Oulart the Ballagh 0-20 Clara 2-11
Oulart-The Ballagh, Wexford’s dominant force, haven’t experienced an easy life in the Leinster Club SHC, losing the last three finals.
But they continue to chase and continue to learn.
“We virtually had to win that game twice,” was the cold summary from none too pleased manager Martin Storey after a fine win over Kilkenny champions Clara yesterday.
“We showed great spirit each time we fell behind, and we got back to score a great win.”
Oulart produced a mighty finish. Points from the magnificent Garrett Sinnott (two), the last one exquisite in every way, and sub Conor O’Leary between the 59th and 61st minutes won them a place in the semi-final against defending champions Killcormac Killoughey (Offaly) in two weeks’ time.
“I am absolutely delighted,” added Storey, who cast doubts over the involvement of Darren Stamp [torn calf muscle] and Eoin Moore [may need surgery], who missed yesterday’s tie.
“It is awful hard to come back after being beaten three years in a row. We have lost six Leinster finals, if you count the replay in 1994. We are going to give it a rattle. There is some team in our way though,” he added.
The winners were slow into their stride. Clara opened well and sprinted 0-5 to 0-1 clear after seven minutes. Free-taker Keith Hogan and Liam and Lester Ryan all joined in the scoring as the visitors were made look ordinary.
Slowly but surely Oulart got their running and possession game going, and with the half-back trio of Conor Goff, Paul Roche and Lar Prendergast totally dominant, they halted Clara’s gallop.
Sinnott was the leader in attack in terms of making and creating scores as Oulart reeled in the opposition with a succession of points. Their shooting wasn’t always the best, but they caught up at 0-7 each in the 27th minute, free-taker Nicky Kirwan landing the equaliser following a foul on Sinnott.
By half-time the Slaney-siders led by 0-8 to 0-7. The lead point was claimed by David Redmond, who took a quick puck-out from goalie Ben O’Connor before hitting the target from near midfield.
The even balance of the teams was underlined when Liam Ryan posted an equaliser for Clara within a minute of the restart. Again Oulart put their stamp on things, and a run of fine scores from Rory Jacob, Sinnott, Des Mythen and Nicky Kirwan didn’t only take them 0-12 to 0-8 clear, it made them look like winners.
A brace of nice points from Conor Phelan helped Clara hang on during what was their most testing period. When they later had goals from sub Chris Bolger (42nd minute) and James Nolan (46th minute) to get 2-11 to 0-14 ahead they looked like they might do it.
The probing, driving Sinnott wasn’t having any of it, however. He laid on a point for Des Mythen before the latter snatched a second to lift Oulart spirits again. The equaliser came in the 58th minute when Rory Jacob pointed a 65 (2-11 to 0-17).
Sinnott finished on a high, lashing over two fine points, and a third from Conor
Scorers for Oulart-The Ballagh: G Sinnott (0-6), N Kirwan (4fs), D Mythen (0-4 each); R Jacob (0-3, 1 65), D Redmond (0-2), C O’Leary (0-1).
Scorers for Clara: K Hogan (0-4, 3fs), Liam Ryan (0-3), J Nolan, C Bolger (1-0 each), C Phelan, Lester Ryan (0-2 each).
OULART-THE BALLAGH: B O’Connor; D Morton, K Rossiter, B Kehoe; C Goff, P Roche, L Prendergast; S Murphy, Michael Jacob; D Nolan, D Mythen, D Redmond; R Jacob, G Sinnott, N Kirwan.
Subs: C O’Leary for D Nolan (43), P Murphy for N Kirwan (57).
CLARA: K Phelan; T Ryan, J Phelan, S O’Shea; N Prendergast, S Prendergast, D Langton; Lester Ryan, J Langton; C Phelan, K Hogan, Liam Ryan; A Murphy, J Nolan, C Prendergast.
Subs: C Bolger for A Murphy (33), S Quinlan for C Prendergast (40), C O’Shea for J Nolan (48).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).
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