Buffers Alley 1-22 St. James' (Ramsgrange) 0-15
BUFFERS ALLEY overcame the late first-half dismissal of Liam Walsh to get the better of St. James’ in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group B opener in Farmleigh on Tuesday.
Walsh was censured for interfering with the helmet of Matthew O’Hanlon, but Paul Gahan’s charges held their nerve to make it a third successive championship win over the Ramsgrange men, having accounted for them in quarter-final and semi-final encounters in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
There was little to choose between the sides as they tied six times while sharing the opening twelve points, with Kevin O’Grady in sharp form for the Jimmies.
But the superb fielding of Shamey O’Hagan helped Buffers Alley crack open a 0-10 to 0-6 advantage after 20 minutes.
And three late beauties from the stick of Cormac Walsh ensured that Buffers Alley retained the initiative at the change of ends (0-12 to 0-8) despite losing Liam Walsh to that red card.
The extra space up front actually seemed to suit the Kilmuckridge men more, with St. James’ tactic of pushing midfielder Matthew O’Hanlon back as a sweeper failing to pay dividends as the Ramsgrange side struggled to create a consistent overlap going forward in their bid to exploit the extra man.
Andrew Kenny was sprung from the bench by Buffers Alley at half-time in his return to championship fare after a campaign out through injury, and he was quickly onto the scoresheet.
Ross Donohoe was another scoring substitute for the green and golds as he also got valuable minutes into his legs fresh from recent surgery.
Donohoe’s point arrived shortly before the goal Buffers Alley were threatening eventually arrived on 56 minutes, when Paul O’Leary made the most of a handling error by the netminder to force home and help safeguard victory.
Buffers Alley: Darren O’Brien; Jack Twomey, Ciarán Kenny, Kevin Roche; Edward Harney, Seán Murphy, Owen McNulty; Pat Kenny, Eoin O’Meara (0-3, 1 free); Cormac Walsh (0-5), Willie Doran, Shamey O’Hagan (0-3); Liam Walsh (0-1), Shane Grannell, Paul O’Leary (1-8, 0-6 frees). Subs. - Bobby Kenny for C. Kenny, inj., Andrew Kenny (0-1) for Doran, Ross Donohoe (0-1) for Grannell, Doran for O’Hagan.
St. James’: Graeme Molloy; Brian Molloy (0-1), Jason Barron, Paul Barron; Liam Murphy (0-2), Daniel Keating, David Doyle; Matthew O’Hanlon (0-1), Darragh Lyons (0-1); Andrew Walsh, Alan Walsh, Kevin O’Grady (0-8, 6 frees); Tommy Barron, Tommy Walsh, Michael O’Grady (0-1). Subs. - Ciarán McPhillips for Andrew Walsh, Aidan Shannon for Alan Walsh, James Walsh (0-1) for T. Walsh, Darragh McPhillips for M. O’Grady.
Referee: James Owens (Askamore).