By Umar Hassan at Pairc na hEireann
Warwickshire recorded a comfortable win over Sligo in their opening match of their league Division 3B campaign when the Connacht team visited Pairc na hEireann. The home side started well, hitting the net three times in the opening half and looked comfortable throughout the match, recording an impressive five goal victory.
Warwickshire manager Paddy Hoey will be happy with the performances of captain Emmet McCabe and John Bergin, who was in fantastic form, setting up some stunning goal-scoring opportunities and scoring three points himself. Emmet McCabe was deadly in the Warwickshire attack, capitalising on Sligo’s poor defence to score more than half a dozen points. If Warwickshire show the kind of ominous form they were capable of producing against Sligo, then they are a match for any team in their division.
In the first minute of the match, the start was fast and furious as Warwickshire and Sligo both recorded early scores through forwards Niall Cadden (Sligo) and Emmet McCabe (Warwickshire).
The score-line told a different story in the coming minutes, as John Bergin scored one point and a superb goal, including a terrific piece of set play from former Clare county hurler John Reddan to allow Bergin to score as Warwickshire established a four-point lead over Sligo (2-02 – 0-04) .
There was a bit of a scare for the home side as Warwickshire back Dwane Sheedy was yellow carded for foul play. But Sligo’s performance in the first half set the tone for what was to be a poor showing for the away side. Poor defending and cheap penalties blighted Sligo’s chances of closing the gap to Warwickshire, who were pretty ominous throughout the half as McCabe and Bergin capitalised on the many penalties the away side were giving away.
Forward Rory Brennan scored for Sligo in the closing moments of the first half but Sligo had it all to do with Warwickshire leading by 3-06 to 0-08. Although Warwickshire’s defending at the end of the half was poor, it didn’t affect their concentration too much as they cruised into a seven point lead coming into the break.
Both teams made their substitutions with Colm McBride and Aiden Morrison coming onto to start the second half for Hoey’s team. However, Sligo’s substitutions didn’t make much difference, which set the tone for the performance of the away side. Warwickshire kept their composure and played clinical hurling. In the early minutes of the second half, Colm McBride got his first point of the match from being off the bench.
In the closing moments, Warwickshire stamped their authority with points from John Reddan, Colin Moran and Jack Quinn. Then to finish it off, Liam Reale scored his first goal to give the home side a commanding 5-14 to 0-13 lead. Consolation scores from Gary Cadden and Rory Brennan weren’t enough to stop what was a dominant performance from Warwickshire, winning by a comfortable 15 point margin over Sligo by 5-14 to 0.14.
Warwickshire’s manager Paddy Hoey was very impressed by his side’s clinical, but ruthless performance of beating Sligo by 5-14 to 0-14 (29-15). He said about Warwickshire’s overall team performance:
“We took our goals well. The lads have been working hard all week and we’ve had good support played out. I was pleased with getting our chances early and any chance that did come our way, we took them which always helps in a game. Emmet had a good game alright, but all the lads contributed so I think it was a good team performance, more so than just individual. They all did their job.”
Warwickshire and John Mitchel’s forward John Reddan was more than pleased with his team’s comfortable rout of Sligo. John has hurled with both Clare and London in the past. He said post-match: “This is our first game and we train as it’s a competitive game, so it’s a good start for us because a lot of different clubs come together.
“There’s lads from St Declan’s down near London and lads from near Nottingham and different places around Birmingham and Coventry so it’s our first game together and we’re off to a good start and we’ve got a good win under our belt, so we’re happy enough, we’ve played very well.
“I think it was all about confidence, so our first game, we got a goal or two earlier on and it settled us off better. “Our backs were very good and there was an awfully strong wind in the first half and our backs were brilliant because it can go in games with a strong wind, the team playing in a strong wind can get up a big score, it’s hard for them to comeback.”
For the full report, see the March 14 Irish World.