Good Counsel rally late as Barron finds scoring touch
GOOD Counsel set themselves up for a quarter-final clash with St Kieran's of Kilkenny after their powerful finish overwhelmed St Brendan's CS, Birr, yesterday.
Good Counsel trailed 1-8 to 1-9 at the end of a fiercely competitive opening half and the sides were deadlocked for the sixth and final occasion at 1-10 apiece with 37 minutes elapsed.
Wind-assisted Good Counsel, inspired by Sean Lester, Syl Barron and Nicky Doyle, then broadened their shoulders and outscored their opponents by double scores 0-8 to 0-4 to seal a merited victory.
Conor Joyce's kicked fifth-minute goal provided Good Counsel with a 1-2 to 0-1 cushion before Brendan's recovered courtesy of a brilliant 13th-minute Kevin Connolly goal.
Two long-range points from Liam Brady raised St Brendan's hopes, but their attack struggled to make inroads. Jack Guiney's 25th-minute point tied proceedings at 1-7 apiece before St Brendan's edged two clear as Connolly (free) and Eoin Dunne grabbed points.
Lester pulled a point back for Good Counsel and, on the resumption, excellent long-range frees by imposing centre-back Matthew Hanlon and Barron saw them nose 1-10 to 1-9 ahead.
The lively Connolly equalised in the 37th minute but from there on, Good Counsel dominated with Doyle (2), Bernard Furlong, Barron (3) and Lester (2) firing over quality points from an array of distances.
SCORERS -- Good Counsel: S Barron 0-6 (5fs), S Lester 0-5, C Joyce 1-0, N Doyle, M Hanlon (2fs) 0-2 each, B Furlong, J Guiney, D Crowdle 0-1 each. St Brendan's: K Connolly 1-6 (0-5fs), B Murphy 0-3 (3fs), L Brady 0-2, E Dunne, A Kealey, T Carroll 0-1 each.
GOOD COUNSEL -- J Sutton; E Doyle, A Nolan, G Foley; C Foran, M Hanlon, M Cody; S Barron, B Furlong; N Doyle, S Lester, C Joyce; D Crowdle, J Guiney, S O'Gorman. Subs: T Murphy for Barron (26 - 28, blood), M Mansfield for Joyce (60).
ST BRENDAN'S -- J Connors; C Murray, D Regan, J McIntyre; K Donovan, B Murphy, C Pardy; L Brady, E Dunne; T Carroll, A Kealey, S Carroll; D Maher, A Hynes, K Connolly. Subs: P Mullins for S Carroll (h-t), P McCarthy for Maher (41), E Hayes for Mullins (55).
O'Connor and Gardiner inspire resolute Banagher
Title-holders Banagher qualified for a second successive final when accounting for Abbey CC of Ferrybank on a 2-11 to 2-6 scoreline.
The champions, who led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval, showed their mettle on the resumption. Midfielder Joe O'Connor, wing-forward Rian Kelly and corner-forward Sean Gardiner lead by example for the winners.
Banagher will meet Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown in the final following their decisive 2-23 to 1-8 victory over Rathdowney College in the second semi-final.
Mhuire, with corner-forward Conor Martin outstanding, had little difficulty in reaching the final.
Scorers -- Banagher: S Gardiner 0-5 (0-2fs) C Daly, R Connolly 1-0 each, J O'Connor 0-3 (2 65s), E Mannion 0-2, R Kelly 0-1. Abbey: R Dempsey 1-3, S Quinn 1-0, A Cullinane 0-2, M Russel 0-1.
Scorers -- Col Mhuire: C Martin 1-15, L Hickey 1-2, J Kenny, K Freeney, F Phelan 0-2 each. St Fergal's: N Delaney 1-0, R King, P Whelan 0-3 each, J Fox and T Dowling 0-1 each.