Minor “A” Semi Final 2011
BENNETTSBRIDGE 3-14, BARROW RANGERS 2-12
Bennettsbridge avenged last years last minute defeat to Rangers in the county final and clinched a place in this years Kilkenny Citroen Minor Hurling Roinn A Championship final with a fully merited victory over Barrow Rangers at Thomastown on Sunday last. This game provided great excitement and a great standard of hurling for the large crowd present.
Rangers got away to the perfect start when full forward Michael Lonergan ghosted in behind the defence and finish a long free to the net. Ciarán Doyle pointed a free before Lonergan struck again on five minutes for his second goal following great work by Sean Murphy. The Bridge boys slowly came back into the game and by the 17th minute had drawn level with a brilliant goal from a 20 metre free by Aidan Cleere and four excellent points from play from Hugh O’Neill, Enda Morrissey, Liam Blanchfield and Cormac Wafer.
Points from Cleere and Morrissey put Bennettsbridge ahead. A fine Ciarán Doyle point under pressure reduced the deficit. Blanchfield (B) and Doyle exchanged points before Cleere, who had by now found his range from frees, stretched the lead to three from a free and ’65. Dylan O’Shea and Ciarán Doyle pointed for Rangers to which Kevin Blanchfield replied with a point to leave the half time score 1-10 to 2-5 in favour of Bennettsbridge.
Rangers missed a number of easy scoring chances as they put on pressure early in the new half before Ciarán Doyle pointed. They were rocked back on seven minutes when Dylan Walsh was on hand to finish to the net after goalie Graham English had saved brilliantly. Enda Morrissey extended their lead with a point. Rangers fought back with three great points from play credited to Daniel O’Neill (2) and Michael Whitely to reduce the deficit to two points.
Enda Morrissey and Ciarán Doyle exchanged points before the crucial score came in the 23rd minute and it went the way of the Bridge boys. Sub Kevin Brennan who was left home alone near the Rangers goal took a pass from one of his colleagues and made no mistake, giving goalie no chance. Daniel O’Neill had another point for Rangers. Enda Morrissey availed of a defensive error to point for Bennettsbridge before Ciarán Doyle pointed a free to reduce the deficit.
Ciarán Doyle raced through the Bridge defence in search of a goal but his shot was smothered. Rangers were awarded another free shortly after but went for goal when a point might have been the better option as their was sufficient time left to try for a goal. From this save the ball was swept up field and an Aiden Cleere point put the game beyond Rangers grasp. The final whistle sounded shortly after and Bennettsbridge had deservedly qualified to meet neighbours Thomastown in County Final.
Best for Bennettsbridge were Robert Lennon, William Murphy, Enda Morrissey, Aiden Cleere, Hugh O’Neill, Shane Nolan and Cormac Wafer. For Rangers none tried harder than John Brennan, Tom Brennan, Ciarán Breen, Ciarán Doyle, Sean Murphy, Michael Whitely, Daniel O’Neill and Michael Lonergan.
Bennettsbridge: Michael Sheil, Shane Nolan, Robert Lennon, Sean Morrissey, William Murphy, Paul O’Neill, Kevin Blanchfield (0-1), Enda Morrissey (0-5), Michael Power, Eoin O’Connor, Hugh O’Neill (0-1), Aiden Cleere (1-4), Liam Blanchfield (0-2), Cormac Wafer (0-1), Dylan Walsh (1-0).
Sub: Kevin Brennan (1-0)
Barrow Rangers: Graham English, Peter Treacy, Kevin Brennan, Ciarán Breen, John Brennan, Tom Brennan, Edward Prendergast, Ciarán Doyle (0-7), Daniel O’Neill (0-3), Niall Walsh, Michael Whitely (0-1), Sean Murphy, Dylan O’Shea
(0-1), Michael Lonergan (2-0), Keith Flavin.
Subs: Nathan West, Aaron Nolan
Referee: Eamon Mansfield 9/10/2011