Ruan 2-12 Clarecastle 1-11
WHEN Ruan went to the break in this Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final, trailing by two points, their chances of making it through to the final did not look good.
They still trailed by two points at the three-quarter stage but from here to the finish, they dictated matters and outscored their opponents 2-3 to 0-2 to deservingly book a date in the final.
While the players will, rightly, be praised for their efforts, credit must also go to the team management for the changes they made during the second half. The switch of Killian Ryan to defence and the move of John Punch to the half-forward line proved to be master strokes by the Ruan management team and they played a huge part in their victory.
There were many stars in what was an entertaining tie but none more so that Ruan defender, Dara Roughan. He was outstanding from the outset at wing-back and when the team was dealt a huge blow with the loss of centre-back Jonathon Clohessy due to a leg injury shortly before half-time, Roughan moved to centre-back and continued to play a leading role.
Playing with the aid of the breeze in the first half, Ruan made an impressive start and raced into a four-point lead after just seven minutes. Ken Ralph opened Clarecastle’s account a minute later and from here until half-time, he caused a lot of problems for Ruan.
It was 0-7 to 0-4 in Ruan’s favour when Ralph won possession from a Jason Considine delivery, raced through and scored his side’s only goal to tie up the game. Two minutes later, he put them into the lead for the first time and when the half-time whistle sounded, the Magpies were 1-7 to 0-8 ahead with their entire total coming from Ralph.
Ruan scored first when play resumed with Killian Ryan pointing but this was quickly cancelled out by a like score from Jason Considine. Defences dominated in the third quarter in which the only other scores were points from a John Punch free for the winners and from John Pyne.
At the turn of the final quarter, Ruan were awarded a 20m free in front of goal and Punch’s low drive crept over the line to put his team back in front. Punch was now in the half-forward line where he caused a lot of problems for the Magpies and he quickly added two points, one from a free, to put his side three points clear entering the final 10 minutes.
Ken Ralph kept Clarecastle in touch but the decisive score came two minutes later. Punch won possession about 40m from goal and he quickly passed to substitute Caimin Howard who raced through and crashed the ball to the net.
Staring at defeat, Clarecastle piled on the pressure and a powerful strike from John Pyne was deflected over the bar.
With Killian Ryan and Dara Roughan in superb form, Ruan held firm and the Magpies just couldn’t find a way through. Ruan had the final say and it was fitting that it was Punch who sent over the last point of the game.
Just before the final whistle, Ken Ralph’s effort for a goal from a 20m free was saved by Pakie Roughan.
Dara Roughan, Killian Ryan, Jonathon Clohessy, until injured, Aidan Lynch and John Punch stood out for the winners while Clarecastle’s best were Eoin Brennan, Cathal Lynch, John Pyne and Ken Ralph.
Ruan: Pakie Roughan; Damian Brohan, Niall O’Connor Leon Quirke; Padraic Guthrie, Jonathon Clohessy, Dara Roughan; Tadhg Hanrahan, Killian Ryan; Michael Vaughan, Aidan Lynch, Alan Bell; Eoin Hanrahan, John Punch, Patrick Keegan.
Subs: Gary Bell for Clohessy (inj, 26 minutes); Brendan Lyons for Keegan (half-time); Caimin Howard for A Bell (48 minutes); Kevin O’Regan for Tadhg Hanrahan (56 minutes).
Scorers: John Punch (1-9, 1-7f); Caimin Howard (1-0); Killian Ryan, Aidan Lynch, Alan Bell, Eoin Hanrahan (0-1 each).
Clarecastle: Donagh Murphy; Ruairi Concannon, Eoin Brennan, Kieran Lynch; Cathal Lynch, Andrew Page, Anthony Griffey; John Reidy, Conor O’Gorman; Eamonn Concannon, John Pyne, Jason Considine; Fergal Griffin, Ken Ralph, Niall Dunne.
Subs: Briain Lynch for E Concannon (37 minutes); Adam Healy for Reidy (40 minutes); Blaise Talty for R Concannon (50 minutes); Stephen Malone for Griffin (59 minutes).
Scorers: Kel Ralph (1-8, 0-6f); John Pyne (0-2), Jason Considine (0-1).
Referee: Fergie McDonagh, St Joseph’s.