ALL-IRELAND CLUB JUNIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINAL
Castleblayney’s late surge stuns the Exiles in Birmingham
Castleblayney (Monaghan) 2-11, John Mitchels (Warwickshire) 1-10
Castleblayney staged a strong finish to book their place in the All-Ireland Club (JHC) semi-final after this thoroughly deserved four points victory over the champions of Britain, John Mitchel’s of Warwwickshire in a thrilling encounter in Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham. The Monaghan men though had to do it the hard way after finding themselves five points in arrears with twelve minutes of normal time remaining remaining and having trailed from the opening exchanges.
The scores that counted were two second half goals from team captain and centre back Paddy Finnegan and top scorer Fergal Rafter tipped the balance in favour of the visitors who only managed just two pointed frees from Fergal Rafter in the opening half at the end of which the winners trailed by 1-4 to 0-2, the Mitchells goal by Emmet Mccabe shortly before the break.
The champions of Britain started the second half well and maintained their four points advantage during the third quarter although Castleblayney were gaining more traction in the exchanges. Entering the final quarter they got a major boost with their first goal and with ten minutes of normal time remaining they had drawn level at 1-8 each. With five minutes of normal time remaining Castleblayney took the lead for the first time and completed the turnaround with a second goal three minutes from time to seal a memorable victory that sets them up for semi-final clash with Carrick-on-Shannon early in the New Year.
Scorers: Castleblayney – Fergal Rafter 1-8(0-7f), Paddy Finnegan 1-1, Mark Treanor 0-1, Hugh Byrne (0-1’65). John Mitchels – Domhnall Nugent 0-4(0-2)f, Niall McKenna 0-3(0-3f), Emmett McCabe 1-0, Niall Kennedy 0-2 and Gary Lennon 0-1.
Castleblayney: Paddy Collins, Colin Merrick, Jim McHugh, Eoin Leonard; Bernard Connor, Paddy Finnegan (capt.), Cormac McNally: Brian Flanagan, Mark Treanor; Hugh Byrne, Aaron Kenny, Fintan Finnegan; Fergal Rafter, Brian McGuigan, Craig Callan. Subs: Nathan Adair for Fintan Finnegan 47, Jack Deasy for Eoin Leonard 53.
John Mitchels – Philip Crean; Robbie Curley, Dean Bruen (capt.), Micheal O’Regan ; Peadar Scally, Willie Allen, Dessie Kelly; Garry Lennon, Niall McKenna; Ian Dwyer, Domhnall Nugent, Breen Fallon; Emmet McCabe, Niall Kennedy, Kelvin Magee. Subs: Kieran Courtney for Ian Dwyer, Ogie Long for Breen Fallon. Referee: Rory McGinn (Clare)