Clongeen in seventh heaven as late breakout secures emphatic victory over Ballyhogue
Clongeen 7-13 Ballyhogue 1-17
LONGEEN FINISHED with incredible prowess in the scorching heat of O’Kennedy Park, New Ross on Saturday, scoring an unanswered 3-1 in the final eleven minutes to crush the persistent challenge posed by Ballyhogue in this highly enjoyable Permanent TSB Junior’ A’ final of the hurling championship.
They were up 4-11 to 1-16 on the final water break, with Emmet Kent and Shane Byrne continuing to trade points before one of the best goals I’ve seen in a game of this importance inspired this sensational. to end.
When a shrewd cross pass from Michael Dundon found the always dangerous Darryl Murphy in plenty of space down the right, most players in his place would have tapped a point and kept the scoreboard going.
However, Murphy already had two goals to his name and he was determined to score a hat trick. And he did it in marvelous style, blasting his way past three potential challengers before beating Niall Maher to leave Clongeen a significant step closer to the title (5-12 to 1-17).
And any lingering doubt was erased on their next attack when Jamesie Rochford earned a left wing cross from substitute Shane Kilkenny a split second before Maher and was fouled for a penalty.
Midfielder Páraic Cullen had the same killer instinct as Murphy, sending a searing drive into the left corner of the net to secure a very impressive success.
It all happened quickly for Ballyhogue after that, with the brave finalists down to 14 men in unusual circumstances.
Cian Wickham was about to be substituted when linesman Pat Kehoe alerted referee Gearóid McGrath to an ill-timed shot on Michael Dundon after a line ball under the stand, and he was duly dismissed.
It was an unfortunate conclusion for one of Ballyhogue’s best performers throughout this promising campaign, but it had no bearing on the outcome as Clongeen was already home and watered by this stadium after those goals from Murphy and Cullen.
Just for good measure, Shane Kilkenny netted the rebound for number seven after Murphy was inches away from adding his fourth on the kill, capping off a dream afternoon for the champions led by Michael Laffan.
It was a complete contrast to their last final appearance of 2020, when they underperformed on the big day and were comfortably beaten by Kilmore 1-14 0-10. Going 7-13 on their next attempt underscored the improvements made since, and they are the first club to score seven goals in winning an adult hurling championship since St. Martin’s Special Juniors in 1971.
History has repeated itself too, as Clongeen followed last year’s intermediate ‘A’ football title with this win – similar to 2008 when their last adult hurling crown (in the junior category) came a season after the one that has never been forgotten senior football’s only triumph.
Saturday’s win was particularly special for Enda Murphy, Emmet Kent and Shane Cahill, who all starred in that win over Craanford 14 years ago, while Páraic Cullen was on the panel.
The action-packed competition went off at a brisk pace from the start despite the sweltering heat, after the large crowd caused the throw-in time to be briefly delayed.
And Clongeen were in business early on as they scored within three minutes, after Emmet Kent and Cian Wickham traded points before the former provided Cullen to make it 0-2-0- 1.
Seamie Kiely crossed the square at the end of the locker room for Darryl Murphy to hit the net, and there was more to come after another exchange of points between Peter Kelly and the goalscorer.
The game was still under five minutes old when Cathal Murphy’s delivery was missed by a defender, and Jamesie Rochford capitalized on the error to extend Clongeen’s lead to 2-3 at 0-2.
They were rampant as Kent and Kiely pulled away at nine, but Enda and Ronan Minogue (free) did their best to settle Ballyhogue with points before the fire Darryl Murphy fed Seamie Kiely for an answer.
The side relegated from the junior category last year almost got the goal they needed in the eleventh minute, after a hasty clearance from Clongeen’s Ricky Rochford was intercepted.
However, Liam Doyle’s weak drive was halted on the line by full-back Enda Murphy, and they had to settle for a point from Ronan Minogue instead (2-6 to 0-5).
David Hennebry picked up another point for the Enniscorthy District team but they were hit hard once again when a Shane Doyle strike failed and was cleared by Ricky Rochford.
Seamie Kiely hung on on the break and fed Darryl Murphy for his well-worked second goal, leaving Clongeen clear 3-6 at 0-6 before Ronan Minogue netted another point before the water break.
The chance to regroup was fully used by Ballyhogue, as Cian Wickham pointed out when the action resumed before their goal arrived. Liam Doyle delivered the ball from the square and Dylan Dalton was on hand to knock it down from close range, closing the gap to a much more manageable 3-6 to 1-8.
David Hennebry continued his charge with a point after Páraic Cullen converted a free kick at the other end, but there was another twist in this rapidly changing game of fortune.
After a break point from Darryl Murphy, a long delivery from captain Shane Cahill went all the way to the net as the presence of Jamesie Rochford around the square provided the necessary distraction (4-8 to 1-9).
There was a strong response from Ballyhogue, hitting the final three free twos from Ronan Minogue – the second of which jumped off after bouncing off the square – and captain and midfielder Graham Parker.
However, even though they didn’t let up until the end, Clongeen outscored them 3-5 at 0-5 after the break so there were no complaints from the losers.
The first four points of the reboot were shared, with Parker (free) and Ronan Minogue (’65) earning scores that elicited responses from Páraic Cullen (free and play).
Parker and Minogue (free) kept the pressure on, and Clongeen still had a long way to go even after Cathal Murphy scored the final point before the water break (4-11 to 1-16).
Bringing the experienced Emmet Kent into midfield certainly proved a wise move, and he scored a point on the restart before Ballyhogue replacement Shane Byrne fought back.
However, that flurry of goals was imminent, with Murphy, Cullen and Kilkenny tasked with hammering the final nails into their rivals’ coffin after a top-notch game.
Clongin: Ricky Rocheford; Paudie Cahill, Enda Murphy, Jamie Keating; Ger Foxe, Shane Cahill (captain, 1-0), Peter Anthony Wall; Páraic Cullen (1-5, 1-0 pen., 0-3 free), Danny O’Grady; Darryl Murphy (3-2), Seamie Kiely (0-2), Michael Dundon; Jamesie Rochford (1-0), Emmet Kent (0-3), Cathal Murphy (0-1). Subs. – Shane Kilkenny (1-0) for Wall (43), Stephen Dundon for J. Rochford, inj. (51), Cian Murphy-Kehoe for C. Murphy (58), Donal Whelan for Foxe (60), also Cian O’Grady, Robbie Rochford, Patrick Finn, Marty Reville, Adam Ryan, Patrick Whelan.
Ballyhog: Niall Maher; Eddie Galavan, Sean Rochford, Colm Parnell; Shane Doyle, James Parle, Eamon Doyle; Graham Parker (captain, 0-3, 1 free), Enda Minogue (0-1); David Hennebry (0-2), Dylan Dalton (1-0), Cian Wickham (0-2); Ronan Minogue (0-7, 4 francs, 1’65), Peter Kelly (0-1), Liam Doyle. Subs. – Liam Rossiter for E. Doyle, inj. (22), Shane Byrne (0-1) for Dalton (39), Noel Roche for Kelly (47), also Conor Byrne, Murt Levingstone, Shane Roche, Seán Ring, Tadhg Malone, Mick Parker, Cian Rochford, Ronan Byrne, Cian Rodgers, Conor Dawson, Tobias Redmond.
Arbitrator: Gearoid McGrath (St. James’).