Oulart ease to handy victory
Oulart-Ballagh 6-21 Rapparees 0-17
Hosts Oulart-The Ballagh continued their supreme EEW All-County Hurling League Division 1 form as they moved towards a semi-final spot with a crushing victory over Rapparees.
This contest was a re-fixture after the original was abandoned because of darkness with 49 minutes on the clock earlier this month.
However, the pattern of the game was eerily similar as Oulart-The Ballagh battered their District rivals in the opening half.
League and championship form are naturally different, but for the winners there is an importance in how this campaign goes. Of course, they need to find their best form later in the season and quality performances like this can do no harm.
While Rapparees themselves missed chances, the hosts wouldn't have been flattered by hitting double-digits in the major department. Their attacking play was crisp, with Martin Og Storey superb as the focal point at full-forward.
For the Bellefield side, things didn't work well at all. They won't be too concerned by the defeat, their third in four outings, but giving up this many scoring chances is never great for confidence, regardless of whether it's a league game or not.
Oulart-The Ballagh were purring at 0-5 to nil up after eight minutes. Peter Sutton flashed home their opening major after a swift Cormac Finn pass to make the advantage ten at the end of the opening quarter, and it could have been worse, as the hosts missed two more great goal chances.
Scores were rare commodities for Rapparees, but Conor Ronan did pick off a nice one in the 16th minute.
It only provided momentary respite as Oulart-The Ballagh tacked on a further 2-6 in the second quarter, with goals from Og Storey and Tomás Dunne to lead by 3-14 to 0-6 at the break.
Rapparees were better in the second-half and managed eleven points. Oulart-The Ballagh started to withdraw their experienced campaigners as the half wore on but they still netted twice in 60 seconds through Og Storey and Finn to extend into a 5-17 to 0-12 advantage after 45 minutes.
Tomás Mahon brought his tally to ten in the final quarter as his team-mates missed a couple of goal chances.
It was probably fitting that Oulart-The Ballagh ended the contest with a final major, a classy low finish by Darryl Gray to wrap up a 22-point win.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Conor O'Leary; Anthony Roche, Barry Kehoe, Brendan O'Connor; Niall Redmond, Conor Goff, Eoin Moore (0-1 free); Rory Jacob (0-4, 3 frees), Garrett Sinnott (0-1); Tomás Dunne (1-1), Peter Sutton (1-3), Peter Murphy (0-2); Des Mythen (0-4), Martin Og Storey (2-2), Cormac Finn (1-3). Subs. - Seán Murphy for Moore (31), Billy Dunne (0-1 free) for Sinnott (36), Darryl Gray (1-0) for Mythen (39), Kevin Nimmo for Kehoe (43), Darragh Hayes for Jacob (43).
Rapparees: Anthony Larkin; Brian Ronan, Eoin Quigley, Mel Doyle; Ben Edwards, Ricky Fox, Jack Kelly (0-1); Conor Ronan (0-1), Anthony Roche; Eamonn Furlong, Ryan Mahon (0-2), Alan Tobin; Craig Foley (0-1), Tomás Mahon (0-10, 9 frees), Neil McCrea. Subs. - Nathan O'Connor for B. Ronan (18), Lenny Connolly (0-1) for Foley (31), Dillon Redmond for Edwards (31), Mick Delaney (0-1) for McCrea (39), Edwards for Quigley (48).
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).
New Ross Standard