The senior hurlers progressed to the semi-final stages of the Junior B hurling championship with a hard earned win over St Agnes on Wednesday evening. As with previous championship encounters between the sides there was not much to separate them and in this case the puck of a sliotar.
It played out into a nail biting game with St Agnes opening the scoring with a point from a 65. Colm McKee then fielded a high puck out from the St Agnes keeper, handpassed the sliotar off to Chris Gallagher who dispatched it over the bar, from long range, to level. St Agnes edged in front with a pointed free, but Ruairi McIlroy laid the sliotar off to Chris Gallagher who picked out Gearoid Cosgrove in the full forward line and he struck the sliotar between the posts to tie the game again. Points from Canice Mooney and Ciaran Rice put us in front for the first time, but St Agnes came back with a well taken point. Chris Gallagher then went on a solo run from his own half, picked out Rory McEvoy who in turn gave the sliotar to Stephen McGivern. Stephen struck the sliotar, it hit the post and as it came back Gearoid Cosgrove cracked it to the net. St Agnes response was immediate as a long high ball into the square found its way to the back off the net – one between the sides. Both teams’ traded further points with Canice Mooney on target before Ciaran Rice goaled and another point from Gearoid Cosgrove gave us a half time lead 2-6 to 1-4.
We extended our advantage, early in the second half, with two points from Stephen McGivern but St Agnes cut the deficit to three when they struck 1-1 and they were back in the game. Stephen McGivern added to his tally with another two points but another Aggies goal reduced our lead to two. Another brace of points from Stephen McGivern and a point from Rory McEvoy gave us a five point cushion but another St Agnes goal left two between the sides. With time almost up St Agnes were awarded a 20 metre free and their only option was to go for goal, however the fierce shot was parried away and we had secured a place in the next round. Click here for photos of the game.
While there was only two between the sides we need to take into account that we scored 2-13 and shot 21 wide’s over the hour. On another day, with a bit more composure and better decision making we could have converted some of those opportunities into scores and will need to if we are to have any chance against the holders, Ballymena, in the semi-final.