Irish World Senior Hurling Championship Rnd 5
Robert Emmetts 1-15
St Gabriels 0-15
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
Gabriels had threatened to blow their opponents away in the opening quarter, just as they had Kilburn Gaels a week earlier. But while Emmetts bent, they most certainly did not break.
Gabriels were just as fluent and devastating in the opening exchanges as they had been against the holders – racing into a three-point lead after just six minutes with some clinical finishing from Andrew Curtin, Stephen Lohan and Michael Ivors (free).
Emmetts must have anticipated facing a similar onslaught as the one which confronted Kilburn, but still they could do little to quell it. They could only try and ride it out.
They were given an unexpected helping hand, though, when James Barrett allowed Kieran Morrissey’s harmless ball in to slip from his grasp, and into his net. It was a gift Emmetts were more than willing to accept.
Gabriels hardly broke stride, however. The excellent Brian Hickey fired over one superb score as Gabriels pulled away into a 0-9 to 1-2 lead. Emmetts were clinging on in the game.
But Barret then went some way to atoning for his error when Saul McCaughan fed Martin Fitzpatrick, only for the Gabriels ‘keeper to save well.
This was a full-blooded affair and injured bodies littered the field at one stage. Hickey, in particular, bore the scars, but returned to the fray patched up and bandaged up from a head wound.
Lohan nearly burst the Emmetts crossbar with a fierce strike, with Sean Ryan at full stretch but beaten.
At the other end, Barrett atoned further when a nice Emmetts move involving Killian Burke and Morrissey ended with McCaughan being denied. Brendan McCurry’s follow up was blocked.
Gabriels led 0-12 to 1-5 at the break, but it should have been more. Emmetts had refused to be overrun, however, and clung on in there.
The second half would be a whole different ball-game. Gabriels would trouble the scorers just three further times – an inconceivable scenario based on the opening exchanges.
But Emmetts got in amongst them, stopped Gabriels from playing and just seven minutes after the restart they were back on level terms.
Morrissey thought he’d goaled, only for it to be disallowed for a foul on Barrett, who’d saved superbly from Cian Lordan and then Morrissey, before being ‘beaten’ at the third attempt by Morrissey.
No goal, though, and with eight minutes to go, the sides were locked at 1-12 to 0-15.
Gabriels, though, had found none of their fluency from the first half and McCurry fired over from half way in the 57th minute to give Emmetts the lead.
The full forward from Loughiel in Antrim added another soon after, and Eoin Chawke’s injury-time strike left Gabriels needing to conjure a goal from somewhere to salvage a draw.
They couldn’t and the senior championship ‘Round Robin’ will have a finale befitting it. It promises to be tense.
Robert Emmetts: Sean Ryan; Conor Walsh, Stephen Griffey, Mark Conroy; Paddy Breen, Gary Hill, Paddy McNaughton; Tadgh Healy, Killian Burke (0-1); Kieran Morrissey (1-2), Saul McCaughan, Denis O’Regan (0-1); Daryl Roberts, Brendan McCurry (0-10 7f, 1’65), Martin Fitzpatrick. Subs: Alan O’Leary for Breen, Ciaran Lordan for McCaughan, Eoin Chawke (0-1) for Roberts, Eoin Kiely for Walsh.
St Gabriels: James Barrett; Tomas Higgins, Conoe Helebert, Ronan Royston; Lee Murphy, Graham Maher, Neil Rogers; Brian Hickey (0-2), Oisin Royston (0-1); David Nolan, Stephen Lohan (0-3), Cormac O’Droigheain; Michael Ivors (0-4, 2f), Shane Lawless (0-1), Andrew Curtin (0-4). Subs: David O’Gorman for Helebert.
Referee: Jimmy Howlin.