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Senior Hurling Championship R3: Cú Chulainns

posted 20 Nov 2015, 06:45 by Robert Emmetts PRO   [ updated 20 Nov 2015, 06:51 ]
15th August, 2015
Robert Emmetts: 4-12
Cú Chulainns: 1-9

A bright start saw us put two points up with our first two attacks through Mick O'Dwyer and Eoin Chawke, and after 10 minutes we were 3-1 ahead. We were well on top but some early wides meant that our dominance wasn't translating to the scoreboard. Our forwards were working well as a unit though, and were creating lots of chances. These finally paid off when Conor McMullan got on the end of a long Eoin Chawke delivery to flick the ball to the net overhead from close range. Minutes later Daryl Roberts cut through the Cú Chulainns defence. Appearing to be bottled up at first he laid the ball off to Mick O'Dwyer who created a bit of space for himself and returned the ball to Daryl who rattled the net. That left the score at 2-3 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. The midfield duo of Tadhg Healy and Mícheál Ó Laochdha were complementing each other well - Tadhg giving an exhibition of high-fielding and Mícheál expertly reading the breaking ball and delivering good quality ball to our forward lines. Our backs had also settled well and were winning their individual battles. Kieran Fitz led by example from full-back and was solid as a rock. Tigerish defending in the corners from Steven Griffey and Mark Conroy ensured that our goal-line was well-protected, where Mark Traynor confidently dealt with any high ball. Cú Chulainns were being restricted to long-range frees, while we managed a further couple of scores from play from Daryl Roberts and Eoin Chawke. At half-time we held a seven-point advantage: 2-5 to 0-4.

Despite our lead we knew that we were capable of improving, and Kevin McMullan reminded the lads that concentration would have to be maintained and work-rate upped if we were to be sure of the victory. The team responded immediately on the resumption and had four points flashed over in the space of five minutes. Denis O'Regan, having another excellent game at wing-forward was winning truckloads of primary possession from close-quarters and was rewarded with a score of his own. Our full-forward line was causing havoc for the Cú Chulainns - Eoin Chawke roamed freely, picking up loose ball and taking on the defence at every opportunity while Conor McMullan and Daryl Roberts in the corners were first to the ball every time. This was emphasised after less than ten minutes into the second half when Daryl burned his marker out near the left sideline, sped past the 21 and buried the sliotar in the bottom-corner of the goal. When Fergus McMahon put over a long-range free in the 40th minute the scoreboard read 3-10 to 0-5 in our favour.

As the clock ticked towards the 50 minute mark Cú Chulainns pressed hard for a goal to bring themselves back into the contest. A 21-yard free was drilled low, taking a deflection along the way, but Kieran Fitz's quick reflexes stopped the ball inches in front of the line. With 10 minutes to go we remained well in front, 3-11 to 0-9. The game was finally put to rest just over five minutes from the end as Mick O'Dwyer showed great composure and vision to pick out his captain, and fellow Kilkenny man, Martin Fitzpatrick running hard from centre-forward. Fitzy made no mistake, jinking past two Cú Chulainns defenders before rifling the ball to the roof of the net. A momentary lapse in concentration allowed Cú Chulainns in for a consolation goal just before full-time, but we held on to enjoy an excellent first win in our 2015 championship campaign.