Alley enjoy edge after four in a row from Dempsey
FOUR POINTS in a row from Owen Dempsey kept Buffers Alley's hopes of a knockout place alive in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship in Camolin on Friday last.
With the scores tied (1-11 to 2-8), the Monamolin man reeled off a string of two sterling frees and a pair of lovely points from play to give his club a lead that they could hang on to.
Both sides came into the game with back-to-back losses under their belts and the importance of this fixture for both resulted in a nervy opening. However, the second period produced plenty of excitement as Liam Mellows fought back from a deficit to take the lead before going down gallantly in the end.
With the scores tied at two apiece at the end of the first quarter, the Alley went on a scoring run that would help them take a six-point interval lead.
Ross Donohoe, very impressive throughout for the victors, grabbed a trio of minors and then played a superb line ball for the opening goal. The midfielder's high, floated effort broke to hotshot Dempsey and there was no way the in-form attacker was going to miss (1-6 to 0-3 at half-time).
Apart from Oliver O'Leary making a good save from Yusif Frih's shot, Liam Mellows didn't create much in the first period. They did get three dead balls from Stephen O'Rafferty, and when the free-taker added another two shortly after the re-start his side was back in the game.
It was O'Rafferty who got his team's first score from play, a superb, low strike to the net after he collected Danny Gardiner's long punt forward to put two between the sides (1-7 to 1-5).
Points from John Lee Myler, Dempsey and John Moran increased the lead to five but, after minors at the other end from Aaron Condren, O'Rafferty and Richard Farrell, Jesse Foley's long-range free was deflected into the Buffers Alley net off a defender's stick to give Liam Mellows a surprise lead (2-8 to 1-10).
It lasted just seconds as Donohue equalised with a fine individual score and Dempsey's run gave his side breathing space. Foley and Frih did add points late on but it wasn't enough for Liam Mellows who need at least one win in the final two game to avoid a relegation decider.
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Colm Og Doran, Alan Doyle, Aaron Redmond; Michael Sinnott (capt.), John Farrell, Robbie Kirwan; Ross Donohoe (0-4, 1 free, 1 '65), Conor Kenny; James Foley (0-1), Darragh Butler, John Lee Myler (0-1); John Moran (0-2), Paul Doran, Owen Dempsey (1-7, 0-4 frees). Sub. - Jim Hughes for P. Doran (35).
Liam Mellows: Seán Roche; Peter Fogarty, Danny Gardiner (capt.), Conor Cleary; Andy Merrigan, Risteárd Kinsella, Pádraig Byrne; Marc Halpin, Jesse Foley (1-1, 1-0 free); Joe Gardiner, Aaron Condren (0-1), Stephen O'Rafferty (1-6, 0-6 frees); Brendan Halpin, Richard Farrell (0-1), Yusif Frih (0-1). Subs. - Tommy Dixon for Farrell (57), Jody O'Shaughnessy for O'Rafferty (57).
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).