IT took two attempts but Confey finally got the better of holders Celbridge in the replay of the Senior Hurling Championship preliminary round in Leixlip on Tuesday night last, writes Ruth Chambers.
Kildare Senior Hurling Championship Preliminary Round Replay
A goal from substitute John O’Neill in the 54th minute was the game’s crucial score. Just as Celbridge looked to be gathering some momentum O’Neill put a stop to it when his touch sent the ball passed Niall Lanigan in the Celbridge goal and gave Confey a one point advantage.
Celbridge, through a Sam White free, did draw back level, and indeed hit the front when Gerry Keegan split the posts with three minutes remaining. However, Confey dug deep and Kieran Divilly split the posts to restore parity in the final minute of normal time and Kevin Chan struck over another to give his side a slender lead in stoppage time. Just to make extra sure O’Neill added to his goal and gave his side the two point win.
Overall the result was a deserved one for Liam Dowd’s side. Celbridge showed glimpses of why they have won the title on the last three occasions but were out played on the night.
For most of the first half Confey were dominant but didn’t make it show on the scoreboard. The teams were all square (0-6 to 0-6) at the interval.
After the turnaround Celbridge put the foot on the pedal somewhat and enjoyed a purple patch at the end of the third quarter but Confey were equal to them.
Back to the beginning though and it was the side in blue that opened their account first when Mark Moloney split the posts but just seconds later Kieran Divilly restored early parity when he struck over. The sides swapped points again in the fifth minute with Danny Butler striking over from the left and Philip Quigley immediately responded for Confey to leave the scoreboard reading 0-2 to 0-2.
Right throughout this was a tight encounter and at the end of the first quarter there was only two points separating the sides with Confey leading 0-5 to 0-3. Points from Billy White (free) and Gerry Keegan restored parity by the 21st minute and the team were also level at the break. Daragh Nolan added to Confey’s tally and Danny Butler did likewise at the other end to leave the score at 0-6 to 0-6 at the interlude.
It took ten minutes for the first white flag of the second half to be raised and it was Conor Kenny who raised it after a very poor sideline cut from Paul Divilly and Celbridge led by the minimum. However, two minutes later it was cancelled out when Paul Divilly made up for his earlier error and fired over a free.
By the 50th minute Celbridge had opened up a 0-11 to 0-9 advantage and many expected the champions to pull away but Confey had other ideas. With six minutes left on the clock Mark Fennelly’s pass just about found John O’Neill. Out came Niall Lanigan from goals but O’Neill managed to get just enough of a touch on the sliothar to send it to the net and give Confey a 1-9 to 0-11 lead.
Soon after a Sam White free levelled things up once more and extra time looked a real possibility, especially when Gerry Keegan tagged on a point in the 57th minute to ensure the lead for the Hazelhatch Road side.
Confey dug deep though and went down the other end, through Kieran Divilly, and tied thing up once again. And when Kevin Chan fired over they led by one two minutes in to time added on. Celbridge can feel aggrieved by that particular score though because in truth it should have been a free out and overall referee Declan Peppard had a very poor evening at the office.
To make sure of victory John O’Neill tagged on Confey’s 12th point of the evening and it finished 1-12 to 0-13.
Scorers: Confey – John O’Neill 1-1, Paul Divilly 0-3 (2f, 1 ‘65’), Daragh Nolan 0-2, Kieran Divilly 0-2, Kevin Chan 0-2, Philip Quigley 0-1, Mark Fennelly 0-1.
Celbridge: Danny Butler 0-2, Leo Quinn 0-2, Billy White 0-2 (1f), Gerry Keegan 0-2, Conor Kenny 0-2, Sam White 0-2 (1 ‘65’, 1f), Mark Moloney 0-1.
Confey: Ian Baker; Sean Leamy, Paul Keegan, Brian Dowd; Colm Chan, Mick Divilly, Kevin Chan; Paul Divilly, Pauric Keegan; Anto Hoare, Kieran Divilly, Philip Quigley; Mark Fennelly, Daragh Nolan, Niall Glennon. Subs: John O’Neill replaced N Glennon (inj) 26 mins, Eoin Fitzpatrick replaced A Hoare 47 mins, Cillian McSuibhne replaced P Quigley 55 mins.
Celbridge: Niall Lanigan; Conor Ryan, Fiachra O’Muineachain, Liam McDonagh; Cathal Earley, Pa Curtin, Aidan McDonagh; Danny Butler, Billy White; Sam White, Conor Kenny, Gerry Keegan; Leo Quinn, Mark Moloney, Paddy Moloney.
Referee: Declan Peppard.