Carrickshock corner back James Grace breaks out of defence during their two point victory over Danesfort in the Michael Lyng Motors Hyundai hurling league on Sunday. Picture: Willie Dempsey
Carrickshock and Danesfort faced the full spectrum of conditions in this Intermediate League clash in Pairc Sheamuis Stiophan on Sunday.
The ground felt more like mid July than the end of September, while the weather ranged from fine and dry to gale-force wind and wintry rain.
Sometimes we can read too much into league performances at this stage of the season, but with the winner most likely to go straight through to the championship quarter final, there was quite a bit at stake in this clash.
Danesfort had the benefit of the first half gale and, for much of that period, looked like they weren’t capitalising to its full extent.
Their attacks were often breaking down somewhere between the Carrickshock half-back and full-back lines with Niall Tennyson commanding things back there and by the first water break Danesfort were just ahead 0-5 to 0-3.
They did stretch it to 0-7 to 0-3 soon after but then Carrickshock produced the only goal of the game and it was fitting that the only green flag was the result of what was perhaps the best move of the match.
Darragh Brennan broke free from just inside the Danesfort half, he fed Kevin Farrell with a perfect pass, and he in turn spotted Damien Walsh sprinting in to the square.
Again the pass was perfect and Walsh made no mistake but Richie Hogan was starting to get on a lot of ball now, winning and converting frees.
And Colm Phelan on the wing had a purple patch before the break, sending over the last score of the half to push Danesfort three clear by half-time, 0-11 to 1-5.
With the rain starting to bucket down and scoring conditions becoming more difficult, a three point half time lead maybe wasn’t a bad return.
The second half opened with Brian O’Donavan breaking free from the throw-in, the Carrickshock midfielder made it all the way to the 21 and a goal chance might have been on, but he took his point.
The thought was that this might be the signal for Carrickshock to start stamping their authority on this game but Danesfort dug in.
Richie Hogan was keeping up his accuracy from placed balls, and ten minutes into the half they had stretched their lead to four.
At the other end Eoghan O’Neill was proving a handful, winning plenty of possession and showing deadly accuracy from frees.
By the second water break Danesfort still held a two point lead and it took until the 25th minute for Carrickshock to finally reel them in.
With Kevin Farrell now helping his half-forward line to finally get on top of Paul Murphy and his able wing-men, it was a smart move by John Power to pick him out with a sublime pass, and Farrell split the posts to level matters.
Farrell was flying it now and within a minute had nudged Carrickshock in front with another from distance, the final score from play.
Eoghan O’Neill continued to punish further Danesfort indiscretions, including a 65 conceded when goal threatened, and Richie Hogan did pull one back.
But Carrickshock were finishing the stronger and held out for a two point victory, 1-14 to 0-15 and it’s on to the business end of the season now.
Danesfort face Conahy Shamrocks in the Intermediate championship 1st Round in two weeks’ time and although there were two tiers separating the sides last term, there is not much between them now and after a mixed league campaign where they suffered two defeats, Danesfort will need drastic improvement ahead of the knockout stages if they are to threaten at the business end of the year.
Carrickshock’s reward for a well merited victory is that quarter-final in three weeks, with the bonus of a League Shield Final against St Martin’s a week before.
Carrickshock - Eoghan O’Neill 0-9 (0-6 Frees, 0-2 65s), Damien Walsh 1-0, Kevin Farrell 0-2, Brian Donovan 0-1, Jamie Power 0-1 (Free), John Power 0-1.
Danesfort - Richie Hogan 0-9 (0-8 Frees), Colm Phelan 0-2, Gary Tynan 0-1, Paddy Hogan 0-1, Dara O’Neill 0-1, Robbie Walsh 0-1.
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