WReilly Intermediate Hurling Championship Rnd 2
Fulham Irish 0-8
By Damian Dolan
At the Scrubs
Additional shooting practice will be the order of the day for both of these sides ahead of Round 3, after this mid-week clash at the Scrubs which saw Granuaile get their first win of the campaign.
For Granuaile, a win is a win and after losing their championship opener to Fr Murphy’s by five points, perhaps it was Granuaile’s greater need that saw them win out over Fulham in the end. Their tenacity and desire couldn’t be faulted.
But neither side will want to look at their wide tally. It will not have made for pretty reading.
Fulham Irish didn’t do much wrong. Their general play was good, and they have some quality players, but how they ended the game with just eight scores will have them scratching their heads for some time.
It shouldn’t have taken them too long, however, to arrive at the answer – their finishing.
Fulham will undoubtedly view this as an opportunity missed to make it two wins from two, after their thumping win over Kilburn Gaels B, when they racked up 3-23.
What they wouldn’t have given to have held back just a few of those scores for this fixture with Granuaile.
Once the onlookers from inside of the Scrubs had finished heckling, Gavin Hugent opened the scoring for Fulham.
But the home side were then stunned when Shane Skelly picked up a loose ball and drilled it low past David Gray.
Not only were Granuaile leading on the scoreboard (1-0 to 0-1), they also had their noses in front on the wides tally, by 0-3 to 0-1.
The wides were racking up faster than actual scores. Scores were at a premium, not that opportunities were.
Luke Slyman’s 22nd minute free levelled things up (1-1 to 0-4) before Granuaile got their second goal.
Ryan McGrath’s hanging ball in found its way into the back of the Fulham net, with the home side appealing for a square ball as Gray was challenged. Referee Charlie Egan consulted with his umpires before awarding the goal.
Granuaile led 2-2 to 0-4 at half-time.
Fulham Irish started the second half in earnest. Fergus O’Regan closed the gap either side of wides from Slyman (free) and half-time introduction John Kirby.
The gap was down to two when Conor Ahern was unceremoniously taken out by Mark Beirne. Slyman knocked over the resulting free. Fulham had a sense of urgency.
But Granuaile replied through McGrath and Liam Cullen. Kirby, however, was having an impact and his carry and shot was well saved by Niall Carr.
Fulham were on top, but they couldn’t convert it into scores.
Either side of Tom O’Shea firing over an opportunistic score, Kirby and Slyman (free) were both off target.
Skelly fired over a free after Gray had batted away McGrath’s shot, only for Fulham to concede a free as they tried to clear the danger.
Slyman (free) brought Fulham to within four points with nine minutes to go. It would be their last score, although Granuaile would have to survive a couple of goalmouth scrambles before they could finally celebrate a first win of the campaign.
Granuaile: Niall Carr; Alan Callanan, Mark Beirne, Richie Barnes; Aidan Medley, Kevin Bulfin, Daniel Egan; Ryan McGrath (1-1), Tony O’Shea (0-1); Shane Skelly (1-1, 1f), PJ Delaney (0-3), Jack Woulfe; Richard Jameson, Donal Bulfin, Liam Cullen (0-1). Subs: Tommy Flynn for Jameson, Harry Logan for Callanan.
Fulham Irish: David Gray; Darragh McInerney, Donal O’Connell, Eamon Sullivan; Stephen Martin, Patrick O’Mahony, James Marrinan; John Lawlor, Gavin Nugent (0-2); Nial Larkin, James O’Rourke, Luke Slyman(0-3f); Conor Ahern (0-2), Fergus O’Regan (0-1), Eoin McCarthy. Subs: John Kirby for McCarthy, Declan Hayes for Larkin, Eddie Dooley for McInerney.
Referee: Charlie Egan.