FBD Insurance Premier Intermediate Hurling Preliminary Quarter-Final
Burgess survived a very late scare in the preliminary quarter-final in FBD Semple Stadium earlier this afternoon, to just about do enough to get over a titanic battle with Clonakenny.
Clonakenny had a late, late 21-yard free effort to level the game well into injury time, but a brilliant Ronan Tucker save ensured Burgess of victory as a Stephen Murray exhibition of ball striking paved the way for the north side to book a place in the last eight.
A good start was to be the winning of the game for Burgess as they were far quicker to every ball in the opening quarter of the game, with two quick Stephen Murray points in the opening two minutes getting them up to speed.
Cian O’Dwyer got his side’s interest in the game up and running in the fifth minute with a free, but Burgess hit an early purple patch in which the built up a seven point lead, with Stephen Murray getting that run of scores going with an obligatory sideline cut, before adding another free in the eight minute.
Another Murray free preceded the first goal of the game for Burgess in the 11th minute, with Eoin Hogan providing the killer hand pass to set up Eoin Grace to bury his effort at the second attempt after a brilliant initial save from Stephen Russell; and by the time Tadgh O’Halloran got his first of the day, Burgess were ahead by 1-6 to 0-2 by the 12th minute.
Clonakenny were yet to get going, but they would soon settle down to the task as they pulled the score back to a goal with four unanswered points, with Cian O’Dwyer providing the bulk of those scores from play, two of them coming within 30 seconds as he dispossessed a Burgess defender from a puckout in the 17th minute to brilliantly point from 21 yards.
Cheap frees were being coughed up by Clonakenny though, and with Stephen Murray in fine form, that indiscipline was always going to be punished as he landed his sixth of the day, but Clon’ were getting into the groove now and three frees in a row up to the 26th minute had the game back to a single point.
However, Burgess finished the half strongly, with a well taken Eoin Grace point setting them off, with Stephen Murray slotting two frees and a 65 into added time to give the north men a 1-11 to 0-10 lead.
Cian O’Dwyer cut the gap to three points with the first score of the second half in the 34th minute, but another beautiful Murray sideline restored that gap just two minutes later, but Clonakenny were back in it in the 37th minute, with Cian O’Dwyer floating a lovely hand pass to the onrushing Nicky Ryan who buried his effort past Ronan Tucker.
Burgess though, were continuing to find scoring bursts at different stages, and a quick 1-2 starting with a Tadgh O’Halloran point from distance in the 40th minute gave them another boost, with Murray (free) adding to that before Eoin Grace had his and his side’s second goal, again coming after a Stephen Russell save; Grace quickest to the follow up to pull on the ball into the net.
That gave Burgess a 2-14 to 1-12 lead, but Clonakenny weren’t going to be dispatched that easily with another O’Dwyer free responding to that goal, before the sharpshooter turned provider yet again to Bobby Bergin to point his first of the day on the run to cut the deficit to three with ten minutes to go.
Again though, there was always a rebuttal from Burgess and it was Stephen Murray providing that leadership with two in a row, with his first from play coming in that spree, being set up after a brilliant high catch from Eoin Hogan to extend the lead back out to a two score game.
Burgess were in defensive mode now as Clonakenny came looking for scores, but anytime they got free in the attacking areas, Burgess dragged men and all to the ground, with Cian O’Dwyer having to settle for frees as the game went into injury time with the north side ahead marginally at 2-16 to 1-16.
It was all hands to the pump with the minutes ticking down and after Murray (65) and Bobby Bergin traded points, Clonakenny forged one last chance to find a late equaliser, as Nicky Ryan was dragged to ground just outside the 21, but it wasn’t to be for Clonakenny as Ronan Tucker proved to be equal to Cian O’Dwyer’s powerful strike to send his side into the last eight of the competition.
Scorers: Burgess: Stephen Murray (0-14, 0-9f, 0-2 65, 0-2sl), Eoin Grace 2-1, Tadgh O’Halloran 0-2.
Clonakenny: Cian O’Dwyer (0-13, 0-9f), Stephen Kirwan 1-0, Bobby Bergin 0-3, John Joe Ryan 0-1.
Burgess: Ronan Tucker; Pat Woods, Kieran Ryan, Paddy Hogan; Jack O’Flaherty, Keith Nealon, Johnny Mulqueen; Tadgh O’Halloran, Danny Ryan; Michael Ryan, Donagh Maher, Stephen Kirwan; Eoin Grace, Eoin Hogan, Stephen Murray.
Subs: Willie Ryan for Hogan (40); Bill O’Flaherty for D Ryan (47); Johnny Ryan for Kirwan (60).
Clonakenny: Stephen Russell; Brian Mullally, John Costigan, Proinsias Matthews; Cain Russell, Willie Ryan, Diarmuid Ryan; Delacy Byrne, John Joe Ryan; Michael John Carroll, Bobby Bergin, Nicky Ryan; Cian O’Dwyer, Peadar Byrne, Matthew O’Sullivan.
Subs: Tom Carroll for Matthews (37); Conor Shanahan for Byrne (37); Paul Bergin for Mullally (48); Ger Byrne for Costigan (57).
Referee: Sean Lonergan (Moyle Rovers)
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