Passage record famous win while Mount Sion rue profligacy

Passage 2-11 Mount Sion 0-15

Passage’s sensational victory over Mount Sion at Walsh Park on Sunday afternoon last has blown the County Hurling Championship wide open.

The vanquished, now facing a battle against relegation from senior hurling for the first time in its history, have no one but themselves to blame for missing chance after chance.

In the first half alone, Mount Sion recorded 14 wides – a massive contributing factor in this reversal.

Indeed, Sion didn’t register a score until well into the second quarter while Passage grew in stature.

The introduction of Tony Browne who surprisingly didn’t start, brought about a welcome level of stability into the ‘Sion defence, and in view of the degree of possession his team enjoyed, it was inevitable that scores would follow.

But after 15 minutes, Browne’s ex-club mate Eoin Kelly hammered a 20-metre free into the net, which contributed towards Passage’s four-point lead at half-time.

While both teams missed a fair share of scoring chances in the second half, the quality of hurling greatly improved after the interval, but never to the levels one would expect at this level of competition.

The change of ends saw Mount Sion pin their hopes on personnel and positional alterations, and it seemed to work when newcomer Michael White pointed within a minute of the restart.

But when Eoin Kelly responded in kind four minutes later, Passage followers had every reason to believe that one of their greatest every victories was on the cards.

Yet bit by bit, Mount Sion proceeded to chip away at Passage’s lead, and by the end of the third quarter, the sides were level for the first time thanks to a Paul Hammond point.

After 50 minutes, Tony Browne set up Ross O’Keeffe who duly put Mount Sion in front for the first time in the match in the 50th minute. Things were looking ominous for the Passage cause.

But their concern lasted no more than three minutes until parity was restored again and when the hard working Conor Carey struck for the winner’s second goal in the 54th minute, it certainly struck the right chord for the rank outsiders.

The closing minutes was laced with further high drama and defining moments, but at the call of time, with a last gasp injury-time insurance point had carried the day, it resulted in scenes of immense jubilation after the final whistle had sounded.

Passage: Ray Barry, Liam Carey, Brian Carey, Mark Wyse, Ian Power, Thomas Connors, Joey Upton, Rory Walsh, Nicholas Quinlan, Conor Carey, Eoin Connors, Paul Fitzgerald, Killian Fitzgerald, Eoin Kelly, Paul Hogan. Subs: Aaron Connors for P Fitzgerald, Patrick Walsh for K. Fitzgerald, John Whitty for P Hogan, John Paul Collingwood for N Quinlan.

Scorers: Eoin Kelly (1-4), Conor Carey (1-1), Aaron Connors (0-3), Eoin Connors (0-2) and John Paul Collingwood (0-1).

Mount Sion: Ian O’Regan, John Cleere, Nicky Jacob, Kevin Flynn, Christopher Ryan, Ken McGrath, Kenny Stafford, Paul Hammond, Brian Cusack, Anthony Kirwan, Ross O’Keeffe, Owen Whelan, Sean Ryan, Eoin McGrath, Martin O’Neill. Subs: Tony Browne for O Whelan, Michael White for M O’Neill, Daniel Kelly for A Kirwan and Barry Browne for D. Kelly.

Scorers: Ken McGrath (0-5), Paul Hammond, Daniel Kelly, Ross O’Keeffe (0-2 each), Michael White, Eoin McGrath, Sean Ryan and Brian Cusack (0-1 each).

Referee: Tim O’Byrne (Erins Own).

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