Mighty ’Bridge shoot for gold in Leinster

Bennettsbridge attackers, Liam Blanchfield and Brian Lannon close down T.J. Parle (Crossabeg) during the Leinster club JHC semi-final on Sunday. Phtoto: Willie Dempsey
Famous Bennettsbridge will be shooting for gold in Tullamore on Saturday week.

Famous Bennettsbridge will be shooting for gold in Tullamore on Saturday week.

The Kilkenny champions swept through to the Leinster club junior hurling final and a meeting with Shamrocks (Tullamore) in Tullamore on Saturday week (1.30pm) when putting Crossabegn Ballymurn (Wexford) to the sword in a hotly contested semi-final.

The contest was very much alive from over 20 minutes, but when the ’Bridge shot a goal shortly before the break and then resumed in the new half with six scores on the trot they broke the hearts of the opposition.

There was a real edge and confidence about the winners play. They played like a team enjoying the journey in this championship, with top scorer Nickey Cleere (1-6) showing great form while Sean Morrissey hit all the right notes and helped himself to five scores from play.

The half-back line of Jason Cleere, Enda Morrissey and Aidan Cleere was very strong and set up some lovely sweeping moves, and with Darragh Wafer a good link man in midfield, the Noresiders looked impressive in this Enniscorthy clash.

Close quarter

There wasn’t much between the teams during the opening quarter. The ’Bridge then hit a blast of points through Nicky Cleere (2), Sean Morrissey (2) and Cormac Wafer to open up a gap.

When a line ball from Darragh Wafer was swept to the net by Nickey Cleere in the 28th minute it fired the Cats into a strong interval lead of 1-11 to 0-5.

The winners were untouchable after the turn. During the next 10 minute spell they reeled off unanswered points through Nickey Cleere (2), Cormac Wafer, Sean Morrissey, Brian Lannon and Liam Blanchfield to leave the opposition in a near hopeless position (1-17 to 0-5).

The ’Bridge took their foot off the gas after that. They were out-scored to the tune of 0-5 to 0-2 during the closing 20 minutes, but they never looked in any danger of missing out on what will be their first appearance in a Leinster final.

SCORERS: Bennettsbridge - Nicky Cleere (1-6, 0-2 frees); Sean Morrissey (0-5); Cormac Wafer, Brian Lannon, Liam Blanchfield, Aidan Cleere (0-2 each). Crossabeg Ballymurn - Barry Murphy (0-4, three frees); Mark Campbell (0-2, one free); Oisin Foley, Conor Shovlin, Eoin McDonald, Seamus Carroll, Paudie Foley (0-1 each).

Bennettsbridge - Enda Cleere, Sean Wemyss, Robert Lennon (capt), James Moran, Jason Cleere, Enda Morrissey, Aidan Cleere, Darragh Wafer, Kevin Blanchfield, Cormac Wafer, Sean Morrissey, Nicky Cleere, Hugh O’Neill, Brian Lannon, Liam Blanchfield. Subs - William Murphy, Edward Fitzgerald, Micheal Shiel, Paul O’Neill, Patrick O’Neill.

Crossabeg Ballymurn - Mark Dempsey, Paul Larrissy, T.J. Parle, Alan Byrne, Bill Eviston, Paudie Foley, Billy Roche, Seamus Carroll, Conor Devereaux, Mark Campbell, Eoin McDonald, Barry Murphy, David Jackman, Des Kehoe, Oisin Foley. Subs - David Bury, Paddy Devereaux, Cormac O’Rourke, Conor Shovlin.

Referee - Patrick Murphy (Carlow).