JAHC Group D: Naomh Eanna 3-14 Kilmore 2-12
A tempestuous Permanent TSB Junior 'A' hurling championship excounter in Páirc Uí Shíocháin ended with 13-man Naomh Eanna edging out Kilmore to take the opening spoils in Group D on Saturday.
The Gorey side lost a man in both halves but were still always able to keep the Wexford District side at arm's length. The visitors themselves finished a man light but were never at a numerical disadvantage in the contest.
This was one of the three Junior 'A' groups that didn't get under way one week earlier, so it was a first venture onto the field for both teams. It's a tough group, with Adamstown in the mix too, so Kilmore will have their work cut out to advance to the last eight after this loss.
The hosts took the lead after just 90 seconds when Cian Browne split the uprights and were never caught after that.
Jack Doran doubled the advantage, and Gorey were well on their way when Evan O'Dwyer flashed home from close range from the experienced Willie Cullen's driven ball across goal.
O'Dwyer was probably Naomh Eanna's brightest star and has made a serious leap as he settles into the adult game. He got his first of seven points after Chris O'Connor registered at the other end as Gorey led by 1-3 to 0-1.
Just seconds after O'Dwyer's point, Paddy Brady dealt with some off-the-ball shenanigans and proceeded to produce a red card for Shane Crosbie with just eleven minutes on the clock.
Cullen gave the home side a six-point lead, but Kilmore got up a head of steam ahead of the water break, notching three in a row from Tom White (twice) and Seán Carley to pull within a goal (1-4 to 0-4).
However, the stoppage came at an awful time for them and they couldn't pick it back up. O'Dwyer, Darragh Canavan and Liam O'Dea all pointed and, with Kilmore frustrations growing, Stevie Cousins was given a straight red card for a flashpoint over a sideline, with the ball dead.
O'Dea scored a cracking long-range point and O'Dwyer added another, but two White scores at the other end gave Kilmore some hope at the interval, trailing by 1-9 to 0-6.
Yet, things got worse for the visitors when Cullen finished a penalty after Michael Kennedy was fouled in the 36th minute.
But back came Kilmore. Substitute Mark Sinnott drilled to the net after great work by Paddy Byrne. They got within six (2-10 to 1-7) when O'Connor pointed, but Barry Kinsella made a superb save from Byrne in the 45th minute to hamper their growing momentum.
Instead it was Gorey who critically nabbed the game's fourth goal before the water break when relentless effort from Cian Browne to dispossess Barry Sinnott eventually gave Nathan Byrne the chance to bundle the ball over the line from close range.
Leading by 3-11 to 1-8 at the mini-stoppage was comfortable and nothing much changed in the next ten minutes. The game was meandering to a conclusion, with Gorey leading by ten with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
Then O'Dea picked up his second yellow and it gave Kilmore a little added pep in their step. The excellent White knocked over a couple of points and Carley got his second as three quick scores closed the game to seven.
That flow was quickly stopped when Mark Sinnott picked up a horrific hand injury in the second minute of added-time. The game did re-start, with O'Dwyer notching his seventh, but there was one more salvo to come for the visitors.
A long ball into the danger area was collected by Tom Byrne and he drilled home to close the gap to five in the eighth minute of additional time. There was still a couple more minutes played, but Kilmore couldn't do any damage and Gorey survived.
Naomh Eanna are back in action away to Adamstown on Sunday, and a four-point loss or better will be enough to secure safe passage to the last eight. Kilmore will then know exactly what they need to do a week later when they host the New Ross District club.
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Shane Crosbie, John O'Brien, Seán Dowling; Tom Stafford, Lee Kinsella (capt.), Seamus O'Donnell; Robbie Hayes, Michael Kennedy; Michael Murphy, Jack Doran (0-1), Darragh Canavan (0-1); Evan O'Dwyer (1-7, 0-6 frees), William Cullen (1-2, 1-0 pen.), Cian Browne (0-1). Subs. - Liam O'Dea (0-2, 1 free) for L. Kinsella, inj. (19), Nathan Byrne (1-0) for Doran (37), Seán Delaney for Murphy (60+2).
Kilmore: Barry Sinnott; Shane Goff, Stevie Cousins, Jack Doyle; Denis Kenny, Criostóir Reville, Seán Carley (0-2); Tom Cousins (capt.), Jamie Scallan; Tom White (0-7, 3 frees, 1 '65), Tom Byrne (1-0), Daithí Moore (0-1); Chris O'Connor (0-2), Graham Mernagh, Paddy Byrne. Subs. - Mark Sinnott (1-0) for Mernagh (35), Aaron Kielthy for Scallan (37), Mernagh for Sinnott, inj. (60+6).
Referee: Paddy Brady (Ballygarrett).