 65); Danny Purcell (0-3); Michael Grace, Ray Wall, Keith Kirwan (0-2 each); Cormac Daly, Jamie McGrath (0-1 each). Tullogher-Rosbercon – Liam Barron (0-6, frees); John Barron (0-3, one free); Pat Hartley, Richard Dollard (0-2 each); Moling Cotterell, Walter Walsh (0-1 each).
Mooncoin – Paddy Kinsella, Cormac Daly, Niall Mackey, Liam Hennebry, Tomas O’Hanlon, Eddie Mackey, Seamus Kearns, Alan Walsh, Jamie McGrath, Michael Grace, Ray Wall, Keith Kirwan, David O’Brien, Diarmuid Mackey, Danny Purcell. Subs – Eoin Hennebry for D. O’Brien; Mark Fitzgerald for K. Kirwan.
Tullogher-Rosbercon – Martin Roche, Declan Grennan, John Hartley, Terence Croke, Anthony Cottrell, Pat Hartley, John Grennan, John Cotterell, Liam Barron, Moling Cotterell, Richard Dollard, John Barron, Walter Walsh, Martin Bookle, Peter Meggs. Subs – Tony Conway for D. Grennan; Eoin Mullally for M.Bookle; Cian O’Donoghue for J. Grennan.
Referee – Denis O’Sullivan (John Lockes).