Ferns St. Aidan's 2-20 Rapparees 1-16
A strong finish against hosts Rapparees saw Ferns St. Aidan's book their place in the Wexford People Minor hurling Premier championship quarter-finals in Bellefield on Tuesday.
The clash was evenly balanced when Aaron Dobbs drifted out and floated over an equalising point with ten minutes to go (2-13 to 1-16). However, the visitors had a little more left in the tank and they scored seven unanswered points to book a place in the knockout stages.
County Minor Chris Turner was like a machine for Ferns, ending with 2-12 and popping over four or the last seven points. Still, others stepped up to the plate too, with both wing-forwards, Lee Quigley and Ciarán Murphy, plus young substitute Seb Rynhart, all picking off important scores.
While no such statistics exist, there can't be too many younger Minor sides to reach a Premier quarter-final in recent years. Ferns have managed to blend their older lads with talented Under-16s and they are clearly a well-meshed bunch that play hard for each other.
They went with the breeze in the opening half and took just nine minutes to hit the front. Unsurprisingly it was Turner providing the magic. He still had plenty to do when he took in a long line ball, however he drove through the home defence and drilled past Anto Larkin to make it 1-2 to 0-2.
It seemed like Rapparees had halted their opponents' momentum after scores from Jack Doyle and Craig Foley. Turner had no right to net in the 20th minute when Eoin Murphy's effort came down off the upright, but with the ball going away from him, while he was running away from goal, the Ferns forward somehow whipped the bouncing sliothar back into the net.
Despite seven Doyle points in the half, Ferns still took a 2-9 to 0-10 lead in at the interval. The Rapps came out after the change of ends with plenty of hope and determination and quickly got back into the game courtesy of Dobbs' scrambled goal after J.P. Farrell's initial effort was saved.
The hosts took the lead in the 37th minute when Oran Carty pointed and were ahead twice more afterwards.
However, it was Ferns who finished the game with a purple patch at the perfect time to book their spot in the quarters.
Ferns St. Aidan's: James Lawlor; Steve Warren, Patrick O'Hagan, Willie Bolger; Rory Scallan (0-1), Eoin Murphy (0-1), Brian O'Neill; Conor Scallan (capt., 0-2), Niall Murphy; Lee Quigley (0-1), Jeff Tobin (0-1), Ciarán Murphy (0-1); Pádraig Kinsella, Chris Turner (2-12, 0-9 frees), Shane Breen. Subs. - Seb Rynhart (0-1) for Kinsella (44), also Kevin Stafford, Bob Byrne, Byron Jordan, Shane Stafford, Liam Murphy, Michael O'Brien, Barry O'Toole.
Rapparees: Anto Larkin; Mick McGrath, Nathan O'Connor, Kevin Kehoe (capt.); Evan Murphy, Dylan McVeigh, Seán Breen; Anthony Murphy, Jack Doyle (0-11, 10 frees, 1 '65); Michael Dempsey, Jack Mythen, Craig Foley (0-2); Oran Carty (0-2), J.P. Farrell, Floyd Murphy. Subs. - Aaron Dobbs (1-1) for F. Murphy (31), Ryan Doran for E. Murphy (31), Willie Doyle for Farrell (59), also Callum Dobbs, Aaron Browne, Gavin Murphy.
Referee: Aiden O'Brien (Cloughbawn).