O'LOUGHLIN GAELS v CLARA
O’Loughlin Gaels GAA 1-18 to 0-15 Clara GAA
Venue: Kells Rd, May 15th 2016 at 7pm
Referee: P. Neary
A perfect summer’s evening, a perfectly manicured pitch, an encounter between last year’s County Finalists and an eager crowd had all the ingredients of a rip roaring contest. That didn’t transpire mainly due to a stop start first half which included a lengthy attention to Shane Prendergast who departed the field with a suspected hamstring. A collision in the air also upended Martin Comerford for a time and Sammy Johnson too needed some assistance after he felt the cut and thrust of a hard hitting game. Some disciplinary action too had to be taken on a couple of occasions which all contributed to a less than fluent first half. O’Loughlins were the better in this period for sure and were well worth their half time lead of 0-9 to 0-5. It probably should have been more but for the usual unpredictability that makes the game of hurling so great. All the attacks in the first ten minutes came from the St. John’s men yielding three points before Clara made any move towards the O’Loughlins defence..which was impermeable all evening. In fact it was the sixteenth minute before Clara registered their first point - a free from Chris Bolger. Already Mark Bergin and Mark Kelly were causing bother up front and Sammy Johnson was in good form – he would end the game with three points of his own. The first half ran its course with O’Loughlins always on the attack and Clara struggling to gain any foothold in the game.
The O’Loughlins defence had laid down the gauntlet in the first half and the Clara lads responded negatively by deploying a two man full-forward line. It was never going to work with the mid-field pairing of Mark Bergin and David Burke in control and the Half back line of Paddy Butler, Huw Lawlor and Alan O’Brien working tirelessly to thwart any Clara attacks. Mark Bergin got the half off positively with a fine point from play and quickly followed up with another before Mark Kelly added a third for the Gals before Clara got a chance to respond when Chris Bolger converted a free. They added another, but for the next few minutes O’Loughlins outscored their opponents three points to one including a well worked 46th minute David Burke point that spurred the team to up the pace and finish out the game. A trademark Andy Kearns gather and drive yielded a free on 52 minutes..goal keeper Billy Leydon directed the sliotar towards the Clara goalmouth which was superbly gathered by Martin Comerford and offloaded to the well positioned Mark Kelly who made no mistake and a well-deserved goal put distance between the sides – 1-16 to 0-11. The lads saw the game out to the end now picking off a couple of more scores which included the final score of the evening by Sammy Johnson capping a fine performance by him and sending the O’Louhlin Gaels support back into town satisfied with the evenings fare.
There were good performances throughout the field tonight that will please management going forward. Injuries gave players their opportunity to display their worth and Sammy Johnson , Paddy Cantwell and Alan O’Brien will be pleased with their input tonight. It’s a quick turnaround now to the next round where the lads will meet Mullinavat in Ballyhale next Friday evening. The cobwebs are surely shed now and the momentum of two wins will serve to inject confidence into this panel of players as they head into the summer months. Well done all. Up d’Loughs.
B. Leydon, A. Forristal, A. Kearns, E. Kearns, P. Butler, H. Lawlor, A. O’Brien, D. Burke, M. Bergin, M. Comerford, P. Cantwell, D. Loughnane, S. Johnson, M. Kelly, A. Geoghegan…D. O’Connor