A tremendous second half fight back by Park Ratheniska just came up short as Clonaslee St Manmans qualified for the quarter finals of the Sparrow Insurances intermediate hurling championship with their first half wind assisted display enough to see them through at Mountmellick on Sunday morning.
Clonaslee St Manman’s 2-14
Park Ratheniska 1-14
This was certainly the game of two halves as at half time Clonaslee were coasting as they led by whopping 14 points 2-10 to 0-2 and it seemed the only question to be answered was how much the annihilation of Ratheniska would be at the end of 60 minutes.
However unlike their footballers a few days earlier, the Park lads staged a remarkable second half recover that just failed in the end.
With a few minutes remaining Ratheniska had got back to within two points and had Clonaslee on the ropes as they pinned them in their own half but they could not finish off the task and St Manmans just held out for a three point victory with two late scores.
It was all Clonaslee in the opening half as they totally dominated proceedings from the start and scores from Conor Dunne and Conor Hyland gave them the early advantage on the scoreboard with Darragh Nolan keeping Ratheniska in touch early on but that was to one of only two first half scores with Paddy Kelly getting the other after 16 minutes.
By that time Clonaslee led by 1-6 to 0-1 with points coming at will from Danny Larkin, PJ Fitzpatrick, Conor Dunne and Will Young with Young also catching a long range free turning the defence and firing home a terrific goal in the 13th minute.
In the absence of James Young who was off on his honeymoon, it was left to Will to provide the leadership in the centre of the attack and he did so with great effect. By half time he had added another goal as he soloed through from midfield and sent a rasping shot to the net while the points flowed from Conor Dunne, PJ Fitzpatrick, Conor Hyland and Young himself as Clonaslee were full value for their 2-10 to 0-2 half time lead.
There was nothing to suggest that Ratheniska would make a game of it in the second half and when PJ Fitzpatrick extended the lead on the restart the game seemed all over but full credit to Ratheniska for a magnificent comeback that left the game in the balance in the final minutes.
Darragh Nolan started the comeback with a massive point from near midfield and Paddy Kelly scooped over a point from close range with a goal a possibility. Nolan added two more long range points as Ratheniska started to believe in themselves with the wind at their backs.
Two super points from Fergal Phelan either side of a smashing David Kelly goal had the lead at manageable proportions as Clonaslee led by 2-12 to 1-8 midway through the half and the introduction of a couple of subs added a bit more fire to Ratheniska.
Darragh Nolan added a brace of fine points and Mark Delaney fired over a long range score to leave just three points between the teams with five minutes remaining.
Ciaran Hyland relieved the pressure with a fine point against the wind but back came Ratheniska and again Darragh Nolan hit two on the trot and there was only two between the teams with as many minutes to play.
Ratheniska threw everything into getting the winning goal but Clonaslee stood firm and in a counter attack hit the insurance point at the other end as time ran out for the losers.
Scorers: Clonaslee: Will Young 2-1, Conor Dunne, PJ Fitzpatrick 0-3 each, Conor Hyland and Ciaran Hyland 0-2 each, Danny Larkin 0-1. Park Ratheniska: Darragh Nolan 0-9, Fergal Phelan and Paddy Kelly 0-2 each, David Kelly 1-0, Mark Delaney 0-1.
Clonaslee: David Rosney; John Carroll, Martin Fallon, Mark McEvoy, Shane Conroy, Conor Gorman, Dermot Conroy, Glen McEvoy, Conor Hyland, Danny Larkin, Will Young, Ciaran Hyland, PJ Fitzpatrick, Conor Dunne, Conor Lewis.
Park Ratheniska: Ger Ramsbottom, Martin Kelly, Dennis Brennan, Paul Brennan, Benny Conroy, David Larkin, Gavin Tynan, Mark Delaney, Paddy Kelly, Ogie Green, Fergal Phelan, Finnian Guinan, Darragh Nolan, David Kelly, Barry Fingleton.
Referee: Anthony Costigan