Crusheen stroll past lacklustre Josephs.
County senior hurling championship rd 5
By Michael O Connor.
Crusheen with the ultimate ease and with superior pace edged their way pace the perceived onerous task of St Josephs and as a result booked a place in the last eight of the canon Hamilton title race for 2010 joining Clonlara, Cratloe, Newmarket, O Callaghans Mills and Sixmilebridge in quarter finals. As the game progressed St Josephs wilted as the older legs struggled in Cusack park with Crusheen looking the hungrier side but it will mean nothing in a months time when the knock stages commence
A meeting of two neighbours yet without the intense rivalry that can often exist when same occurs. In many ways this scenario is for the sides involved more nerve racking than a county final as real failure is experienced if knocked out at group stage. The permutations were stark and simple for both sides.
A win and nothing less was required by Crusheen and the same for Josephs with a small cavet in that a draw would also suffice for the 1999 club champions. Prematch talk rounded on the inability of Crusheen to overcome their freetaking malaise and the availability or otherwise of Ciaran O Doherty. St Joseph’s had struggled past Ballyea in the previous round minus Tony Griffin suggesting to many that perhaps they might not overcome the 2007 finalists. Both sides had in round 4 similiar scoring patterns thus the fears of a low scoring war of attrition was on the cards. Ciaran O Doherty failed the test and Alan Touhy entered the fray for Fergus Kennedy.
Six minutes elapsed before the first score came and it was a Crusheen goal from Gerry O Grady from close range. Within three minutes Crusheen had two more scores on the board courtesy of Pat Vaughan from play and a free. St Josephs began to improve and finally got on the scoreboard when Ivor White converted a 13th minute 65 after Shane O Connor had sent a free wide. David Forde was dropping back to midfield and helping Crusheen with their clearances. For the pressure exuded by St Josephs they failed to score and the game’s next score fell to another Vaughan free after the referee adjuged Kennedy Kennedy to having picked the ball from the ground. Over the course of the game Crusheen hit 11 wides with St Josephs managing one less.
Within a minute St Josephs had their second score following a Shane O Connor free as the stop start nature of the game lent little to the game as a spectacle. The St Joseph’s rearguard improved considerably as Crusheen depended on free’s to gain on the scoreboard as Vaughan and O Connor exchanged scores in the 24th and 25th minutes. Cathal Dillon was to the fore for Crusheen in the first half with relieving clearances. At the interval Crusheen had added two more Vaughan frees to lead (1-5) to (0-3) as only one score from both sides tally of points came from play with the O Grady goal the only other score from play. The final act that decided this contest came to be two minutes into the new half. Firstly Joe Meaney raced through and pointed from play before Gerry O Grady struck for his second goal as Crusheen surged (2-6) to (0-3)clear. Shane O Connor responded with a free as once again St Josephs had enough possession, won frees off Crusheen but badly needed a goal to really matter in the final fifteen minutes. A fine catch under pressure from John Brigdale set up O Grady for a point quickly added to by Alan Touhy as Crusheen now led (2-8) to (0-4) after 38 minutes. A seminal moment occurred when heroes of St Josephs for the last 15 years namely Ken Kennedy and Noel Brodie were replaced. Scores from Tony Meaney, Shane O Connor ( 2 frees ) and Conor O Donnell left Crusheen (2-10) to (0-6) ahead with 46 minutes played. Paul Dullaghan replaced the injured Cathal O Sullivan as both sides leaked goals with Enda Lyons on target for Josephs as Conor O Donnell soloed through and left Paul Madden helpless with a powerful finish. This was the last act of note as the game trundled to the end with Josephs out and Crusheen’s entered into the pot for the quarter final draw.
The winners had solid displays from Cronan Dillon once more, Cathal Dillon who dominated, Cian Dillon, Pat Vaughan, Conor O Donnell and Gerry O Grady. St Josephs in defeat will wonder what the future brings as huge rebuilding and infusion of youth is required. Their best included Mark Hallinan, Kevin Dilleen, Cathal O Sullivan, Alan O Neill and Shane O Connor.
CRUSHEEN: Donal Touhy, John Brigdale, Cronan Dillon, Alan Brigdale, Cathal Dillon, Cian Dillon, Patrick Vaughan (0-7), Tony Meaney (0-1), Alan Touhy (0-1), Gearoid O Donnell (0-1), Joe Meaney (0-1), David Forde (0-1), Patrick Meaney, Gerry O Grady (2-1), Conor O Donnell (1-1). Subs: Patrick O Grady for P Meaney, Darragh O Doherty for T Meaney,
ST JOSEPHS: Paul Madden, Marty Regan, Kenneth Kennedy, Cathal O Sullivan, Alan O Neill, Mark Hallinan, Darragh O Driscoll, Kevin Dilleen, Ivor Whyte (0-1), Sean Flynn, Noel Brodie, Michael McNamara, Shane O Connor (0-5), Damian Kennedy, Enda Lyons (1-1). Subs: Mike Cullinan for Kennedy, Declan Malone for Brodie, Paul Dullaghan for O Sullivan (inj).
Referee: Kevin Walshe (St Josephs).