Saint Lachtain’s did their prospects of avoiding the Intermediate relegation dogfight no harm at all with a deserved victory over Fenians (Johnstown) in Lisdowney on Friday evening.
In a tie which was competitive for three-quarters of the 60 minutes, the Freshford side made far better use of the ball than their opponents. Some impressive teamwork among their players, especially in the second half, saw them take control in the closing 15 minutes to run out six-point winners.
A St Lachtain’s attack on four minutes brought the first of many brilliant saves from Fenians goalie James Dermody but when the ball broke kindly for John Fitzpatrick he finished to the net.
Allie Rafter added a point for the winners almost immediately after a great run, with Fenians finally getting off the mark on six minutes when the impressive Mark Webster pointed a free.
Just like last week Webster worked hard around the middle of the pitch for the Johnstown lads and he landed some excellent points from play and frees.
The closeness of the exchanges during the first half saw the sides level on four occasions. Mark Webster edged Fenians ahead on 18 minutes, but Noel McGree levelled two minutes later.
St Lachtain’s were working that little bit harder than their opponents with Cathal O’Leary landing two frees before the interval just after Mark Webster had once again pointed a free for the Johnstown men. Those scores saw St Lachtain’s lead 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval.
The winners were almost through for a second goal after 33 minutes, but once again goalie James Dermody came to the Fenians rescue saving brilliantly from Patrick Killeen.
Dermody was again called into action three minutes later when he parried a Cathal O’Leary shot out for a 65. At this stage St Lachtain’s were getting a grip on the game and that dominance was rewarded with a fine goal from Allie Rafter after he won possession from his side’s puck-out to score.
Just when it seemed that the game was slipping away from Fenians, a speculative delivery from 80 metres from Willie Brennan on 43 minutes went all the way to the Freshford net. Those doughty battlers from Johnstown were back in the game with that score levelling the tie.
It was the winners who responded best with five unanswered points through Cathal O’Leary plus two each from Patrick Killeen and Brian Kennedy, both of whom were outstanding in the second half.
Fenians faded in the closing 10 minutes with only two Conor Tobin pointed frees to show for their efforts. The Freshford side’s improved second half showing was helped by a strong midfield display from Allie Rafter and Brian Kennedy. That duo were at the heart of many St Lachtain’s attacks.
A point from Darren Brennan and two pointed frees from Cathal O’Leary on the call of full time finished the scoring for the Freshford side who ran out deserving six-point victors.
TEAMS & SCORERS
St Lachtain’s - Cathal O’Leary (0-6, 0-5 frees); Patrick Killeen (0-4); Allie Rafter (1-1); John Fitzpatrick (1-0); Brian Kennedy (0-2); James Maher, Noel McGree, Darren Brennan (0-1 each).
Fenians - Mark Webster (0-8, 0-5 frees); Conor Tobin (0-3, 0-2 frees); Willie Brennan (1-0); Niall Carroll, Adam Duggan (0-1 each).
St Lachtain’s - Jordan Burke; Mark Donnelly, Criomhthann Bergin, Cormac Rafter; Darragh Maher, Brendan Quinn, Simon Rafter; Brian Kennedy, Allie Rafter; John Fitzpatrick, James Maher, Darren Brennan; Cathal O’Leary, Patrick Killeen, Noel McGree.
Sub: Paul White.
Fenians - James Dermody; Shane Curran, Tom Bowe, Padraig O’Grady; Sean Brennan, John Henderson, Rory Phelan; Niall Carroll, Mark Webster; Darragh Tobin, Conor Tobin, Adam Duggan; Sean Tobin, Kieran Grehan, Willie Brennan.
Subs: Eoin Phelan, Thomas Sharkey, Cormac Ryan, Pa Duggan.
Referee – Stephen Delaney (Graigue-Ballycallan).
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