Lack of punch up front cost St. Peter's dearly
A STUNNING third quarter that saw them turn a two-point interval deficit into a five-point lead proved decisive as Castlecomer C.S. eventually held out for a one-goal victory over a battling St. Peter's College in this exciting Leinster Colleges Senior hurling 'A' championship quarter-final at Bellefield on Saturday last.
The Kilkenny side won because they managed to get the only goal which arrived two minutes into the second-half when Ollie Feeney forced the ball over the line from a goalmouth scramble. And it turned out to be the most crucial score as St. Peter's were unable to haul the deficit back despite a spirited final quarter.
St. Peter's opened impressively with two pointed frees from Billy Dunne, son of Wexford manager Liam, but Shane Kinsella was equally impressive from placed balls and the sides were deadlocked (0-4 each) at the end of the opening quarter.
Even at this early stage it was becoming quite apparent that St. Peter's would be relying on the free-taking accuracy of Dunne if they were to get a result, as they lacked the physical power up front to create goal chances, being out-muscled by a physically strong Castlecomer defence.
Dunne's frees were proving crucial as he continued to punish indiscretions, but it also took some excellent defensive hurling from the half-back line of Murtagh Joyce, Pádraig Foley and the impressive Aaron Maddock, along with staunch play on the fringe of the square from Simon Donohoe, to keep their opponents at bay.
St. Peter's went on to strike three successive points through Dunne frees, with Kinsella managing to hit back for Castlecomer to leave the Wexford college leading by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval.
After repelling their opponents for much of the opening half, Castlecomer surged into the second period. A Kinsella pointed free inside 60 seconds, followed by Feehan's goal one minute later, transformed the game. Eoin Brennan, Feehan and Podge Delaney tagged on points to leave them dramatically leading by 1-9 to 0-7 after 42 minutes.
With Dunne continuing to show real accuracy from frees, St. Peter's reduced the deficit to two points (1-12 to 0-13) as the game moved into additional time, but a Kinsella pointed free ensured victory for Castlecomer who stood firm in the face of a late surge from their opponents.
St. Peter's can have few complaints as they could only manage a meagre 0-2 from play, with only Donal Shanley and Billy Dunne possessing the skills to take on their opponents up front.
St. Peter's forced a '65 in the closing seconds of additional time but amazingly referee Paud O'Dwyer - a former Rathgarogue-Cushinstown clubman - blew for full-time and didn't allow the placed ball to be taken, much to the annoyance of the Wexford side.
Castlecomer C.S.: Jason Shore; Paddy Brennan, Nicholas Feehan, Andrew Dowling; Conor Delaney, Ciarán Wallace, Billy Coss; Dean Shortle, Eoin Brennan (0-2); Shane Kinsella (0-7 frees), Podge Delaney (0-2), Shane Rice (0-1); Donal Shore, Darragh Brennan, Ollie Feehan (1-1).
St. Peter's College: Oliver O'Leary; Jim Rossiter, Simon Donohoe, Jack Fenlon; Murtagh Joyce (0-1), Pádraig Foley, Aaron Maddock; Conor Devereux, Joe O'Connor; Donal Shanley (0-1), Pádraig Wafer, Donal Kelly; Billy Dunne (0-11 frees), Bill Eviston, Harry O'Connor. Sub. - Jake Firman for Kelly.
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).
New Ross Standard