SHC Group A Round 2
4th August @ Celbridge GAA, Hazelhatch
Naas 2-10 Ardclough 1-12
A last minute point by Paul Sullivan steals a win for Naas in the Senior Hurling Championship against Ardclough at Hazelhatch.
Though leading at half-time, Ardclough fought back from the concession of two second half goals to be in contention late in the game, only to lose out in the dying seconds.
A youth Naas team started the game well, and got some early scores with ease. Points from Seán Gainey, two from Ross Kelly and another from full-forward Mick Purcell piled the pressure on Ardclough early in the game.
Naas were winning a lot of ball around the middle of the field and using that as a launch-pad for their attacks, as Ardclough struggled to find their feet in the game.
Ever-reliable centre-back Richie Hoban though was a major asset in the Ardclough fight-back, cutting out Naas attacks early and booming balls down the other end of the field, relieving his defenders and setting up scoring opportunities.
Two Seán Gainey points increased the difference between the teams to five points, but it was also to begin a barren spell of ten scoreless minutes for Naas before half-time.
In that time Ardclough got their attacking game in order. Ardclough had just one point so far, thanks to Paul Fitzgerald, and it was Paul that got the next score.
After being set-up by his younger brother Martin, he struck his 25 metre shot past Naas goalkeeper Cormac Gallagher to get Ardclough right back in the game.
A point from Tony Spain and two Martin Fitzgerald frees gave Ardclough a single point lead at the break.
Just like the first half, Naas started brightly.
Just moments into the half Naas were back in front thanks to a Philip Cocoman goal, he doubled sweetly on a high ball near the square to find the net.
A Seán Gainey free stretching the gap even further shortly after.
Ardclough again came with a burst of scores in quick succession.
Richie Hoban, Martin Fitzgerald and Paul Fitzgerald all raising the white flag – and a well taken score from Colm Buggy got the ‘Clough’s in front once more.
But just as Ardclough hoped to build on their slim lead, it was once again taken away from them.
Kevin Byrne, a Naas half-time substitute, bundled the ball to the net with just ten minutes left, after the initial shot from Peader Downey was saved by Ardclough keeper Aidan Buggle.
Another free from Gainey and a point from Downey gave Naas a four point margin as time ticked towards the end of normal time.
Ardclough weren’t dead yet though, as they put in an inspired injury-time performance.
Four different players; Brian Coulston, Paul Fitzgerald, Tony Spain and Martin Fitzgerald (free) all getting points to draw level with time nearly up.
There would be time for one more score though. Naas turned over possession and went on the attack with midfielder Paul Sullivan getting possession in a scoring position and insured victory with his driven effort that sailed over the bar.
A terrible way to lose but Ardclough can take a lot from the spirit and fightback they produced.
Ardclough must now take on Confey in what could turn out to be a knock-out clash in the final group game.
Cormac Gallagher; Andrew Doyle, Mark Carter, Donal McSweeney; Eamon Leamy, John O’Malley, John Dunne; Paul Sullivan 0-01, Kevin Whelan; Peadar Downey 0-01, Ross Kelly 0-02, Philip Cocoman 1-00; Seán Gainey 0-05 (4f), Mick Purcell 0-01, Stephen Piggott.
Kevin Byrne 1-00 for Piggott (h/t); Darrach MacDonnacha for Dunne (48 mins).
Aidan Buggle; Niall Coulston, Sean Buggle, Peter Coleman; Enda Hoey, Richie Hoban 0-01, Kailyn Domican; Martin Fitzgerald 0-04 (3f), Ronan O’Malley; Paul Fitzgerald 1-03, Brian Coulston 0-01, Tony Spain 0-02; Brendan Byrne 0-00, Colm Buggy 0-01, Sean Buggy.
Johnny Reeves for Brian Coulston (blood-sub, 14-17 mins); Johnny Reeves for Sean Buggy (51 mins); Philip Fitzgerald for Hoey (inj, 58 mins).
Referee: Fergus Devereux Snr. (Maynooth)