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Lightning start to second-half inspired early-risers Askamore




A LIGHTNING start to the second-half set up Askamore for an eventual five-point victory over Tara Rocks in this exciting The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group A game played in the splendid Ferns St. Aidan’s grounds on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The sides were level on 0-11 each after an even first-half, before Askamore turned in an inspiring start to the second period.

They hit five unanswered points through the opening five minutes on the resumption, giving them the foundation to go on and secure victory.

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Tara Rocks seemed shellshocked such was the ferocity of the opposition’s approach through this spell. They struggled to stem the flow of attacks as with each score they saw the game slipping away from them. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to raise their game to a level needed to bring themselves back into contention with a winning chance.

Tara Rocks had a positive start to the game, with Conor Devitt firing over a fine point off the wing inside the opening minute.

While Gavin Sunderland responded with a levelling point, Tara Rocks continued to impress and got fine points from a Joe Curtis free and Conor Kinsella to lead by 0-3 to 0-1 inside the opening six minutes.

Dean O’Toole was winning lots of midfield possession as he picked off a good long-range point, before Askamore started to take the initiative with points from P.J. Nolan, Shane Tomkins and James Byrne to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the end of the opening quarter.

Tomkins and O’Toole went on to exchange points, but with James Byrne punishing indiscretions in the opposition defence, Askamore were providing the significant attacking play.

O’Toole was proving inspiring for the Rocks who responded with points from Joe Curtis and Conor Devitt, but two James Byrne pointed frees closed out the first-half and left the sides level on 0-11 each at the interval.

Askamore’s whirlwind start to the second-half caught everyone by surprise. Tomás Kinsella fired over a fine long-range point within seconds of the restart, and this was followed by points from Tom Byrne, James Byrne, Shane Tomkins and Colm Fortune, leaving them with an 0-16 to 0-11 lead after a stunning restart.

On a morning with temperatures soaring, Tara Rocks had to wait until the 37th minute for their opening second-half score, namely a Páraic Hughes point.

But with Tomás Kinsella responding with two huge long-range points, the Askamore dominance was set to continue, particularly when James Byrne found the net to leave them leading by 1-18 to 0-13 after 39 minutes.

The expected Tara Rocks revival failed to emerge although they got a brief glimmer of light when substitute Lee Owley goaled nine minutes from the end, even if they still trailed by 1-22 to 1-16 at this stage.

On a morning when the sun shone brightest on Askamore, credit to Tara Rocks who kept battling, but Mark Boland’s additional time goal arrived too late to alter the result.

Askamore: Darragh Kinsella; James Lancaster, Frank Lancaster, Jim Sharry; P.J. Nolan (0-1), Tommy Devereux, Conor Levingstone; Seán Kirwan (0-2), Tom Byrne (0-1); Gavin Sunderland (0-1), Tomás Kinsella (0-4), Shane Tomkins (0-4); Jack Nolan, Colm Fortune (0-2), James Byrne (1-8, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65). Subs. - Pádraig Byrne (0-2) for Sunderland, Tomás Kirwan for J. Nolan.

Tara Rocks: Dean Redmond; Jason Bolger, Brendan Hobbs, Rhys Owley; Darren Murphy, Niall Hughes, Robert Murphy; Dean O’Toole (0-4), Ben Morris; Conor Devitt (0-2), Mark Boland (1-0), Joe Curtis (0-8, 7 frees); Conor Hughes, Cian Hughes, Conor Kinsella (0-1). Subs. - Lee Owley (1-1) for D. Murphy, Páraic Hughes (0-1) for Conor Hughes.

Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).