O’Loughlin Gaels moved to the top of Group 3 in the All County junior hurling league when they got the better Barrow Rangers (Paulstown) in a lively game played in ideal conditions at well appointed St John’s Park on Friday evening.
The early stages were dominated by Barrow Rangers. Inspired by veteran full-forward, Dermot Maher they ran up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after just nine minutes and were most definitely the better side during those opening exchanges.
However, despite their superiority at this early stage all of the Paulstown/Goresbridge side’s scores had come from the stick of the aforementioned full-forward, Dermot Maher from frees. The city side’s lone score came from Nigel Skehan, also from a free.
Gradually O’Loughlin’s began to come to grips with the hard running Paulstown side. A couple of attacks came to nothing before John Doyle grabbed a sliotar about 50 metres out and he fired over a great point.
In driving seat
However, another Dermot Maher free kept ’Rangers in control. Then three unanswered points from Kevin O’Brien, Jack Nolan and an excellent effort from Rick Leydon levelled it all up after 17 minutes. In the 20th minute Andy Cantwell took advantage of confusion in the Paulstown defence and cracked the sliotar to the net to put the city side in front for the first time.
O’Loughlin’s were now in the driving seat and points from Kevin O’Brien, Nigel Skehan (free) and Jack Nolan put them six points clear (1-8 to 0-5) as the first half went into injury-time. Denis Kealy finished the first half scoring with a point for ’Rangers to leave O’Loughlin’s five points clear at the break, 1-8 to 0-6.
The second half started with the ever accurate Dermot Maher pointing a free in the opening minute. Maher was then just off target with another free before Martin Bambrick landed a fine point for the Paulstown side.
’Rangers were now battling hard to stay in the match and a foul on the aforementioned Bambrick gave Jason Holden the opportunity to reduce the arrears to two points, O’Loughlin’s 1-8, Barrow Rangers 0-9. Nigel Skehan increased O’Loughlin’s lead to three with a pointed free before the St John’s Park side had a player sent off for what could best be described as a wild pull.
The sending off didn’t appear to upset the city side too much and they continued to stay ahead of a tiring Paulstown side. Nigel Skehan edged O’Loughlin’s four points in front with a pointed free.
Kept in touch
Cathal English kept ’Rangers in touch with a similar score from play in the 52nd minute. Jason Holden and Nigel Skehan exchanged points from frees in the 54th and 55th minutes.
A point from Dermot Maher followed to leave just two points between the sides. Padraig Meaney extended O’Loughlin’s lead to three points in the 59th minute before substitute Danny Lenihan fired home the insurance goal for the city side in the 60th minute.
Overall O’Loughlin’s were the better side and htey deserved their win against a somewhat under-strength ’Rangers side that was over reliant on the long serving Dermot Maher for scores for from frees.
Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels - Nigel Skehan (0-5, four frees); John Doyle (1-1); Danny Lenihan (1-0); Kevin O’Brien (0-2); Jack Nolan (0-2); Padraig Meaney, Ricky Leydon (0-1 each). Barrow Rangers - Dermot Maher (0-7, six frees); Jason Holden (0-2, one free); Cathal English, Martin Bambrick, Denis Kealy (0-1 each).
O’Loughlin Gaels - Sam Johnstone, Michael Twomey, Mark Croughan,Brian Murphy, Pauric Meaney, Eoin Grant, Paddy Cantwell, Kevin O Brien, Stephen Tyrell, John Doyle, David Broderick, Andy Cantwell, Nigel Skehan, Rick Leydon, Jack Nolan. Subs - Danny Lenihan for A. Cantwell (inj); Michael Lambert for J. Doyle.
Barrow Rangers - Graeme English, Kieran Brennan, John Kealy, Ed Prendergast, Tom Brennan, Paddy Purcell,William Hennessey, Martin Bambrick, Thomas Whitely, Jason Holden, Tommy Brennan, Cathal English Ciaran Breen, Dermot Maher, Denis Kealy. Subs Derek McEvoy for T. Brennan; John Brennan for D. Kealy; Aaron Nolan for C. Breen.
Refereee – John Bennett (Tullogher/Rosbercon).