Major setback for Rathgormack
Ardmore . . . 1-9; Rathgormack . . . 0-8
Another surprise was the defeat of Rathgormack at the hands of Ardmore at a well attended Fraher Field on Saturday evening. This e encounter was a complete reversal of last season’s play off between the teams at the same venue, when Rathgormack certainly looked champions in the making as they won an exceedingly tight game by 0-14 to 2-5.
This time round it against really started well for the Eastern men, and when they raced into a four points lead inside five minutes, a similar result seemed to be on the cards. However Rathgormack went a further 30 minutes without raising a solitary flag,
Other factors too contributed to the shock Rathgormack defeat and they can thank the group system that they remain in contention. They cannot afford to make as many mistakes in their remaining group matches against Clashmore and Rinn O gCuanach.
Uppermost in any deliberations must surely be the reasoning behind the omission of Kevin Power at the outset, his contribution in the closing stages was such that during his team’s first half lean spell, he surely would have made a difference. The loss through injury of the outstanding Robert Power shortly before the break was a huge blow to Rathgormack and reduced their attacking power alarmingly.
Yet, one must credit Ardmore for the manner in which they recovered after a disastrous start and they reeled off a dozen well-taken points without reply. This gave the fancied Rathgormack a great deal to think about during the recess. The goal that broke the camel’s back arrived early in the second half to boost the seasiders’ prospects even further.
While there remained a glimmer of hope for the Eastern side, their forwards, with just one or two exceptions, looked inadequate for the task and Ardmore’s more gusty performance saw them hold out for a most unexpected triumph.
Rathgormack could scarcely have wished for a more encouraging start to this first round confrontation at Fraher Field. The game was only five minutes old, when they had four points recorded. Robert Power’s brace were followed up by Martin Whelan and Richie Power points and it didn’t look good for Ardmore. Little did onlookers realise then that the Eastern side would not score again for the remainder of the half.
The winners began with a point from Shane Leahy and the tireless Seamus Prendergast had their second. James O’Donnell fired over frees in the 17th and 19th minutes.
Continuing to grow in confidence, the seasiders repeatedly defied their opponents’ best efforts and when county hurling goalkeeper Clinton Hennessy fisted the lead point in the 23rd minute, the blues had hit the front much to the enjoyment of the Ardmore supporters.
The same player booted his second point a minute later and Rathgormack’s problems reached breaking point when their best forward Robert Power picked up a leg injury necessitating his removal by stretcher. Rathgormack’s plight might have been worse but their goalkeeper Brendan Crotty brought off a spectacular save to deny Billy Harty a certain goal before the half time whistle.
It was Ardmore who got off to the better start on the resumption. Within 90 seconds James O’Donnell increased the seasiders’ advantage with a fine point. Four minutes later, Gary North and Billy Harty combined well for Clinton Hennessy to finish home the crucial goal of the evening.
The earlier introduction of substitute Kevin Power finally paid off for Rathgormack as he narrowed the deficit with his first of two second half points and midfielder Richie Power added another two minutes later.
An exchange of points involving Brian Keane and Edmond Hogan did add to the growing tensions but then the scoring fell flat. Spectators had to wait until added time for late strikes from Shane Leahy and Kevin Power, for the contest to finish.
Declan and Seamus Prendergast, Johnny Hennessy, James O’Donnell, Clinton Hennessy and Shane Leahy played a significant role in this first round win, while for Rathgormack the loss through injury of Robert Power was hugely felt. Apart from Victor O’Shea, Richie Power, Brendan Crotty and Michael Sexton, a huge number of question marks remain about the side.
Teams & Scorers
Ardmore: Conor Hurley, Michael Hennessy, Declan Prendergast, Paul Gleeson, Cathal Hennessy, Johnny Hennessy, Shane Leahy, Seamus Prendergast, Gary North, James O’Donnell, Alan North, Clinton Hennessy, Brian Keane, Billy Harty, Tony Galway. Subs: Kenny Murphy for Galway, David O’Reilly for Harty, David Hennessy for C Hennessy.
Scorers: Clinton Hennessy 1-2, James O’Donnell 0-3, Shane Leahy 0-2, Seamus Prendergast and Brian Keane 0-1 each.
Rathgormack: Brendan Crotty, John Crotty, Tony Power, Padraig Larkin, Michael Sexton, Victor O’Shea, Michael Crotty, Richard Power, Mervyn Cummins, Paddy Crotty, Paul Shankey, John Kirwan, Edmund Hogan, Martin Whelan, Robert Power. Subs: Kevin Power for R Power, Dan Crotty for Larkin, Frannie Halpin for Whelan.
Scorers: Rathgormack: Robert Power and Richie Power 0-2 each, Kevin Power 0-2, Martin Whelan and Edmond Hogan 0-1 each.
Referee: Maurice Condon (Clashmore).
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