Fast-starting St. Patrick's pushed by Marshalstown
St. Patrick's 4-13 Marshalstown-Castledockrell 2-16
Fast-starting St. Patrick's had just three points to spare ahead of Marshalstown-Castledockrell at the end of proceedings in this Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group A tie in St. Patrick's Park in Enniscorthy on Sunday.
The Camolin men were five points ahead at the break and the gap grew to seven shortly after the resumption, with a promise of plenty more to come.
Instead, by the time referee Brendan Holohan blew the final whistle, there was just a puck of a ball between the sides.
The fading of the effort from the winners coincided with a decline in the contribution from star John Doyle. The talented county Under-21 player was the dominant force of the first-half, during which time he registered 1-6.
On an afternoon which featured half a dozen cracking goals, his was arguably the pick of the bunch, stroked in with real panache to the corner of Mark Brennan's net.
Granted, James Finn replied in kind shortly afterwards for Marshalstown-Castledockrell, on hand to convert after a Michael Morris surge created the opening.
But it was Brennan who was beaten twice more before the interval as first Mossie Morris and then Shane Finn showed there was more to the St. Patrick's attack than Doyle's sweet hitting.
The early pace-setters turned 3-7 to 1-8 ahead and they maintained the edge when the contest resumed with a swift exchange of more goals.
Diarmuid Doyle, an impressive target man for Marshalstown-Castledockrell throughout the hour, hit a beauty off his left side.
Once more the response from the opposition was rapid, with Mossie Morris slamming home his second major after pouncing on a defensive stumble.
Tynan Flynn maintained the initiative for St. Patrick's with a run of three neat points - one from long range, one from the right, and one from the left.
But thereafter, the eventual winners let the initiative slip, recording just one further score in the closing 20 minutes, allowing their pursuers to close.
The Camolin full-back line, admirably led by Michael O'Brien, ensured there were no more goals, most notably when they denied Diarmuid Doyle at a close-range free.
However, there was nothing the full-back line could do about the growing confidence of the Marshalstown-Castledockrell players further out the pitch.
The most notable contribution in the fourth quarter came from Colm Bennett, who mopped up in the half-back line and landed some fine long distance points from placed balls.
The improved form eroded the St. Patrick's lead but never quite enough to set alarm bells ringing too loudly in the Gorey District side's camp.
St. Patrick's: Stuart Quinn; James Cousins, Michael O'Brien, Joe Cousins; Peter Roche, Daryl Murphy, Brian Cadigan; Tommy Morris, Tommy Dunne; Shane Finn (1-0), Dermot O'Leary (0-1), John Doyle (1-9, 0-5 frees); Hughie Doyle, Mossie Morris (2-0), Tynan Flynn (0-3). Sub. - Eamonn O'Leary for H. Doyle (43).
Marshalstown-Castledockrell: Mark Brennan; Adam Harte, John Frayne, Michael Hughes; John Cullen, James Farrell (0-2), Colm Bennett (0-3 frees); Mark Morris, Michael Morris; Keith Brennan, James Finn (1-3), Eoin Bennett (0-2); Diarmuid Doyle (1-5, 0-2 frees), Colm Quigley, Frank Quigley. Subs. - Mark Kehoe for Kelly (35), David O'Connor for Hughes (38), Thomas Bennett for Cullen (42), Darragh Kehoe (0-1) for Quigley (45), Ken Doyle for Harte (51).
Referee: Brendan Holohan (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).