SHC Semi-Final Replay
29th September @ Conneff Park, Clane
Celbridge 2-18 Ardclough 3-11
Celbridge hit 1-03 in injury-time in this Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final Replay to see of Ardclough who had led late in the game from a Tony Spain goal.
Ardclough started the first half well but lost momentum in the middle of the first half as Celbridge took hold.
But a late first half goal by Brian Coulston saw Celbridge’s half-time lead cut to three.
An early second half goal by Paul Fitzgerald for Ardclough inspired and enthralling second period which ended in injury-time heartache for Ardclough and delight for Celbridge
Ardclough got off to a great start, taking a three point lead with points from Martin Fitzgerald (2) and Richie Hoban (free).
Celbridge hit back with points from Aidan McDonagh and a Sam White free, only for Martin Fitzgerald to hit back with a free of his own.
By the midway point in the half Celbridge’s Gerry Keegan had the sides level, after an earlier Sam White point.
Ardclough’s wide count was mounting though as Celbridge pushed on to dominate the remainder of the half.
Another White free and a superb overhead flick over the bar from Tony Murphy stretched their lead.
White and Fitzgerald again both exchanged points from placed balls before Celbridge for their first goal of the game.
Celbridge’s hopes got a big boost when Niall Ó Muineacháin’s long range driven shot caught keeper Aidan Buggle by surprise to find the net, giving them a five point advantage, with another White free further extending their lead.
Ardclough got a lifeline however in the closing minutes of the half when Brian Coulston’s driven shot blasted past Celbridge keeper Niall Lanigan and to the roof of the net and leave Ardclough trailing by three at half-time.
Celbridge added another early point in the second half, Sam White getting his first from play.
And they could have been out of sight had Conor Kenny found the net shortly after. After running down the stand-side his well-struck effort crashed off the crossbar and across the goal and Ardclough were able to clear.
Ardclough seemed boosted by Kenny’s miss and set about dismantling Celbridge’s lead.
Paul Fitzgerald could have found the net early in the half, only to strike his rasping shot over the bar, but shortly after he made amends. Fitzgerald’s ground strike caught the initial ball from a Tony Spain sideline sweetly to find the back of the Celbridge net, and the sides were level.
The reigning champions were diffcult to keep down however and points from White and Seán O’Carroll gave Celbridge the lead once more. And Martin Fitzgerald and Tony Murphy then traded points for either side.
Ardclough though again showed the fighting spirit they showed in both this game and the drawn game to again find themselves level, through Martin Fitzgerald and Enda Duane points.
With five minutes left to play White and Fitzgerald exchanged points once again and extra-time looked a possibility.
Then In the 57th minute and with Celbridge leading by a single point, Ardclough’s Tony Spain gathered a ball, played into space, and raced towards the Celbridge goal before rattling the ball to the net to give his side major hope of reaching the SHC decider.
Celbridge weren’t defeated yet however but their initial attacks after the Ardclough goal were fruitless. But as the game entered injury time Conor Kenny sent his 20 metre shot to the top corner of the net at the club-house end.
Celbridge pushed on and scored again from the puck-out, Gerry Keegan pointing immediately. Two more points, from White and Moloney, were to follow for Celbridge as their play gathered momentum to win out by four as Ardclough lose in the hardest of manners.
Aidan Buggle; Niall Coulston, Seán Buggle, Peter Coleman; Enda Duane 0-01, Richie Hoban 0-01 (1f), Robbie Spain; Martin Fitzgerald 0-08 (6’fs, 2′ 65’s), Ronan O’Malley; Colm Buggy, Brian Coulston 1-00, Tony Spain 1-00; Brendan Byrne, Cathal Fenton, Paul Fitzgerald 1-01
Philip Fitzgerald for R.Hoban (32mins)
Niall Lanigan; Conor Ryan, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, Tom Finnerty; Aidan McDonagh 0-01, Donal Moloney, Pa Curtain; Sam White 0-09 (8f’s), Niall Ó Muineacháin 1-00; Fergal Conway, Conor Kenny 1-01, Gerry Keegan 0-02; Mark Moloney 0-01, Tony Murphy 0-03, Seán O’Carroll 0-01
Marcus Kinsella for O’Carroll (52mins), Liam McDonagh for Ryan (58mins), Billy White for Conway (59mins)
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Sarsfields)