Wednesday, 18th October 2017
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Round three completed

It was a full programme of JJ Kavanagh Senior Hurling Championship last weekend where the results made for very interesting reading as far as the groups and the qualifiers are concerned.

On Friday evening it was the turn of neighbours Tallow and Ballyduff Upper to "cross swords" with both teams looking to get off the mark and get their championship up and running. The winner would garnish a precious two points which ultimately could get them in a battle for the knockout stages while a loss would very much dent the chances of the loser and make qualification that much more difficult. Having been inactive for nearly five months it was good to get back some domestic action although in many of the games the lack of competition was visible with many players falling short of championship pace.

In all honesty deferring the competition for such a long period does very little for the appeal of patrons or indeed for the other ninety five per cent of players who remain inactive. We would all cherish an

All-Ireland title but some form of strategy must be brought forward by Croke Park to accomodate the club player. Tinkering at the edges does not make the dramatic change that is required.

Against the elements in the opening game of the weekend it was Ballyduff Upper who had the more impressive start. Leading after ten minutes 0-6 to 0-4 there was precious little between the team although Tallow with county player Tommy Ryan very much to the fore with two points edged the Bridesiders ahead, 0-12 to 0-11, before the break. The teams were level again within ten minutes of the restart but it was Tallow who were creating the better chances. Ryan Grey with two points saw Tallow ahead once again as the game passed the three quarter mark but Ballyduff Upper again saw the scoreboard level 0-16 apiece. In the remaining minutes it was impossible to seperate the teams but Tallow with a Tommy Ryan point saw their noses in front and they held out for a precious win. For Ballyduff Upper it was a huge blow to their championship chances and they also saw both Oran Leamy and Denis McDonagh dismissed just before the end.

DOUBLE HEADER

Championship joint favourites De La Salle made a huge statement in Walsh Park on Saturday afternoon with a fully deserved

3-20 to 0-13 win over Abbeyside. Indeed the opening minutes saw the Stephen Street outfit hit nine unanswered points before Abbeyside landed their opener. Goals from veteran John Mullane, who subsequently retired injured, and Shane Ryan saw De La Salle in control at the break 2-12 to 0-8. A feature of this opening half and indeed throughout the game was the positioning of intercounty star Kevin Moran who operated as a spare defensive back and it allowed the county captain to "pull the strings" for the attacks. De La Salle continued to control the exchanges in the second half and a third goal from Jack Fagan saw clear daylight between the sides, which the city side held until referee Michael O'Brien called time.

The second game of this double header saw Passage face Mount Sion. The latter without the services of out of bounds Austin Gleeson like their opponents had already "banked" two points and knew that a win could catapult them into contention for the knockout stages. Passage had shown some pleasing efforts of late, more particularly, their win over

Ballygunner in the Sargent Cup just a week before so they would be hoping that their spell of form would continue. Both teams began tentatively but Passage breached the Mount Sion defence within five minutes as John Whitty raced through to give Stephen Lynch a goal chance which the centre forward gratefully accepted.

A light drizzle made conditions difficult for the players but that aside both teams found keeping possession very difficult and this led to a scrappy contest. Despite some determined efforts from Owen Whelan and Stephen Roche of Mount Sion it was Passage who cracked the second goal of the game as the industrious Tommy Connors sent Jamie Burke in for a goal. The team from the fishing village led by six points

2-4 to 0-4 at the break.

The second half saw an improvement in the play and Mount Sion, 2-6 to 0-4 behind, very nearly had their opening goal as Richie Roche saw his flicked effort cleared off the line by the ever alert Jason Roche. Stephen Roche cut the deficit to five points with two well taken scores but it was Passage who held out to clinch their second win of the competition 2-8 to 0-9.

DUNGARVAN DUELS

Fourmilewater and Roanmore "locked horns" in Fraher Field in Saturday evening with another huge two points up for grabs. Both clubs had one win from their previous two games so the result here could be a "big" two points for the victor. The men from Ballymacarbry edged the opening half 0-9 to 0-8 with three superb points from former county star Shane Walsh. The second half saw Fourmilewater take a grip on proceedings. With Dylan Guiry very much driving the scoreboard they landed six points in a row to be comfortable 0-18 to

1-9 ahead. However a Daniel Murphy goal on 54 minutes sent a little jitter through the Fourmilewater team but they held their nerve to claim the points on a 0-19 to 1-12 scoreline.

2-16 Intermediate champions Lismore are top of their group courtesy of a 2-15 to

1-10 win over Portlaw. Corner forward Peter O'Keeffe cracked home the opening goal for the winners who led 1-7 to 0-0 after the opening quarter. Eoin Galvin pulled a goal back for the Tannery Town but some poor shooting saw them behind 1-9 to 1-3 at the break. Both teams missed a number of points chances but Lismore kept themselves ahead and a second goal from Paudie Prendergast in the last ten minutes saw the cathedral Town outfit claim the win on a 2-15 to 1-10 scoreline.

GUNNERS CLAIM TWO POINTS

The final game of this hurling weekend saw Ballygunner and Dungarvan in opposition in Fraher Field on Sunday evening. The Gunners at the head of the odds board with de La Salle were facing a young Old Boro outfit whom many fancy coould yet be the "team in waiting". The opening quarter saw Dungarvan ahead 0-9 to 0-5 but a Michael Mahony goal on eighteen minutes gave Ballygunner a one point lead 1-8 to 0-10 at the break. A feature of the opeing half was the superb shooting of Patrick Curran who hit a half dozen points.

There was little between two determined sides in the opening quarter of the second half but a Conor Power goal fro Ballygunner edged them 2-12 to 0-11 ahead and they looked to be heading for a comfortable victory. However Dungarvan produced a goal from Ryan Donnelly late in the half to set the nerves on end for Ballygunner and County keeper Stephen O'Keeffe was called on to make a super save just before the call of time. The final score 2-18 to 1-17 in favour of the Ballinakill team was just about deserved but Dungarvan proved they are still a real force in this competition.

ROUND FOUR

The pairings for the next round, with points in brackets, will see Abbeyside (2) versus Ballygunner (6), De La Salle (6) versus Tallow (2) and Dungarvan (2) versus Ballyduff Upper(0) in Group One while in Group Two Fourmilewater (4) will play Passage (4), Portlaw (0) versus Mount Sion (2) while Roanmore (2) will face table toppers Lismore (6).

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