CLOUGHBAWN 1-22 GLYNN-BARNTOWN 1-18
Cloughbawn are all set for a crunch last round clash with Faythe Harriers after Liam Flood’s instant goal at the start of the second-half sent them on the path to a merited victory over Glynn-Barntown in Group A of the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross on Saturday.
Any one of the three possibilities could be their lot just before 8 p.m. next Sunday – either in the quarter-final, in the no man’s land of fifth but safe from the drop, or in a relegation decider against neighbours Rathnure.
They need a draw at least to rule out the latter prospect for starters, and they will certainly be approaching the game in a positive frame of mind after this second successive win.
While they controlled proceedings against Crossabeg-Ballymurn one week earlier, this one was a battle to the death but they got huge contributions from a number of key performers.
Páidí Cullen was simply immense in the second-half, while mentors will be particularly pleased that the two youngest Kehoes – Darragh and Shane – were so prominent when the outcome remained in the melting pot near the finish.
The expert point-taking of Paddy Whitty – with five from play – was another notable aspect on an afternoon when a Cloughbawn squad already operating with limited resources compared to some of the other Senior contenders had to field without reliable full-back Barry Carton due to a family christening.
That Glynn-Barntown lost was most certainly not the fault of wing-back Craig Doyle who claimed a superb six points from play, three per half.
In contrast, two of the six starting forwards didn’t register at all, while the other four only managed one score apiece from play, and therein lay their chief problems.
It was an interesting afternoon for former Cloughbawn great Larry Murphy, a star figure on their winning team of 1993, but now a selector for the Glynn-Barntown side that featured his teenage son, Daragh, at left corner-forward.
The Whittys, Paddy (two) and Bob (three frees), shared the first five points for the eventual winners, but they went behind by 1-3 to 0-5 when Glynn-Barntown goaled in the 20th minute.
Centre-forward John Leacy – who shot five of his nine points from frees before the break – made an incisive run before parting to his right where Rowan White was lurking.
And although Connal Flood managed an initial hook, the ball was swept home at the second attempt.
Glynn-Barntown made hay after that big score, with Craig Doyle availing of his direct opponent’s inability to track his runs by posting an impressive three points on the bounce between the 21st and 24th minutes (1-6 to 0-5).
When midfielder Darragh Kehoe made a good interception and pointed, it was a vital moment for Cloughbawn as it ended a barren sequence for them lasting ten minutes when they conceded 1-3 – starting with John Leacy’s sole score from play.
The determined Páidí Cullen won the puck-out and returned it over the bar with interest, and there was a sense that the Enniscorthy District men were in no mood for lying down.
Indeed, after Leacy made it 1-7 to 0-7 from a free, there was a very productive two-minute spell at the other end that yielded points from Darragh Kehoe (after the intervention of linesman Thomas Furlong to correct an umpiring error), Paddy Whitty, and two Bob Whitty frees.
Two more late Leacy frees did nudge Glynn-Barntown back in front at the break (1-9 to 0-11), but the key incident of the second-half arrived after a mere 17 seconds.
That’s all it took for Liam Flood to rattle their net at the second attempt after Mark Fanning saved his first shot, with the corner-forward latching on to a Colm Kehoe delivery and showing a clean pair of heels to the chasing Murtagh Joyce.
The goal came as a huge boost to Cloughbawn and, although Glynn-Barntown did draw level just the once in the 34th minute – courtesy of star man Craig Doyle – it was significant that their noses were never in front again after that major from Flood.
Bob Whitty (free), Paddy Whitty and Harry Kehoe left Cloughbawn clear by 1-14 to 1-11 in the 39th minute, but their lead was narrowed to one on three different occasions and they could never afford to relax.
It was 1-19 to 1-17 in their favour after John Leacy sent over his eighth free at the start of additional time, but that’s when Cloughbawn’s desire to get the job done really shone through.
A fine hook by Darragh Kehoe forced Rowan White into striking a wide before Shane Kehoe latched on to a Páidí Cullen handpass to shoot a lovely point from the left flank.
Liam Flood earned a free that Bob Whitty converted, with the inspiring Páidí Cullen fouled from the puck-out and Harry Kehoe driving that one over from longer distance.
It left them with a big cushion of 1-22 to 1-17 before a foul on Gary Moore gave John Leacy one last chance for a consolation goal, but his drive was touched over for a point.
Glynn-Barntown will also go in search of a quarter-final place against Crossabeg-Ballymurn in Tagoat on Sunday evening, with this fascinating group going right down to the wire.
Cloughbawn: Seán Keating; Gary Kennedy, James Dempsey, Shane Kehoe (0-1); Barry Kehoe, Connal Flood, Colm Kehoe; Johnny Cullen, Darragh Kehoe (0-2); Bob Whitty (0-10 frees), Harry Kehoe (capt., 0-3, 1 free), Páidí Cullen (0-1); Paddy Whitty (0-5), Alan Carton, Liam Flood (1-0). Sub. – Jack Fleming for J. Cullen (60+1).
Glynn-Barntown: Mark Fanning; Murtagh Joyce, Pádraig Donnelly, Ger Dempsey; Michael O’Regan, David Clarke (capt.), Craig Doyle (0-6); Brendan Doyle, Darragh Carley; Shane Wilde, John Leacy (0-10, 9 frees), Michael Doyle (0-1); Rowan White (1-0), Matt Doyle (0-1), Daragh Murphy. Subs. – Thomas Doyle for Donnelly, temp. (10-13), Doyle for Joyce (54), Matthew Joyce for Murphy (54), Cormac Cooney for Wilde (54), Gary Moore for Matt Doyle (59).
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).