Doherty Wood Shavings Senior Hurling League
By Steevie Gleeson
Naomh Eanna 4-24 St Galls 3-6
In damp and blustery conditions Naomh Eanna led from start to finish in what was a comfortable win in the first match of the adapted South Section of the Senior Hurling League.
St Galls had beaten the home team in the first ever Senior Championship clash earlier this year but a repeat was never likely. Both teams were understrength for the fixture but particularly St Galls. However their Manager Chris Dornan had the Milltown men well organised and motivated and it was a competitive match right up to the 2nd half water break.
After a cagey start, Naomh Eanna took the lead after 4 minutes. Cormac Ross found Cormac Jennings on the 20 metre line and his crisp shot found the bottom left hand corner of the net. The impressive Marcus Donnelly replied almost immediately with a fine point and a long range Ciaran McCaffrey effort left only a point between the sides.
Points from Cormac Jennings and half forwards Cormac Ross and Ruairi Diamond extended the Naomh Eanna lead. However just after the water break, St Galls had a great chance to equalise when referee Mark O’Neill awarded them a penalty. Corner Forward Darren McKeown rolled back the years when he neatly took possession of the sliothar but he was surrounded and held. Up stepped Full-forward Anton McCaffrey but his well struck effort was saved by net minder Philly Curran who dived to his left. But the men from the west were not to be denied and two minutes later Marcus Donnelly raced through for a fine goal.
Naomh Eanna’s reply was almost immediate Cormac Jennings shot was well saved by Kurtis McGreevy but the same player put the rebound to the net. From the puckout Naomh Eanna attacked again and McGreevy made a magnificent double save and the Hightown men had to be content with a Cillian Jennings point. At half time the home team led by 10 points 2-10 to 1-3.
Cormac Jennings opened the second half with a 50 metre pointed free but St Galls had a sustained period of pressure with Aodhan Gallagher and Niall O’Neill in fine form. First Marcus Donnelly scored with a magnificent drive to the top right hand corner of the net giving Philly Curran no chance. Soon after Aodhan Gallagher set up Anton McCaffrey but this time Philly Curran was equal to the task.
Cormac Jennings, Cormac Ross and Niall O’Connor extended the Naomh Eanna lead before Cormac Jennings set up his younger brother Cillian for a fine goal.
Anton McCaffrey was causing the Naomh Eanna rear-guard some problems and he set up Niall Burke for a third St Galls goal, which left 11 points between the sides 3-14 to 3-3. Indeed McCaffrey can count himself unlucky not to get on the score sheet bringing two fine saves out of Philly Curran and only being denied by some last ditch blocks by full-back Manus Mullan.
Aodhan Gallagher and Fergus Donnelly added further St Gall’s points before the water break but that was to be as close as they would come to the Hightown men.
On the resumption a long clearance from Manus Mullan was gathered by Cillian Jennings but St Gall’s keeper Kurtis McGreevy again came to the their rescue with a brilliant diving save with the reliable Cormac Jennings tapping the resultant free over the bar.
In this final quarter the home side took control notching 1-6 to a single Marcus Donnelly free for St Galls. The highlights were two fine points from Aidan McGowan and a goal from Centre Half Back Niall O’Connor who raced on to a pass from Eoin Conlon and gave Kurtis McGreevy no chance.
Naomh Eanna Joint Managers David Ross and Jamie Curran can be content with a workmanlike workout with Eoin Maguire and Ollie Breen making their Division 1 debuts in the starting line-up. St Gall’s manager Chris Dornan can be proud of the efforts of his depleted side.
Cormac Jennings 2-11 (0-9 frees)
Cormac Ross 0-5 (1 70)
Cillian Jennings 1-2
Niall O’Connor 1-1
Aidan McGowan 0-2
Ruairi Diamond 0-1
Eddie O’Connor 0-1
Ruairi Donaghy 0-1
Marcus Donnelly 2-3 (0-3 frees)
Niall Burke 1-0
Aodhan Gallagher 0-1
Ciaran McCaffrey 0-1 (0-1 free)
Fergus Donnelly 0-1