Abbeyside plunder magnificent seven

Michael Kiely

Patrick Lynch and Eoin Kelly of Passage share a joke during their Waterford SHC second-round clash at Walsh Park. | Photo: Michael Kiely

Abbeyside 7-16 Passage 3-10

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Abbeyside maintained their winning start to the County Senior Hurling Championship with a facile victory over a disappointing Passage at Walsh Park last Sunday. Abbeyside are a lot of people’s favourites to go all the way this year and this performance will only re-affirm those beliefs.

Ironically, Passage were the first to settle in this encounter and opened up a two-point lead inside the first couple of minutes with a pair of delightful scores. The first was a massive Eoin Kelly free from 130 yards while the second was a fantastic 45-metre sideline cut from Thomas Connors.

However, this was as good as it got for Passage as Abbeyside quickly drew level through a Mark Ferncombe point from play and a free from Richie Foley.

After eight minutes Abbeyside took the lead for the first time when dual star Gary Hurney showed his considerable football skills to kick the sliothar 40 yards crossfield to pick out Mark Ferncombe and he crashed the ball to the Passage net. This was a lead Abbeyside were to hold on to for the rest of the game.

For the next 10 minutes Passage matched the Abbeyside men score-for-score as points from Richie Foley, Mark Gorman and Gary Hurney were cancelled out by Passage points from Killian Fitzgerald and two from Eoin Kelly.

Abbeyside upped the ante for the final 10 minutes of the half and added further points through Mark Gorman, Patrick and Gary Hurney again and one from Mark Ferncombe. Passage’s sole reply was a free in injury time from the ever reliable, Eoin Kelly. This left the scoreline 1-10 to 0-6 in favour of Abbeyside at half-time.

Clincher

The sides were evenly matched once again in the early stages of the second half as Eoin Kelly scored a free for Passage while Sean O’Hare scored a point for Abbeyside. After 35 minutes the game was effectively ended as a contest when great work by Patrick Hurney led to his older brother, Laurence finishing to the Passage net.

Gary, probably feeling a little bit left out, grabbed a point from play before Passage raised a cheer from their supporters in the 43rd minute when Conor Carey goaled after a long range shot from Mark Wyse was batted away by Abbeyside goalkeeper Daryl Ryan.

Seconds later, Carey’s goal was cancelled out when a long delivery from John Hurney set up Patrick Hurney for a goal. Five minutes later, Hurney got his second goal of the afternoon when he was on hand to finish after goalkeeper Michael O’Sullivan brilliantly saved from Mark Gorman.

Things went from bad to worse for Passage two minutes later when John Gorman got in on the act to grab himself a goal. He followed this up with a fine point from play a minute later.

Conor Carey, who was probably Passage’s most effective forward on the day, scored his second goal five minutes from time to make it 5-15 to 2-10.

With the game so open at this stage the Abbeyside forwards found themselves in plenty of space and were able to score at will. They added points through John Hurney and Mark Gorman. In the final minute, they ran in for two more goals through Mark Ferncombe and John Gorman. Ferncombe’s in particular was a tremendous finish that Michael O’Sullivan hardly saw the sliotar as it flew past him.

This was a tremendous team performance from an Abbeyside outfit who are certainly among the frontrunners for the senior hurling crown this year. Team manager Neil Moore may be slightly worried at the concession of 3-10, a total that would win many games. However, this was a very open game and was always going to be high-scoring.

Many of their young forwards caught the eye, in particular Mark Ferncombe who scored two great goals and a brace of nice points as well.

Once again, this was a poor day at the office for Passage who will have it all to do if they are to avoid the dreaded relegation play-offs. On this occasion they were best served by minor star Mark Wyse and centre-forward Conor Carey.

Abbeyside: D Ryan, T Murray, P Lynch, G Breen, E Enright, R Foley, S Briggs, J Hurney, S O’Hare, J Gorman, G Hurney, M Gorman, P Hurney, L Hurney, M Ferncombe.

Scorers: M Ferncombe 2-2, J Gorman 2-1, P Hurney 2-1, L Hurney 1-1, G Hurney, 0-3, M Gorman 0-3 (0-2f), J Hurney 0-2, R Foley 0-2f, S O’Hare 0-1

Passage: M O’Sullivan, J Upton, L Carey, S Flood, I Power, B Carey, N Connors, M Wyse, K Fitzgerald, N Quinlan, E Kelly, T Connors, C Carey, A Connors, P Hogan. Subs: R Quann for P Hogan, A Whitty for S Flood, B Fitzgerald for A Connors, E Quann for I Power.

Scorers: E Kelly 1-8 (0-7f 0-1 65), C Carey 2-0, T Connors 0-1 (sideline), K Fitzgerald 0-1.

Referee: John Condon

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