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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Sars surprise table-toppers

Sarsfields 4-9 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 2-6

Cian Twomey of Sarsfields breaks away from Adam Sinnott
Cian Twomey of Sarsfields breaks away from Adam Sinnott
The victorious Sarsfields squad

Dean Goodison

The race for quarter-final places in the Wexford People Minor football Roinn 1 championship is wide open in Group A after Sarsfields fended off the challenge of Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in Páirc Charman on Monday of last week.

The New Ross District side came into the game unbeaten and flying high on top of the table but were no match for their powerful hosts in this contest.

The Wexford town side hit the ground running, bossed the game, and will wonder how it was still close heading into the final minutes.

Sarsfields played like a team possessed. They showed unbelievable will to win every battle and with an endless tank of energy in sticky conditions.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown might have got the odd breather from the heat but they were never afforded a rest from their opponents' continued onslaught.

Jack Finucane kicked the hosts in front with a fourth-minute point, but when Niall Connolly ran away down the right, beat a couple of defenders and shot past Josh Walsh in the Sarsfields goal, the visitors held their one and only lead (1-0 to 0-1).

It could have been a hugely important goal against the breeze but Sarsfields hit right back. Ben Hynes and Josh Sheil were involved in the build-up, and Conor Kehoe applied the finish to put the home side back in front.

Luke O'Connor went on to make a string of remarkable saves for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, and the first came from Hynes soon after the goal. However, there was no stopping Finucane from netting when the chance arose right at the end of the opening quarter.

Adam Sinnott hit back to put two between the sides (2-1 to 1-2), but the Sarsfields pressure told in points as half-time approached.

Hynes and Kehoe picked off a brace each, while Oliver McMahon and Sheil also got on the scoreboard to make it 2-7 to 1-4 at the change of ends.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown did not get a good start with the elements at their backs. Instead, Kehoe netted for the second occasion and O'Connor was called on several times to keep the ball out of the net, including from the double goalscorer's penalty.

A move started by Jamie O'Rourke ended with Collins netting for the second time in the 50th minute, and when Rory O'Connor tapped over there was just two goals in it (3-9 to 2-6).

However, there was to be no dramatic turnaround and Ben Hynes put the seal on victory with his late spot-kick.

Sarsfields: Josh Walsh; Cian Twomey, Cillian Boggan, Billy Hillis; Alex Boggan, Liam Cassin, Oliver McMahon (0-1); Jack Finucane (1-1), Lee Donohue; Ben Hynes (1-4, 1-0 pen., 0-3 frees), Josh Sheil (0-1 free), Robert Molloy; Conor Kehoe (2-2), Seán Kelly-Komalafe, Mark Finucane. Subs. - Calum Corcoran for M. Finucane (40), Shane Clancy for Hillis (40), also Cillian Twomey, Patrick Duignan, Eoin Halligan.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Luke O'Connor; Luke O'Dwyer, Tomás Aspel, Thomas McGrath; Pat Kehoe, Sam Sutton, Darragh Roche; Rory O'Connor (0-1 free), Adam Young; Billy O'Neill, Niall Collins (2-4, 0-2 frees), Vova Murphy; Adam Sinnott (0-1), David Ronan, Jamie O'Rourke. Subs. - Eoghan McAuliffe for Murphy (48), also Shane Cullen, Diarmuid Somers.

Referee: Mick Lanigan (Shelmaliers).

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