McDonald turns from stopper to point-scorer
THE VERSATILITY of county star Conor McDonald proved to be the defining factor as Gorey Community School advanced to the All-Ireland Community Schools Senior hurling semi-final after defeating Cashel Community School in Tinryland, Co. Carlow.
The game's opening featured with skill and physicality as Cashel's Conor Devitt, Michael Ryan and Stephen Quirke matched the spirited efforts of Marc Halpin, Jason Redmond and Cathal Dunbar. Gearóid Cullen earned a free which was converted by David Kennedy in the fifth minute.
However, the Tipperary representatives edged ahead and Gorey unluckily suffered from injuries as Michael O'Brien retired from the game with a shoulder problem while Gary Molloy's ear wound in the 14th minute required surgery later that day in Dublin.
Cashel's efforts were halted by the efficient goalkeeping skills of Conor McDonald, while his Cashel counterpart, Johnny Walsh, also did well. Heated exchanges near the end of the first-half meant that Walter O'Carroll was dismissed for a second yellow card.
This proved invaluable for the Slaneysiders as Gearóid Cullen, Kevin Molloy, Cathal Dunbar and David Kennedy pointed. Cashel's Cillian Walsh repaired some of the damage in the final minute of play as he weaved through the defence to earn an impressive major, but Gorey Community School led at the break by 0-8 to 1-2.
Gorey were first out of the traps in the second-half as Cormac Moore pointed with just 30 seconds gone, while David Kennedy did the same soon after. Cashel's Josh Keane was determined to reduce the lead as he picked out Conor Cashman who rifled the ball to the net.
Cillian Walsh then scrambled the ball over the goal-line in the fourth minute. Despite this, Gorey responded instantly as Cormac Moore regained composure for his side when he sprinted through to blast the ball to the roof of the net with twelve minutes gone.
Conor McDonald's move to the full-forward berth changed the face of the game soon after. Within five minutes, he had pointed on five occasions but this trend was bucked by Josh Keane who secured Cashel's fourth goal seconds later.
Keane's next point was sandwiched between two more scores claimed by Conor McDonald. Liam Foley and Josh Keane pointed for the Premier county side in the final five minutes but three late Conor McDonald points sealed a marvellous victory for Gorey C.S.
Gorey C.S.: Conor McDonald (Naomh Éanna, 0-8, 2 frees); Ross Murphy (Naomh Éanna), Michael O'Brien (St. Patrick's), Marc Halpin (Liam Mellows); Gary Molloy (Naomh Éanna), Jason Redmond (Naomh Éanna), Eoin Corcoran (Ballygarrett); Cathal Dunbar (Ballygarrett, 0-1), David Kennedy (Naomh Éanna, 0-5 frees); Daryl Murphy (St. Patrick's), Gearóid Cullen (Naomh Éanna, 0-1), Kevin Molloy (Naomh Éanna, 0-1); Cormac Moore (Ballygarrett, 1-1), Michael Hamilton (St. Patrick's, 0-1), Liam Condren (Liam Mellows). Subs. - Alan McPartlan (Naomh Éanna), Rhys Owley (Tara Rocks), Ashley Tully (St. Patrick's), Aodhán Doyle (Naomh Éanna), Oisín Dunbar (Ballygarrett), James Teal (Buffers Alley), Michael Carroll (St. Patrick's), Kevin Byrne (Liam Mellows), Michael Dwyer (Naomh Éanna), Lee Owley (Tara Rocks).
Cashel C.S.: Johnny Walsh; Shane Skelly, Killian Loughman, William Purcell; Conor Devitt, James Cummins, Paudie O'Carroll; Michael Ryan, Stephen Quirke; Liam Fahy, Josh Keane, James Doyle; Walter O'Carroll, Cillían Maher, Cillían Walsh. Subs. - Conor Cashman.