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Sensational Taghmon-Camross storm past Askamore to book place in final

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Seán Bookey (Askamore) is backed into a corner by Darren Hayden.

Seán Bookey (Askamore) is backed into a corner by Darren Hayden.

Stephen O’Gorman (Taghmon-Camross) about to score his goal despite the best efforts of Askamore veteran Tommy Devereux.

Stephen O’Gorman (Taghmon-Camross) about to score his goal despite the best efforts of Askamore veteran Tommy Devereux.

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Seán Bookey (Askamore) is backed into a corner by Darren Hayden.

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Taghmon-Camross 3-19 Askamore 1-16

TAGHMON-CAMROSS tormented Askamore with a sensational display in Chadwicks Wexford Park on Saturday, earning a place in the final of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship with far greater ease than most onlookers anticipated.

Their winning margin of nine points was as emphatic as it was impressive, and indeed it could have been even more as the losers’ consolation goal from Shane Tomkins didn’t arrive until additional time.

This was top-notch stuff from a team that had to negotiate a worrying relegation play-off last year, and now the parish has reached the Intermediate final for the first time since 1960 when Camross conceded a walkover to Shamrocks due to a dispute with the County Board.

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It was unknown territory for everyone involved on Saturday, as the winners’ last appearance in the penultimate round was all the way back in 1992 when Monageer-Boolavogue beat them by 3-14 to 1-11.

However, their new backroom team of homegrown pair Robert Nolan and Garvan Kelly, plus Tipperary-born coach Brian Dignam – a former player with Ballyfad and Crossabeg-Ballymurn – have worked wonders in their short spell in charge. Leading by 1-4 to 0-4 at the end of the first quarter, they really cut loose from then until the interval and stretched their advantage out to 1-14 to 0-9.

The only concern was that ten opening half wides might cost them in the long run, but that didn’t materialise as two goals in as many minutes at the start of the last quarter underlined their full dominance.

Askamore were a sorry disappointment, and while talented youngsters such as Tomás Kinsella, James Byrne and Seán Kirwan will likely get plenty more chances, the same most assuredly cannot be said for the many veterans among their ranks.

Not even the boost of having the suspension of centre-back Tommy Devereux overturned could drive them on. And for a game that many genuinely felt was a 50-50, their overall performance will have frustrated trainer Denis Murphy, the former Mount Leinster Rangers and Carlow forward whose own fine career was cut short by injury.

That’s now four semi-final exits since Askamore were relegated from Senior ranks in 2011 after two top-flight campaigns, with those previous defeats arriving in 2014, 2015 and last season respectively. At least they gave neighbours HWH-Bunclody a serious rattle in 2021, but there was no repeat this time around.

An interesting feature of the first-half was the fact that eleven of the twelve starting attackers scored, with Taghmon-Camross centre-forward Darren Hayden – more noted for creating chances for physically lighter colleagues – the only absentee from that list.

Cathal Doyle (free) and Gavin Sunderland swapped early points before a run of three on the trot from the New Ross District men, courtesy of Chris Cullen, Stephen O’Gorman and Michael Foley.

However, Seán Kirwan, Shane Tomkins and Tomás Kinsella hit back before Taghmon-Camross enjoyed a major breakthrough in the 15th minute.

A partial block on a Stephen O’Gorman strike saw the ball break kindly into the path of speed merchant Cathal Doyle, and he didn’t need to be asked twice as he raced through and shot across the body of Darragh Kinsella for a coolly-taken goal (1-4 to 0-4).

Askamore did respond in a positive manner, with points from Tomás Kinsella and Colm Fortune, but their rivals gradually embarked on a powerful run as the superb Ian Carty came into his own at centre-back and repeatedly put them on the attack.

Indeed, they hit six points on the bounce between the 21st and 27th minutes, thanks to Cathal Doyle, Michael Foley, Adam Sinnott, Chris Cullen, Doyle (free) and Stephen O’Gorman, with that impressive spread of scorers underlining the difficulties faced by the over-worked Askamore defence.

O’Gorman and Cullen were particularly effective in the full-forward line, ending with a combined 2-7 between them from open play.

Taghmon-Camross never looked back after that strong scoring burst, maintaining a healthy gap throughout a third quarter that featured one truly bizarre incident.

Only referee David O’Leary can explain why he showed yellow rather than red to Askamore veteran James Lancaster, who lashed out after taking exception to a mistimed swipe for the ball by youngster Conor Murphy.

The corner-back was blessed to survive, but thankfully that lenient call by the man in the middle had no material impact on the outcome.

It was 1-16 to 0-12 at the time, although some anxiety might have been kicking in after Askamore did narrow the gap to five (1-17 to 0-15) after Tomás Kinsella (free), Tom Byrne and Shane Tomkins out-pointed Cathal Doyle.

If Taghmon-Camross were teetering for a fleeting spell, they were relaxed and awaiting a first county final since the Intermediate ‘A’ success of 2018 in double-quick time.

A lovely pass by Conor Murphy created the opening for Stephen O’Gorman to calmly tuck away their second goal in the 47th minute.

And referee O’Leary must be credited for playing a good advantage two minutes later, when substitute Luke Sinnott’s high delivery was grabbed and finished off from close range by Chris Cullen.

The task awaiting Taghmon-Camross in the final is a daunting one, but it’s a fine achievement in itself to get that far given their low starting base, and a massive boost for such a youthful group.

Taghmon-Camross: Jack Dunne (capt.); Shane Lacey, Alan Nolan, Tom Banville; Barry Óg McGrath, Ian Carty (0-1), Barry O’Gorman; Darren Carty, Adam Sinnott (0-1); Michael Foley (0-2), Darren Hayden, Cathal Doyle (1-6, 0-3 frees); Conor Murphy (0-1), Stephen O’Gorman (1-4), Chris Cullen (1-3). Subs. – Luke Sinnott (0-1) for Foley (47), David O’Keeffe for A. Sinnott (56), Michael O’Gorman for Cullen (56), Pete Murphy for C. Murphy (60+1), Conor Foley for Lacey (60+2).

Askamore: Darragh Kinsella; James Lancaster, Frank Lancaster, Seán Bookey; Patrick Nolan, Tommy Devereux, P.J. Nolan (capt., 0-2); Seán Kirwan (0-1), Tom Byrne (0-1); Shane Tomkins (1-3), Jack Nolan (0-1), Gavin Sunderland (0-2); Colm Fortune (0-1), Tomás Kinsella (0-3, 1 free), James Byrne (0-2). Subs. – Jim Sharry for J. Lancaster (45), Edmond Kenny for J. Nolan (47), Conor Levingstone for Fortune (50), Tomás Kirwan for Sunderland (54), Martin Byrne for F. Lancaster (59).

Referee: David O’Leary (Rathnure).


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