Abbeyside lower Ballyduff

Abbeyside’s Richie Foley solos away from his county colleague, Ballyduff Lower’s Jack Kennedy.  | Photo: Sean Byrne

Abbeyside’s Richie Foley solos away from his county colleague, Ballyduff Lower’s Jack Kennedy. | Photo: Sean Byrne

Abbeyside 3-15; Ballyduff Lower 2-11

Widely acknowledged championship favourites Abbeyside came to Walsh Park on Sunday afternoon last, and duly recorded a comprehensive and flawless victory over Ballyduff Lower.

With two highly influential team members, John Kindregan and Shane Briggs, out through injury, the winners at no stage really looked in danger of not fulfilling most pre-match predictions. True, Ballyduff looked sharp enough in the opening minutes and two early Neil Power points from placed positions saw them take an early lead, but the winners were on level terms within three minutes, per scorer in chief mark Gorman and a most improved Mark Fives. And while the losers quickly regained the lead for a brief period, a Patrick Hurney 11th minutes goal after he had been well set up by Mark Fives, saw Abbeyside go back in front for the first time.

The accuracy of Neil Power, and a splendid Niall Clifford point almost immediately saw equality exist for the second time in the 14th minute (1-2 to 0-5). But things changed quickly, and when Abbeyside struck for their second goal on the quarter hour mark, they had taken a lead never subsequently relinquished. That score was brilliantly executed, when direct from a John Gorman sideline ball, Patrick Hurney sent John Foley on his way for a well-taken goal, and there was no stopping the Westerners after that.

Despite the trojan work of Pat Matthews in the middle of the field for the losers, Abbeyside continued to reel off the points, and when a long ball from Richie Foley was finished to the losers net by Gary Hurney in the 25th minute, it marked the beginning of the end of the Eastern challenge.

By the time the short whistle sounded at the end of four additional first half minutes, Abbeyside had opened up a 3-8 to 0-9 lead advantage, and nothing short of a miracle would save Ballyduff from sustaining another knock-out blow.

Morale boost

Despite the fact that Abbeyside added two more points to their interval total inside four minutes of the restart, Ballyduff’s flagging hopes received a tremendous boost when their top scorer Neil Power found the winners’ net in the 36th minute. And despite never ceasing commendable efforts by Pat Matthews, especially after he had moved to the edge of the square, and revealed his versatility with a cracking goal on the three quarter hour mark, Ballyduff’s fate was ordained long before the end.

Whatever hopes that the Eastern men might still make a game out of it faded in the 48th minute, when defender Derek Van Veen was dismissed following an off the ball incident, and even though Jack Kennedy reduced arrears with a superb point almost immediately it proved to be the losers’ last score of the 2008 senior hurling championship.

Then to further add to their tale of woe, they lost scoring ace Neil Power in the final minute for what appeared to be a late tackle on an opponent. All in all not a good day at the office for Ballyduff, and this was a pity really, as at times they showed some nice touches of hurling, but the withdrawal of a player from attack in the early stages backfired.

Team to watch

All in all this was an excellent Abbeyside team performance, and one not likely to be lost on all the remaining contenders. They laid the foundation for their succession in the opening half, and the cushion of three goals facing into the second period proved too much for their opponents, and enabled them to visibly ease off a little.

Their defence, powered by the likes of John Hurney, Gavin Breen and Richie Foley, gave precious little away, while team captain John Foley, Mark Fives, Mark Gorman, Pat and Gary Hurney also contributed handsomely towards victory.

On the other side of the coin, it was certainly no fault of the likes of John O’Leary, Conor Kenny, Ger Harris, Pat Fitzgerald, Jack Kennedy and Pat Matthews that Ballyduff came out on the receding end here, and they will be back better and stronger for the experience.

Abbeyside: Daryl Ryan, Tiernan Murray, John Hurney, Gavin Breen, Patrick Lynch, Richie Foley, Eoin Enright, John Foley, Sean O’Hare, Mark Fives, John Gorman, Patrick Hurney, Mark Gorman, Gary Hurney, Mark Ferncombe. Sub: Declan Fives for M.Ferncombe.

Scorers: Mark Gorman 0-10 (0-8 frees), Mark Fives 0-3, Patrick Hurney, John Foley and Gary Hurney 1-0 each, Mark Ferncombe 0-2.

Ballyduff Lower: Brian O’Leary, Ger Harris, John O’Leary, Derek Van Veen, Stephen O’Leary, Conor Kenny, Paudie Murphy, Pat Fitzgerald, Pat Matthews, Paul Stevenson, Jack Kennedy,Paul Kennedy, Niall Clifford, Neil Power, Richie Barron. Subs: Kieran O’Brien for R.Barron. Aidan Dunne for S. O’Leary.

Scorers: Neil Power 1-6 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Pat Matthews 1-2, Jack Kennedy 0-2 and Niall Clifford 0-1.

Referee: Maurice Condon (Clashmore).

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