Cushinstown are hit for six
JUST FOUR days after running up a 16-point demolition job on Blackwater, Buffers Alley were in fine fettle yet again in dispatching Rathgarogue-Cushinstown with minimum fuss in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship in Farmleigh on Saturday last.
It may have been a different game, with a different opponent, but it bore all the hallmarks of the match earlier in the week. Yet the over-riding feature of both clashes was just how superior the Monamolin men are at this level right now.
Like Blackwater, and unlike Ballygarrett who are the only side to run the Alley close in this campaign, the New Ross District men set up with a conventional formation and had some success with the breeze at their backs in the opening half.
However, Buffers Alley again took control of the second period and eased out to a success that sees them guaranteed of top spot in Group B regardless of what happens in next week's final round of fixtures.
Two exquisite Enda Doran line balls had propelled Rathgarogue-Cushinstown into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes, but the Gorey District side were never headed after Andrew Kenny played in Tomás O'Leary for his first major of a glorious hat-trick.
Yet, just two points separated the sides when Buffers Alley added their second goal in the 23rd minute. This time it was Willie Doran who turned provider for the prolific Keith Burke to bullet home a close-range green flag-raiser.
Ahead by 2-6 to 0-7 at the interval, the Alley men wasted no time in adding to their lead as moments after Burke had an effort saved by Colin Whelan, Tomás O'Leary hared away again to goal.
Despite being on the short end of a lot of the officiating decisions, Buffers Alley continued to pick off scores with Seán Og Whelan, in particular, showing well.
The fourth goal arrived just before the end of the third quarter when O'Leary completed his treble, but Rathgarogue-Cushinstown almost hit back immediately when Enda Doran forced Seamus Kavanagh into a smart save (4-10 to 0-8).
That was as close as the Ballinaboola men, who now race a relegation battle, would come to grabbing a goal. However, their illustrious opponents continued to rub salt into the wounds with further late goals from Burke and a final strike from the in-form Páuric Roche to seal a comprehensive win.
Buffers Alley: Seamus Kavanagh; Paudie Reidy, Bobby Kenny, Robbie Kirwan; Barry Kenny, Ciarán Kenny, Kevin Roche; Pat Doran (0-2, 1 free, 1 '65), Shane Grannell; Seán Og Whelan (0-3), Willie Doran, Keith Burke (2-3, 0-2 frees); Andrew Kenny, Tomás O'Leary (3-4), Páuric Roche (1-3). Subs. - Thomas Dempsey for A. Kenny, inj., Seán Murphy for C. Kenny, inj.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Colin Whelan; Charlie Kent, Francis O'Brien, Peter Aspel; Paudie McGrath, Matthew Cody, Peadar Cody; Eoghan Whelan, Brian O'Neill (0-1); Ollie Bolger (0-6 frees), Danny Martin-Carroll (0-1), Enda Doran (0-2 line balls); James Bolger, Bernard Furlong (0-1), M.J. Kinsella. Subs. - Denis Kent for J. Bolger, Andrew Carroll for Kent.
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).
HOW THEY STAND
Buffers Alley are guaranteed a quarter-final spot regardless of the outcome of Saturday's local derby against St. Patrick's, while there is no way that Rathgarogue-Cushinstown can avoid involvement in the relegation play-offs.
The outcome of the game between the Ballyoughter men and Blackwater in Ballygarrett last night (Monday) will have a crucial bearing on the weekend's action.
The seasiders were hoping to claim outright second spot on six points although if they slipped up they would be locked in that position with Ballygarrett and Naomh Eanna on four.
The other group sees just four points separating top and bottom, with Askamore's local derby against Craanford in Ferns on Sunday set to be the tie of the round. Askamore are on four points while their rivals have three.