St. Peter's 0-12 Borris V.S. 0-11
It was all about character in the Netwatch Carlow Training Centre in Fenagh on Saturday when 14-man St. Peter's battled exceptionally hard in the last eleven minutes to hold out for a one-point victory over strong-finishing Borris Vocational School in this Top Oil Corn Uí Dhúill Leinster Schools Senior hurling 'A' championship quarter-final.
The odds were stacked against the Wexford side when Cian Meyler received a straight red card for a rash pull in the 49th minute, as they were playing into a very significant wind and had only struck one point since half-time.
Beaten league finalists Borris still had a lot of ground to make up at that stage, trailing by 0-11 to 0-6, but they gained heart from that dismissal and quickly set about the recovery process.
Rory Joyce and the very talented Jon Ryan fired over two quickfire points before Peter's netminder David Pettit batted a dangerous delivery from Jason O'Neill away from the danger zone.
And what proved to be a precious point for the Summerhill side arrived in the 56th minute. Team captain Jack Devereux and top scorer Ross Banville were working exceptionally hard to make use of possession on the rare occasions when Peter's broke beyond midfield.
And they linked up effectively to give their side a slight cushion (0-12 to 0-8), with Devereux exchanging passes with Banville before slotting over his third point.
Borris weren't finished however, far from it in fact as free-taker Ciarán Whelan converted twice before firing over one from play 90 seconds into added time to leave the minimum between the sides.
Whelan had also missed a long-range placed ball in between those second and third scores, and it was all down to referee Anthony Stapleton and his watch at that juncture.
Borris were hoping to get one more chance to at least force extra-time, but the long whistle sounded after two added minutes and a relieved Peter's will now take on the St. Kieran's (Kilkenny) powerhouse in a repeat of last year's semi-final which was played at the same venue.
The wind dictated proceedings to a large extent throughout, and the Wexford lads availed of it first to surge into a 0-10 to 0-1 interval lead, with just four of those points arriving from play.
An early Ross Banville free was cancelled by Jon Ryan in the eleventh minute, but once Peter's settled they went on to hit nine points on the trot, and a mere three wides, before half-time.
There wasn't much flow to the first quarter as a result of injuries to Dylan Lyne and Ben Stafford respectively, but a glorious point from a Jack Devereux line ball from the right in the 14th minute restored the Peter's lead and inspired his colleagues.
After that the points flowed, with Ben Stafford, Adam Cantwell, Devereux and Conall Clancy chipping in from play while Ross Banville supplied the remainder from placed balls.
Would nine points be enough with the strong wind to face? That was the half-time question, and it did look somewhat ominous when Ciarán Whelan (free), Jon Nolan and Rory Joyce shaved three off that deficit in the first six minutes.
A Ross Banville free made it 11-4 and slowed the Borris momentum, although a brace of Ciarán Whelan placed balls left them with plenty play for entering the last quarter.
Just before Meyler's dismissal, Peter's created a goal chance when Banville played a lovely crossfield ball to the Our Lady's Island lad who rounded his marker but saw his shot strike the body of Borris full-back Dillon Connors.
It was all hands on deck for Peter's in that tense conclusion, but they will be buoyed by the spirit shown ahead of Saturday's clash that will - as always against Kieran's - determine exactly the strength or otherwise of the Wexford challengers.
St. Peter's: David Pettit (Our Lady's Island); Dylan Lyne (Glynn-Barntown), Ben Maddock (St. Martin's), Ryan Furlong (Faythe Harriers); Billy Dunne (Oulart-The Ballagh), Michael Codd (St. Martin's), Shane Doyle (Glynn-Barntown); Jack Devereux (St. Martin's, capt., 0-3, 1 line ball), Philip Dempsey (St. Martin's); Brian Deeny (Faythe Harriers), Conall Clancy (Faythe Harriers, 0-1), Cian Meyler (Our Lady's Island); Ben Stafford (St. Martin's, 0-1), Adam Cantwell (St. Martin's, 0-1), Ross Banville (Shelmaliers, 0-6, 5 frees, 1 '65).
Borris V.S.: James Kavanagh (capt.); Collie Malone, Dillon Connors, Ian Foley; Donal Jordan, Eoin Kavanagh, Tony Lawlor; Dean Tobin, Dan Sheehan; Ciarán Whelan (0-6, 5 frees), Jack Ryan, Darragh O'Toole; Rory Joyce (0-2), Jon Nolan (0-3), Jason O'Neill. Subs. - Jamie Ryan for Foley (39), Jack Flood for O'Toole (41).
Ref.: Anthony Stapleton (Laois).