Tiosach maith leath na hoibre is an Irish sean-fhocail saying for “a good start is half the battle” and that certainly applied to Conahy Shamrocks when they overcame Young Ireland’s in the Michael Lyng Motors Intermediate Hurling League in Ballycomey, Castlecomer on Friday evening.
The winners started in whirlwind fashion scoring 1-2 without reply in the opening five minutes.
James Bergin pointed straight from the throw-in and almost immediately Mark Gunner scored the game’s first goal.
Tom Phelan added a point when he collected an Edmond Delaney line ball to score.
Sean Kehoe landed the first point for the Gowran men on six minutes with Mikey Carey adding another six minutes later.
Despite an agonising loss to Carrickshock the previous weekend, Conahy played with plenty of confidence and no little work rate against Young Ireland’s.
James Bergin with a brace and Eoin Cahill added further points for the winners, but Young Ireland’s hit a purple patch after those two Conahy scores raising four white flags without reply through Jack Brennan, Ted Drea and two from Tommy Phelan, one from a free to bring the margin back to four points.
The hurling was certainly robust at this stage but Conahy continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges.
James Bergin landed a brace of points, one from a free with Jack Brennan pointing for Young Ireland’s after a good team move to leave the winners ahead 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval.
Conahy Shamrocks repeated their whirlwind start in the second half with James Bergin landing two points, one from a free.
It got better for the winners on 37 minutes when Bergin collected a delivery from sub Darragh Dooley, which landed short, to score his side’s second goal.
The margin now stood at 10 points with Conahy in control of the game.
A Ted Drea point halted the Conahy momentum, but not for long as James Bergin (free), Thomas Rice and Darragh Dooley landed points to push the margin out to 12 points.
A strong closing 12 minutes from Young Ireland’s saw them reduce the Conahy lead.
Tommy Phelan with three pointed frees led the way with the game entering the closing ten minutes.
James Bergin and Thomas Rice responded with points for the winners who will be disappointed to have only scored a single point in the closing 12 minutes of play, including injury time.
A poor finish cost the winners dearly the previous weekend against Carrickshock when they were in a strong position to close out the game.
Points from Jack Brennan, Padraig Naddy and another Tommy Phelan free narrowed the lead to eight points with Darragh Dooley landing a point for Conahy.
With the game now in injury time, Conahy were comfortably ahead on the scoreboard, but a goal from Tommy Phelan followed by a Sean Carey point brought the margin back to five points.
That ended the scoring with Conahy Shamrocks ahead 2-16 to 1-14, but the winners may yet regret the concession of those late scores if scoring difference is to play a part in the final league table positions.
Conahy Shamrocks were worthy victors and they displayed a strong work ethic all through the game.
They were strong defensively with Ciaran Rice, Philly Cass and Donal Brennan leading the way.
Darren Cuddihy put in another strong performance at midfield with James Bergin the star in a lively Conahy attack with Eoin Cahill and Mark Gunner also playing well.
After a big performance against Thomastown the previous weekend, Young Ireland’s will be disappointed with their display against Conahy and especially the poor start where they allowed the winners to settle early and establish a good lead on the scoreboard.
Best for the Gowran men were Mikey Carey, Jack Brennan, Ted Drea, Tommy Phelan, Paddy Langton and Geoff Brennan.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Conahy Shamrocks - James Bergin (1-9, 0-4 frees); Mark Gunner (1-0); Tom Phelan, Thomas Rice, Darragh Dooley (0-2 each); Eoin Cahill (0-1).
Young Irelands - Tommy Phelan (1-5, 0-5 frees); Jack Brennan (0-3); Ted Drea (0-2); Sean Kehoe, Mikey Carey, Padraig Naddy, Sean Carey (0-1 each).
Conahy Shamrocks - Karl Downey; Ciaran Rice, Philly Cass, Liam Cass; Brian Healy, Donal Brennan, Kieran Mooney; Darren Cuddihy, Tom Phelan; John Mullan, Eoin Cahill, Edmond Delaney; Thomas Rice, James Bergin, Mark Gunner.
Subs: Darragh Dooley, Eoin Carroll.
Young Irelands - Jason Brennan; Pat Farrell, Michael Walsh, Padraig O’Neill; Paddy Langton, Mikey Carey, Seamus Farrell; Jimmy Lennon, Paul Delahunty; Sean Kehoe, Geoff Brennan, Tommy Phelan; Jack Brennan, Ted Drea, Sean Carey.
Subs: Patrick Brennan, Padraig Naddy.
Referee – Eamonn Larkin (James Stephens).
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