Blessington 3-12 AGB 0-9
An impressive showing from the reigning county champions Blessington showed why they are not to be ruled out of sealing back-to-back titles.
It was an all-round, convincing performance from the west Wicklow men who opened the scoring through Paul McLoughlin inside the first two minutes.
Blesso found joy on their left-hand side in the opening minutes with Eoin Keogh and Kevin Hanlon seeing plenty of the ball.
Blessington increased their lead through some fine scores by Kevin John Rogers and another from Paul McLoughlin before Stephen Carroll increased their lead with a good score from distance on the quarter of an hour mark.
Mervyn Travers was called into action shortly after when a ball from Jordan McGarr was met by the fist of Anto McLoughlin, but the AGB netminder produced a quality save to pick the ball out of the top corner.
AGB struggled in transition phases when turning defence into attack but looked dangerous when they were able to get the ball into Sean Hurley and Conn Kinsella.
It was Hurley who found the first score for AGB and he quickly followed it up with a point from a mark to reduce the deficit.
Blessington dominated possession in the first half and were happy to retain the ball and wait for openings. Anto McLoughlin was next to put his name on the scoresheet after cutting inside onto his right foot, but the Arklow men responded with another score from Sean Hurley.
The flying wing-backs of Blessington combined shortly after resulting in Jordan McGarr slotting over the bar before they found their final score of the half through Stephen Carroll. AGB did go into the break losing by just three points after a free from Sean Hurley on the cusp of half-time.
Blesso started the second period in the same fashion as they did the first, with a point from Eoin Keogh.
Anthony Masterson’s side responded with a point from Conn Kinsella, but if it wasn’t for a deflection from Steven Bohan, the ball could have ended up in the back of the net.
Kevin Hanlon seemed to always find space on the pitch and was one of the stand-out performers for his side. Hanlon scored a great solo point before Peter Hempenstal pulled another back for AGB.
The main turning point of the game was the first Blessington goal and after a great carry up the pitch by Brian Bohan, the ball fell to Paul McLoughlin on the 13-yard line.
McLoughlin hit the ball on the half-volley past Travers in the AGB net to extend their lead.
In the moments after, Stephen Hurley and Anto McLoughlin traded scores before Blesso saw the green flags raised for a second time after Mikey O’Connor’s goal.
A surging run from Kevin Hanlon saw him one on one against Travers. Hanlon popped the ball across to the waiting O’Connor who finished from close range.
O’Connor quickly found a point in the next play before another point from Stephen Carroll. AGB continued to press and found some consolation points from Sean Hurley and Ciaran O’Shea but Blessington put the icing on the cake after Craig Maguire and Mikey O’Connor linked up before finding Anto McLoughlin who punched the ball into the back of the net.
AGB: Mervyn Travers; Karl Kirwan, Tom Maher, Cian Cooney; Cal Kelly, Jack Hamilton, Neil O’Reilly; Sean Crowley, JP Hurley; Stephen Hurley (0-1), Cormac O’Shea, Peter Hempenstal (0-1); Conn Kinsella (0-1), Sean Hurley (0-5,2f), Cathal Kelleher. Subs: Phil Healy for Cathal Kellher (34), Tiernan McBride for Cal Kelly (40), Ciaran O’Shea for Neil O’Reilly (45), Chris O’Brien for Sean Crowley (55).
Blessington: Mikey O’Toole; Jack Gilligan, Brian Bohan, Barry Finan; Kevin Hanlon (0-1), Austin Kevin John Rogers (0-1), Jordan McGarr (0-1); Craig Maguire, Paul McLoughlin (1-2); Eoin Keogh (0-1), Anto McLoughlin (1-2), Stephen Carroll (0-3); Steven Bohan, Dean Siney, Wayne Callaghan. Subs: Curtis Geraghty for Kevin John Rogers (40), Mikey O’Connor (1-1) for Dean Siney(49), Austin Brennan for Jordan McGarr (51), Dan Silke Fetherston for Eoin Keogh (55).
Referee: Darragh Byrne.