SHC Group A Round 3
12th August @ Conneff Park, Clane
Ardclough 2-14 Confey 0-15
Strong Ardclough performance at Conneff Park, Clane, sees Ardclough into Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Finals and demotes Confey to a play-off place.
Ardclough went into this game knowing only a win would insure their progress to the SHC Semi-Finals.
After defeats to Coill Dubh and Naas, Ardclough were bottom of the Group A table and were hoping that a win against Confey would earn them 3rd spot in the group and place in the playoffs.
But as things turned out however their win against Confey, coupled with Naas’s victory over Coill Dubh in the other match in the group was enough to see them claim 2nd spot.
With a lot at stake, there wasn’t much flare in the opening half, both sides mostly cancelling each other out.
Confey took the lead in the opening exchanges, Divilly’s, Kieran and Paul getting them off the mark and Seán Buggy hit back for the ‘Clough’s.
There was then a flurry of scores as the game began to spring to life with end-to-end action.
Paul Divilly, Tony Spain, Darragh Nolan and Colm Buggy all tagging on scores for their respective teams in quick succession.
Martin Fitzgerald then got a brace of points, putting his side ahead by the minimum after 20 minutes. Ardclough would keep the lead until the end of the game.
Ardclough pushed on and asserted themselves more on the game.
Shortly after gaining the lead, Paul Fitzgerald gained possession and surged towards goal. He was then fouled by corner-back Seán Leamy and Referee Paddy Moore signalled for a penalty. Richie Hoban made the trip up from centre-back to take it and sent his powerful shot straight down the middle, crashing to the net.
Confey replied to the penalty with another Kieran Divilly point but Ardclough had the momentum and desire to push on and outscored Confey four points to two in the closing minutes of the half. Ard’s points coming from Paul Fitzgerald (2), Seán Buggy and Martin Fitzgerald and Confey’s Paul Divilly getting two more from frees before the break.
Ardclough went straight in search of scores again when play resumed. Richie Hoban sweetly striking a point from inside his own ’65 to restart the scoring.
Martin Fitzgerald and Eoin Fitzpatrick then swapped scores before Paul Divilly set about trying to change Confey’s fortunes.
He was instrumental in dragging his side back into the game, hitting four points in a row. His fourth point, a 60 metre effort, being one of the games highlights.
The gap was now down to two points and Ardclough needed to stop Confey’s momentum. Ardclough hadn’t scored since Hoban’s effort and were desperately in need of another score. And it was Tony Spain that got the scoreboard ticking again, benefitting from the space created in the Confey defence.
Having not been tested for much of the half, the Confey defence were again having to deal with regular threats from the Ardclough forwards.
After an attempted clearance was blocked down by Brendan Byrne, it fell to Brian Coulston. Byrne continued his run goalwards and was picked out by Coulston, before burying the ball to ball past Confey keeper Ian Baker from close range.
From then on Confey couldn’t recover.
Brian Coulston scored his first point of the day soon after and there was no let up from the ‘Clough’s.
Confey’s main threat, Paul Divilly, got another three points before the end, but a late Colm Buggy point stretched the gap to six points at the final whistle.
Ardclough now play near-neighbours Celbridge in the semi-final, while Confey now play Éire Óg C.C. in a play-off to decide the final Semi-Final spot.
Aidan Buggle; Niall Coulston, Seán Buggle, Enda Duane; Enda Hoey, Richie Hoban 1-01 (1-00 penalty), Kailyn Domican; Martin Fitzgerald 0-04 (3f), Ronan O’Malley; Seán Buggy 0-02, Brian Coulston 0-01, Tony Spain 0-02; Colm Buggy 0-02, Brendan Byrne 1-00, Paul Fitzgerald 0-02
Phillip Fitzgerald for Domican (inj), Johnny Reeves for B.Coulston
Ian Baker; Seán Leamy, Paul Keegan, Brian Dowd, Colm Chan, Mick Divilly, Kevin Chan; Paul Divilly 0-11 (5f, 2’65’s), Padraic Keegan; John O’Neill, Phillip Quigley, Eoin Fitzpatrick 0-01; Kieran Divilly 0-02, Anto Hoare, Darragh Nolan 0-01
Paul Cleary for D. Nolan, Roger Quinn for O’Neill
Referee: Paddy Moore (Clane)