Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rocks off the mark

All-County Hurling League Division 5: Tara Rocks 4-11 Craanford 1-8

Brian Carty

Tara Rocks opened their EEW All-County Hurling League Division 5 campaign in good shape with a comfortable win over Craanford in Friday's Gorey District derby played at an illuminated Craanford.

The visitors exploited the space they were afforded with relative success in the early passages, with Joe Bolger running away from goal before pointing over his shoulder for their opener.

Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin then scored well out of the corner and Robert Murphy made it 0-3 to 0-1 after five minutes.

Eamon Doran had previously opened the scoring for the hosts with a free from around midfield, and the emerging star had two more points to his name by the eighth minute in an encouraging debut at adult level.

And although Craanford weren't exactly pulling up trees up front, they still forged a narrow 1-4 to 0-6 lead on 24 minutes in freak circumstances when Calvin O'Toole's shot from out the field nestled in the net.

That advantage was brief however, as the Rock went immediately up the other end where Derek Finn executed an acrobatic save to initially deny Bolger, but the alert forward still planted home the rebound despite falling to his knees in the aquatic conditions.

That gave them 1-7 to 1-4 breathing space at half-time, and they gradually pulled away from their close rivals as the second-half progressed.

Stuart Byrne did pick off a nice point for Craanford on the re-start, and Jamesie Nolan added a free on 38 minutes to cut the gap to 1-8 to 1-6, but Caleb Murphy was introduced off the bench to devastating effect for the victors.

He pointed not long after entering the fray, while the experienced Bolger bounced in their second goal via the despairing hurl of replacement 'keeper Luke Byrne on 48 minutes.

Cormac Whitmore and Nolan (two) shared three frees as Tara Rocks remained in control, before Caleb Murphy flashed two carbon copy goals to the far corner of the net in the final five minutes to bring up the final scoreline of 4-11 to 1-8.

Craanford struck eleven wides compared to Tara Rocks' six. The latter also had the same figure in the frees column, while Craanford were awarded 15.

Tara Rocks: Seán Geoghegan; Damien Tobin, Cathal O'Reilly, Seán Owley (capt.); Stephen Hughes, Jim Hughes, Ben Morris; Conor Hughes, Murt Sheehan; Cormac Whitmore (0-3 frees), Richard Hughes, Robert Murphy (0-1); Joe Bolger (2-2), Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin (0-1), Lorcan Clare (0-3). Subs. - Dean Redmond for Geoghegan (HT), Caleb Murphy (2-1) for Ó Súilleabháin (HT), Colm Noctor for S. Hughes (42), Andrew Murphy for R. Murphy (48), Mossy Owley for C. Hughes (50).

Craanford: Derek Finn; Jack Keogh, James Byrne (capt.), Páraic Redmond; Gary Keating, Des Kavanagh, Jim Redmond; Michael Sinnott, Eamon Doran (0-3, 2 frees); Stuart Byrne (0-1), Martin Doyle, John Lancaster; Jamesie Nolan (0-4, 3 frees), Calvin O'Toole (1-0), John Bass. Subs. - Luke Byrne for Finn (HT), Martin Wadding for Bass (HT), Joe Sinnott for Keogh (52), Martin Kenny for Doran (57), Seán Lyons for Lancaster (57).

Referee: James Owens (Askamore).

Other Division 5 results: Oulart-The Ballagh 2-14, Cloughbawn 1-6; Naomh Eanna 2-9, Ballyhogue 1-12.

Gorey Guardian