Three days after bowing out of the North championship, Roscrea bounced back to pull off a deserved six points win over Boherlahan-Dualla in the county senior hurling championship round one at Littleton on Sunday evening.
Fears that the defeat by Portroe might have left Roscrea deflated were unfounded as the North reps put in a strong second half display to get the better of their Mid rivals for the second year in succession in the competition.
In what was an entertaining game all the way, there was nothing between the sides in a finely balanced first half at the end of which they were level at 0-7 each. Roscrea made the early running, a brace of points each from Ethan Flynn and Joe Carroll to Daragh Hickey’s brace for Boherlahan, giving them a 0-4 to 0-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Daragh Hickey was Boherlahan’s primary source of scores, and he finished the half with six points, five from frees, with their other point coming from Fionn McCullagh. Jason Fitzpatrick(2) and Ethan Flynnn got the other first half points for Roscrea.
So it was all to play for as the sides shaped up for the second period. Jamie Bergin had a Roscrea point at the start but two minutes later, Daragh Hickey was denied a goal by a smart save from Roscrea keeper Kevin Dooley.
To emphasise the importance of that stop, Roscrea went down three minutes later and Ethan Flynn netted after Joe Carroll created the chance.
Now the ball was in Roscrea’s court. Paul Ryan for Boherlahan and Tommy Fitzgerald for Roscrea swapped points before David Flynn, w ho had come on as a Roscrea sub, extended their lead to five points.
A flare up in the Roscrea goal area resulted in referee Sean Bradshaw showing red cards to Roscrea goalie, Kevin Dooley and Boherlahan’s Fionn McCullagh in the 48th minute. Roscrea had to introduce Conor Sheedy to fill in between the posts at the expense of Ethan Flynn, but they came out of the skirmish more focussed than their opponents.
Points by David Flynn(2) and Jason Fitzpatrick pushed Roscrea eight clear by the 55th minute but four minutes from time Brian Maher was most alert after a Daragh Hickey free was stopped, and he whipped the ball to the Roscrea net.
Boherlahan had some time to rally ,but David Flynn immediately pointed a Roscrea free, and though Daragh Hickey replied for Boherlahan, it was Roscrea’s Jason Fitzpatrick who had the final say with a net point from the wing in injury time.
Roscrea march on then with hopes renewed. Their key men in this win were David Buckley, Keith McMahon, Darren O Connor, Ethan Flynn and Tommy Fitzgerald, but all round they worked very hard to put the disappointment of the North championship behind them.
Boherlahan-Dualla face into the O Riain Cup and a possible relegation battle with some trepidation but the squad showed sufficient spirit in this encounter to give them grounds for optimism. Daragh Hickey continues to be their main scoring threat and more will be required of them in this department. Aidan Maher, Derek Patterson, Paul Ryan, Willie Hickey and Johnny Maher also did their bit.
Roscrea - Kevin Dooley; David Buckley, Enda Fitzpatrick, Conor Bergin; Mark O Meara, Diarmuid Fitzgerald, Keith McMahon; Daragh Spooner, Darren O Connor; Joe Carroll(0-2), Padraig Carroll, Ethan Flynn(1-3); Jamie Bergin(0-1), Tommy Fitzgerald(0-1), Jason Fitzpatrick(0-4) Subs- David Flynn(0-4) for J Bergin; Conor Sheedy for E Flynn;
Boherlahan-Dualla – Joe Ryan; A J Maher, Seamus Hickey, Johnny Maher; Aidan Maher, Willie Hickey, Andrew Downey; John Dwyer, Derek Patterson; Brian Maher(1-0), Paul Ryan(0-1), Fionn McCullagh(0-1); Daragh Hickey(0-7), Laurence Hickey, Seamie Leahy; Subs- Daragh Devane for A J Maher; John M Geehan for P Ryan;
Ref- Sean Bradshaw, Knockavilla.