Realt Dearg V Park Ratheniska (Laois)
Leinster Junior Hurling League.
Saturday 7th March 2015
A late goal conceded in the dying minutes of this game put paid to the stars winning back to back Leinster league matches at Park Ratheniska last Saturday afternoon.
A game played in tough conditions never really sparkled but instead trundled along at a steady pace.
Park Ratheniska started the brightest but had a point disallowed after 3 minutes. This was followed by a well taken Kevin Ryan free after 5 minutes to put the away side in front. They attempted to extend this lead with a couple of long range efforts put despite the wind carrying the ball the accuracy was just not there. Cian Liddy then broke through the Park Ratheniska defence only to see his shot saved brilliantly by the home keeper. The Laois side finally got off the mark in the 11thminute with a free of their own. Realt Dearg responded with Kevin Ryan pointing another free as the foul count from both sides started to mount up. In fairness the conditions underfoot made things very difficult to play good hurling and the state of the pitch suited both defences. Having said that Realt Dearg were hurling with the wind at their backs and they were not imposing themselves as well as they would have liked.
Park Ratheniska scored two points in quick succession with both scores coming from play before Liddy again broke through the Laois defence shooting low and hard but was denied a goal for the second time by a brilliant save from the goalie. Kieran Kelly slotted over a fine point two minutes later to leave the sides level.
The home team responded well to this scare and were in control in the final stages of the half but with the wind playing a huge factor they finished the first 30 minutes with a couple of very bad wide’s including a miss from a 21 yard free and both sides went in at half time level at 0-3 apiece.
Realt Dearg opened the second half with two bad wide’s before Park took the lead in the 35th minute making it 0-4 to 0-3.The introduction of John Tarpey into full forward had an immediate effect with his first two touches yielding two fantastic points either side of another Ratheniska pointed free.
It was great to see Tarpey back in full flight after a long year out with injury.
Both defences were still on top particularly both half back lines. Although the wind had died down a bit at this stage the low scoring was proof that the going was particular tough for forwards. Despite this both sides continued to plug away and it was shaping up to be an entertaining final quarter.
Park Ratheniska struck again to make it 0-6 to 0-5 when their wing back ran a good 30 yards before scoring a wonderful point off his hurl. That was followed by Kevin Ryan getting his third point from placed balls in the 49th minute leaving it all square going in the final ten minutes. Both teams exchanged wides before the killer goal was scored in the 56th minute. Realt Dearg immediately went in search of an equalising goal and came close through efforts from Joe O Callaghan and the recently introduced Conor O’ Droma but it wasn’t to be. A final point in injury time from Park Ratheniska finished the Realt Dearg challenge and when the ref blew the final whistle they found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-7 to 0-6 score line.
On a day and a pitch that wasn’t conducive to good hurling the Stars did put in some good performances. The full back line of Ronan Moloney, Colm Gahan and Mike Richardson were solid for the hour and gave nothing away easily. The half back line of Hurley, Barry and McKenna were clever in possession and excellent throughout.
Both midfielders worked their socks off for the hour while up front on a tough day Kevin Ryan was solid in his free taking and Kieran Kelly, Martin Murphy (KK) and John Tarpey when introduced looked the most dangerous.
Park Ratheniska 1-7 Realt Dearg 0-6
Marc McLiam, Mike Richardson, Colm Gahan, Ronan Moloney
Derek McKenna, John Barry, Aodhan Hurley, Eoin O Dwyer (Cpt), Brian Gavin
Cian Liddy, Eoin Ryan, Kieran Kelly, Martin Murphy (KK) Joe O’Callaghan, Kevin Ryan.
Subs: John Tarpey for Eoin Ryan, Ultan Dillon for Mike Richardson, Stephen Casey for John Tarpey (inj), Conor O Droma for Martin Murphy and Trevor Jackman for Colm Gahan (inj), Gavin Deacon, David Kennelly.
Kevin Ryan 0-3 (3 frees), John Tarpey 0-2, Kieran Kelly 0-1.
MOTM: Derek McKenna