A solid performance from James Maher helped St Lachtain’s march into the semi-finals of the intermediate championship - but they faced a real battle from John Lockes. Picture: Billy Culleton
Two Shane Donnelly goals, each one scored at either end of the game, went a long way towards helping St Lachtain’s (Freshford) move into the semi-finals of the intermediate hurling championship as they piled the woe on John Lockes (Callan).
The combination of a poor run in the league, as well as the absence of a number of players through emigration, meant Callan went into Sunday’s game at well-presented Tom Ryall Park as underdogs. That feeling didn’t get any better as, within 45 seconds of the start, goalkeeper Brian Doheny - who again had a star game in goal - was forced to pick the ball out of the back of his net.
From the throw-in Freshford forced the pace. The sliotar was slipped through the Callan defence to the small square, where corner-forward Shane Donnelly was waiting to swipe it to the net. Within 90 seconds the winners had added two points through Liam Hickey (free) and smart wing forward Alex Rafter to add to the John Lockes’ tale of woe.
The Callan men hit back, and four unanswered points from the stick of young Mikey Prendergast had the Callan ship back on the high seas on an even keel. Prendergast was unerring all day from placed balls, a big plus for the club given the youthful exuberance of the player.
By the water break St Lachtain’s led by 1-4 to 0-4. Liam Hickey hit frees for his side with a consummate ease, one a monstrous effort from all of 100 metres. However, by the 22nd minute John Lockes had hauled themselves level with the favourites.
In a tight finish to the half, the winners led by 1-8 to 0-8 at the break.
John Lockes were well in the game at this stage, but the concession of that early goal would haunt them.
By the 41st minute a super Mikey Prendergast pointed free had the sides within two points of each other. The Lockes were causing plenty of trouble for St Lachtain’s who brought on Noel McGree to put some impetus into their game, but at the second water break that opening goal still divided the sides.
At the 58 minute mark, that deficit had been cut to two points - a dangerous lead, but Lachtain’s were on the brink of making the game safe. A second Shane Donnelly goal, scored with four minutes remaining (including added time) sealed victory.
On balance they deserved their win, but hadn’t reckoned on such a tough challenge from the Lockes.
Freshford had solid performers in Harry Burke, Paul White, James and Dara Maher, Liam Hickey, and Shane Donnelly. For John Lockes, who left nothing in the dressing room, Brian Doheny had a super game in goal. Cathal McGrath, Ryan Bergin, Bill McDowell, Adam O’Sullivan and Mikey Prendergast performed with distinction.
St Lachtain’s - Shane Donnelly (2-0); Liam Hickey (0-8, 0-7 frees, 0-1 65); Alex Rafter, James Maher, Dara Maher 0-2 each).
John Lockes - Mikey Prendergast (0-10 frees); Ryan Bergin (0-2, frees); Shane Bergin, Matthew Houlihan, Eoin Scriven, Cian Phelan (0-1 each).
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