Sarsfields untroubled as they seal semi-final spot

 

Pics by Joe Carberry

AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Castleblayney Faughs 0-11 Patrick Sarsfield’s 1-27

Antrim champions Sarsfieds booked a place in the semi-final of the AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship  when they coasted to victory over Castleblayney Faughs in Sunday’s quarter final at St Mary’s Park Castleblayney.

Despite having to make a series of changes before the throw in the Belfast men were untroubled by the Monaghan champions as they scored a comprehensive nineteen point win to book a semi-final place in two weeks’ time. The raft of switches had no detrimental effect on the Paddies performance as they sprung from the traps in impressive fashion with points from Kevin McKernan, Niall McAlea and Niall McKenna but the home team came back with a point from Brian McGuigan on seven minutes and one from a free by corner forward Fergal Rafter.

However it was clear the Belfast boys were taking a firm grip on the game and after Garty Lennon pointed to put them two clear Daniel McKernan fired the ball to the Blayney net when he connected well in a goalmouth scramble to give goalkeeper Connolly no chance.  Kevin McKernan increased his team’s lead to five on twelve minutes after a bad foul on his brother Daniel which saw Finnegan lucky to escape with just a yellow card, but the gap was down to four again soon afterwards when Faughs midfielder Mark Treanor fired over. The score was cancelled out by Sarsfields Daniel McKernan who soloed clear of the opposition to fire over to put five between them again but Faughs were proving tenacious opponents and Fergal Rafferty cut the gap back to four with another well struck point.

The Faughs replied with a great point from midfielder Mark Treanor, but his effort was matched by Daniel McKernan, who fired over for Sarsfield’s at the other end after a brilliant solo run.

Soon afterwards Ward in the Sarsfields goal was called upon to deny full-forward Byrne who went for goal wen a point might well have been the best option and as it worked out it was to prove the Monaghan champions last chance to get back into the game as the Paddies hit eight points without reply in the final ten minutes of the opening half, four from Kevin McKernan and four from Niall McKenna to help their team to a 0-4 to 1-8 lead at the break.

Two Daniel McKernan points early in the second half stretched the Antrim champions lead to ten but they appeared to lose concentration as they failed to raise another flag for all of 18 minutes. The chances were there for them to add to their tally but some wayward shooting let them down as the game lost its competitive edge. Castleblayney’s hopes of getting back into the game were not helped when centre back Finnegan was shown a red card for a pull on Daniel McKernan. Blayney did manager to close the gap when Brian McGuigan found the target  but it only spurred Sarsfields to up their game and they hit a series of fine scores between then and the final whistle, the best of them a Kevin McKernan special direct from a sideline cut as the Stewarstown Park side booked a semi-final place with nineteen points to spare.

CASTLEBLAYNEY: D Connolly; B Connor, J McHugh, N Glancy; C McNally, P Finnegan, J Deasy; P Treanor, M Treanor 0-2; S Forde, B Flanagan, B McGuigan 0-2; F Rafter 0-6 (0-6fs), H Byrne 0-1, N Adair.

Subs: C McBride for Deasy (HT), D Crowe for McNally (HT), B Connolly for Connor (35mins), P Malone for Adair (39mins), J Carville for Forde (43mins).

SARSFIELD’S: D Ward; P Corr, J Cunningham, K Ward; D Johnston, E Rodgers, J Daniels; K McKernan 0-11 (0-5fs, 0-1 sideline), D McGuinness; Daniel McKernan 1-3, N McKenna 0-8, N McAlea 0-1; J McKernan 0-1, G Lennon 0-1, T Doherty 0-2.

REFEREE: T Conway (Derry)

Pics by Joe Carberry

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