BY NIALL SHERRY
Naas prove a hurdle too far for Glenmore
AIB Leinster IHC Semi-Final
Naas vs Glenmore @ St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, Kildare
There will be no more big days out for Glenmore this season, as they simply had no answer to Tom Mullally’s Naas machine. The Kildare champions ran out worthy winners on a score line of 1-16 to 1-10 at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge last Saturday.
It was to be a disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant year for Declan Wall’s charges, who succeeded in their primary objective of securing a return to senior hurling in Kilkenny.
Having dispatched Laois side Ballinakill in the previous round, Glenmore never got up to the required level in a bid to secure a final berth.
Naas were on it from the throw-in, and truth be told, Glenmore never looked likely victors as the Kildare side’s pace and power was too much to compete with at the home of Kildare GAA.
Glenmore’s tally of 1-10 contained just 3 points from play, and this coupled with a penalty miss would prove costly, however, Naas thoroughly deserved to reach the provincial decider where they will face-off against Wexford champions Oylegate. The Kildare side will go into this as firm favourites.
Tom Mullally’s men raced into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the first water break, and were dominating all over the Newbridge pitch. The Kildare side looked physically stronger and quicker to the breaking ball and with impressive performances from the likes of dual star Brian Byrne, wing-forward Cathal Dowling and raiding wing-back Sean Gainey.
At the short whistle, Glenmore had managed to tag on 3 further scores, as Naas went into the interval 0-11 to 0-5 ahead. The six-point gap would prove insurmountable as Declan Wall’s side were not allowed to build any rhythm across the 60+ minutes.
Despite trailing by two majors at half-time, Glenmore were handed an excellent opportunity to half the deficit, when a Naas defender was adjudged to have fouled the Kilkenny side’s captain Ger Aylward. Alan Murphy stepped up and struck the penalty well, but could only watch in horror as net minder Cormac Gallagher made an incredible save to deny the Nore siders.
Naas, startled by this let-off, then regained control of affairs and kept the score board ticking over with points from Brian Byrne, Jack Sheridan and Simon Leacy.
Any doubt about the result was removed when an error from Glenmore keeper, Tomas Dunne, allowed lively corner-forward Shane Ryan to finish to the net and raise a green flag.
There was only a ripple of delight in crowd when Glenmore’s top-scorer Ian Byrne found the net, but the goal wasn’t to be the catalyst for a comeback, it was merely consolation for the Kilkenny sides efforts as their season came to a conclusion in Newbridge.
Naas Scorers: Brian Byrne 0-5 (4 frees, 1 ‘65), Shane Ryan 1-1, Jack Sheridan 0-3, Cathal Dowling 0-2, Rian Boran, Kevin Whelan, Sean Gainey, Simon Leacy, James Burke 0-1 each.
Glenmore Scorers: Ian Byrne 1-7 (0-7f), Alan Murphy 0-1, Shane Murphy 0-1, Liam Hennessy 0-1.
NAAS: Cormac Gallagher; John McKeon, Richard Hogan, Conor Gormley; Kevin Whelan, Ross Kelly, Sean Gainey; Rian Boran, Simon Leacy; Jeff Keane, Jack Sheridan, Kevin Aherne; Brian Byrne, James Burke, Shane Ryan. Subs: Conor Dowling for Kevin Aherne (49 minutes); Conan Boran for Shane Ryan, Mark Nevin for Richard Hogan.
GLENMORE: Tomas Dunne; Sean Duggan, Eoin Aylward, Shane Doherty; Colm Doherty, Eoin Murphy, Shane Murphy; Philip Roche, Alan Murphy; Mark Aylward, Liam Hennessey, David Burke; Robbie Fitzgerald, Ger Aylward, Ian Byrne. Subs: Cathal Beirne for Colm Doherty; Ethan Phelan for David Burke; Darragh Hartley for Robbie Fitzgerald; Richie Hennessy for Liam Hennessey.
REFEREE: Shane Duignan, Offaly