A decisive opening victory for Wolfe Tones for the second successive season as they brushed aside the challenge of newcomers Scariff in O’Garney Park in Sixmilebridge.
Wolfe Tones 2-16
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge
Following a 15 point triumph over Clarecastle at the same venue this time last year, the Shannon side were actually appeared a far more balanced and potent unit this time around as they dominated the final 45 minutes to outscore the intermediate champions by 2-12 to 1-03.
Timely goals at the beginning of the second quarter and half through Dylan Frawley and Evan O’Gorman were pivotal to dampening Scariff’s early enthusiasm while at the back, county senior Rory Hayes was exemplary in snuffing out any danger alongside fellow county panelist Darragh Lohan.
Three placed balls from debutant Shane Kavanagh helped Scariff to a 0-5 to 0-4 first quarter lead but they would be floored immediately on the restart when Jack Cunningham and Ben O’Gorman combined to unleash Dylan Frawley through on goal to bat to the right corner.
Aaron Cunningham and Kavanagh traded points before Wolfe Tones found another gear to hit 1-7 without reply through five different scorers to blaze 2-12 to 0-06 clear by the 36th minute.
The second goal only two minutes into the new half was a crushing blow to Scariff’s hopes as it was effectively a six point swing. Mark Rodgers had just flashed a glorious goal chance wide of the left post before Wolfe Tones found the net in the next passage of play through Evan O’Gorman who cooly finished under advancing goalkeeper Liam Doyle.
As the weather conditions deteriorated so did the quality of hurling albeit that Scariff battled on in their attempt to find an elusive goal. Mark Rodgers had a 20 metre free stopped by goalkeeper Pa Freeman while a Sean Minogue scrambled effort was ruled out for a square ball before Rodgers finally found the target in the 54th minute.
It would only lessen the final margin as the Tones had just built up their biggest lead of the afternoon at 13 points, with the guiding frees of Cian O’Rourke ensuring that there would be no further leakage from the deserving winners.
The Tones take on Sixmilebridge next in three weeks time for a top of the table clash while Scariff have to bounce back immediately as they have a potential relegation play-off against Clarecastle.
Scorers for Wolfe Tones: Cian O’Rourke (0-7, 5f); Dylan Frawley (1-1); Evan O’Gorman (1-0); Aaron Cunningham, Ben O’Gorman (0-2 each); Jack Cunningham, Dean Devanney, Aron Shanagher, Barry Loughnane (0-1 each)
Scorers for Scariff: Shane Kavanagh (0-5, 4f, 1’65); Mark Rodgers (1-2, 1f); Sean Minogue (0-1)
1: Pa Freeman
19: Daithi Lohan
5: Rory Hayes
4: Darragh Lohan
22: Daithi O’Connell
21: Barry Loughnane
2: Liam Murphy
6: Ben O’Gorman
11: Jack Cunningham
14: Aaron Cunningham
9: Evan O’Gorman
10: Dylan Frawley
13: Cian O’Rourke
12: Aron Shanagher
15: Dean Devanney
8: Stephen Donnellan for Devanney (41)
17: Sean Costelloe for E. O’Gorman (53)
25: Kevin McCafferty for B. O’Gorman (53, inj)
7: Conor Carrig for Loughnane (59)
23: Luke Merrigan for Murphy (59)
1: Liam Doyle
2: Eoin O’Grady
3: Michael Scanlan
4: Cathal Madden
5: Conor Moloney
6: Daniel Treacy
7: Martin Cunningham
9: Keelan Hartigan
11: Diarmaid Nash
8: Michael Barrett
18: Patrick Crotty
10: Shane Corry
14: Mark Rodgers
19: Sean Minogue
15: Shane Kavanagh
12: Patrick Ryan for Nash (HT)
22: Fergus Madden for Corry (43)
13: John Scanlan for Kavanagh (43)
17: Ross Horan for Crotty (45)
20: Diarmaid McNamara for Moloney (53)
Referee: Johnny Healy (Smith O’Brien’s)