Impressive Oulart The Ballagh’s message for Cuala

Oulart The Ballagh (Wexford) 0-16 Clonkill (Westmeath) 0-8: Wexford champions Oulart The Ballagh moved into the Leinster Club hurling final with a comfortable eight-point victory over Westmeath champions Clonkill at a wet Cusack Park, Mullingar, yesterday. 

Oulart were never in trouble, and, playing with a strong first-half wind, opened up a 0-11 to 0-3 lead at the break.

Clonkill tried their best to claw their way back but they closest they came was when they cut the deficit to six points midway through the second-half. In the end Oulart marched into the Leinster final, sending out a clear signal to Dublin opponents Cuala they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Indeed the winning margin would have been greater but for three fine saves by Clonkill goalkeeper Gary Healy.

The sides were level at 0-2 each after eight minutes – Niall Dowdall and Michael Heffernan pointing for Clonkill with David Redmond and Rory Jacob replying for Oulart. Then the Wexford side stepped up a gear and their slick, neat, sharp passing resulted in them scoring seven points without reply.

A point each from Garret Sinnott, David Redmond and Des Mythen, along with two each from Jacob and Nicky Kirwan, saw Frank Flannery’s side open up a seven-point lead by the 26th minute. Brendan Murtagh did manage to convert a free from halfway for Clonkill but this was cancelled out by a swift reply from Kirwan, and then a Kirwan ’65 left them eight clear at the break, after Clonkill goalkeeper Gary Healy had produced a stunning save from Tommy Storey. With the wind Clonkill needed the early scores in the second-half but it was Oulart who registered the first two as the excellent Des Mythen and Tommy Storey both pointed.

Clonkill then enjoyed their best period as three points from Anthony Price and one from Niall Dowdall cut the gap back to six points, 0-7 to 0-13, by the 47th minute.

However, the class and superiority of Oulart shone through and great defensive work by Eoin Moore, Shaun Murphy, Keith Rossiter and David Redmond denied the Westmeath men time and time again. Two points from man of the match Des Mythen opened up an eight-point gap, with Michael Heffernan replying for Clonkill. However Clonkill couldn’t find the goal they so badly needed and a late free by Paul Roche sealed victory for the Wexford men.

Clonkill’s woes were compounded by the late sending off of corner-back Shane Power and after the game Clonkill manager David O’Reilly admitted, “When you give away ball against top opposition you are going to get punished. We tried to contain them but they played very clever hurling and they picked off some great scores leaving us too much to do in the second half.”

Scorers for Oulart The Ballagh:

D Mythen 0-5, N Kirwan 0-4 (0-1 from a free, 0-1 from a ’65), D Redmond 0-2, R Jacob 0-2, G. Sinnott 0-1, T Storey 0-1, P Roche 0-1 free.

Clonkill:

Anthony Price 0-3 (0-2 frees), N Dowdall 0-2, M Heffernan 0-2, B Murtagh 0-1 free.

OULART THE BALLAGH:

C O’Leary; P Roche, K Rossiter, B Kehoe; E Moore, S Murphy, K Sheridan; D Redmond, R Jacob; G Sinnott, T Storey, D Mythen; P Murphy, T Dunne, N Kirwan.

Subs:

D Morton for E. Moore (40 minutes), P Sutton for P Murphy (42 minutes), M Doyle for N Kirwan (47 minutes), M Jacob for T Storey (48 minutes), L Prendergast for T Dunne (59 minutes).

CLONKILL:

G Healy; S Power, C Scally, K Reilly; L Folan, B Murtagh, A McGrath; P Dowdall, E Price; M Heffernan, Adam Price, C Crentsil; A Dowdall, N Dowdall, Anthony Price. Subs: D Egerton for C Crentsil (26 minutes), N Mitchell for P Dowdall (45 minutes), A Mitchell for Adam Price (48 minutes).

Referee:

Patrick Murphy (Carlow).

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