Maloney's majors book U-21 final spot
GOALS IN either half by full-forward Dean Maloney were the difference as Forth and& Bargy Gaels qualified for the Under-21 hurling Roinn 1 championship final at the expense of a resilient Ballinastragh Gaels in Oulart on Tuesday last.
The Gorey District champions were down to the bare bones with just 16 available players, but they put in a sterling effort and on another day might have got the rub of the green they needed to pull off a minor upset.
Forth and Bargy, the amalgamation of St. Fintan's, Our Lady's Island and St. Mary's (Rosslare), have a strong group of players, and they proved their quality again with a hard-earned victory.
There was very little in the match early on as the teams shared the first six points. Scores by Eoin Wright, Colm Kinsella and Maloney gave the Wexford District winners the lead, but a trio from Dean O'Toole tied the contest.
Conor Byrne's point in the 18th minute gave Ballinastragh their only lead of the game but the advantage lasted less than 30 seconds as Maloney got in behind the full-back line for the first time and rattled the net (1-3 to 0-4).
A brace towards the end of the period from Maloney was cancelled out at the other end by O'Toole to leave just two between the teams at the swap-over.
A tight start to the second-half was broken when Eoin Wright fed Maloney for his second major but it was the south county side's only score of the third quarter. The Kilanerin/Tara Rocks combo hit back with two points from Niall Hughes to keep within a goal entering the last 15 minutes.
A quick double by Jack Pettit settled a wasteful Forth and Bargy down a bit but Conor Devitt was just inches away from giving his side a real fillip when he flashed over from the right side of goal in the 50th minute (2-7 to 0-9).
At that point scoring four minors in a row would have suited Ballinastragh just fine, but it was Forth and Bargy who produced the best streak of the match with late scores from Maloney (two), Kinsella and Niall Moore rounding off a fine victory. The victors will now face Taghmon-Camross in the county final in the coming weeks.
Forth and Bargy Gaels: Andrew Morris; Rory Reville, Seán Finan, Craig Wright; Brendan Hughes, Jim Rossiter, Naomhan Rossiter; Joey Murphy, Colm Kinsella (0-2); Jack Pettit (0-2), Donal Shanley, Eoin Wright (0-1); Ryan Meyler, Dean Maloney (capt., 2-5, 0-3 frees), Tom Cullen. Subs. - Niall Moore (0-1) for Cullen (45), Cian Boggan for Kinsella (59).
Ballinastragh Gaels: Lee Owley; Dylan Marshall, Tomás Owley (capt.), Aaron Murphy; Keith Mordaunt, Cillian O'Toole, Rhys Owley; Conor Devitt (0-1), Niall Hughes (0-2 frees); Patrick Fortune, Dean O'Toole (0-5, 4 frees), Conor Byrne (0-1); Emmet O'Toole, Darragh Murphy, Gavin Kinsella. Subs. - Seán Mulligan for Kinsella (31), Kinsella for Fortune (44).
Referee: Pádraig McMahon (Shelmaliers).